The range diversification continues at Audi Sport as the company debuted their latest offering at the 2019 LA Motor Show in the form of the RS Q8. It is the first time the company has bestowed the RS badge onto a full-size SUV.
“For the first time in the 25-year history of Audi RS models, we are putting a large SUV coupe with the genes of a true high-performance sports car on the road,” said Oliver Hoffmann, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH. “With its biturbo V8 petrol engine, the Audi RS Q8 is the prestigious spearhead of the RS model family.”
Underneath, the behemoth Audi has a fairly familiar setup that can be found on other Volkswagen Group products. In this case, the engine under the bonnet is seen in the Bentley Bentayga, Porsche Cayenne and Lamborghini Urus. Its 4.0-litre biturbo V8 produces 441kW and 800Nm and is mated to an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic that channels power on to the asphalt via Audi’s quattro permanent all-wheel drive system.
Much of that grunt is made from 2,200 and 4,500 rpm which helps the RS Q8 achieve a century sprint time of just 3.8 seconds. Keep your food welded to the floor and you’ll see it hit 200km/h in 13.7 seconds before hitting the limiter at 250km/h. Equip it with the optional Dynamic Package and it’ll hit a top speed 305km/h. Not too shabby for a 2.3 tonne luxury SUV but nothing we haven’t already seen from the Lamborghini Urus and Bentley Bentayga.
Audi has also fitted the RS Q8 with a 48V mild-hybrid system that’s able to scavenge energy during braking and decelerating, up to 12kW of it, and store it in a compact lithium-ion battery. When driving between 55 and 160km/h the system can coast you for up to 40 seconds with the engine off, after which it’s swiftly restarted by a belt alternator-starter connected to the crankshaft. Another efficiency module on board the RS Q8 is a cylinder-on-demand system which effectively shuts off half the engine at low to intermediate load and rpm in higher gears.
The RS Q8 receives an RS-specific air suspension system with Audi claiming a broad spread between a setup biased toward comfort and sport. Depending on the driving situation, the body’s ride height can vary by up to 90mm, says the brand. Optionally, you can have a 48V Electromechanical Active Roll Stabilisation system (as found on the Porsche Cayenne and Lamborghini Urus) to further minimise body roll in fast cornering.
The marque fits an all-wheel steering system as standard to the RS Q8. At low speeds the rear wheels turn up to 5 degrees in the opposite direction of the front wheels for better manoeuvrability while at high speeds the rear wheels turn up to 1.5 degrees in the same direction as the front wheels which improves stability.
The wheels are truly massive on the fast Q8 as the standard fitment measures 22-inches – the largest ever factory-installed on a production Audi – while optional 23-inch wheels are available. Behind the wheels is an equally massive braking system, with 420mm discs pinched by 10-piston callipers. The discs are steel as standard but available in carbon ceramic.
Moving on to the muscular looks of the RS Q8 and first thing you’ll notice – apart from the tinted HD Matrix LED headlights – are the blacked-out trim such as the Singleframe radiator grille, blades and logos. Elsewhere, the wheel arches are broadened by 10mm in front and 5mm at the back to accommodate a wider track. There’s also an RS roof spoiler, rear skirt with a diffuser clip and RS-typical oval tail pipes.
Inside, RS sport seats are upholstered in Valcona leather with a honeycomb pattern and RS embossing. The headlining is fabric but Alcantara is optional. The steering wheel is a leather-wrapped flat-bottomed affair with (obviously) an RS logo and paddle shifters. The Audi Virtual Cockpit and MMI display provides the driver with information such as tyre pressure, torque, power, temperature, lap times and g-forces. There’s also a head-up display that’s optionally available.
The RS Q8 is loaded up with the brand’s driver assistance system which includes over 30 assist systems including adaptive cruise assist, intersection assist, lane change warning and 360 degree cameras.
No prices have been announced yet, however, do stay with us as we bring you more coverage on the RS Q8.