Meet The Audi RS Q8: The SUV With Extra

By Geoff Maxted on 28 January, 2020

When Audi launch a new car they do so with style and the Audi RS Q8 is no exception. Prestige car buyers have come to expect the usual mix of roominess and practicality in an SUV but this time with added performance and then some.  Whoever it was who said ‘you can’t have it all’ hadn’t yet encountered this mighty motor. 

Introducing The Q8

The new Audi Q8 already ‘had it all’ before the RS version made an appearance. As the flagship Audi SUV, it’s sheer size lends it a powerful presence. A coupé-like shape gives the vehicle a streamlined look with, inside, a luxurious cabin, brimming with next-generation Audi technology innovations. 

With a choice of petrol or diesel engines, customers buying the regular model can express their individuality with a choice of trim and equipment packages. As ever, there’s also the usual plethora of options to tempt those automotive taste buds and, it goes without saying, raise the price. It is, without question, a fabulous car with the usual attention to detail that we expect from Audi; but if the regular flavour isn’t enough then the German brand has already thought of that.

The RS Q8

This is the first ever full-size Audi SUV to bear the RS badge and the car certainly pushes the boundaries of performance for a model of this type. It is claimed to be the first ever production Audi SUV capable of a sub-four-second 0-62mph sprint. This mighty power is derived from a 592bhp twin-turbo V8 TFSI engine. The RS Q8 comes, as ever, with quattro four-wheel drive and, in this case, an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox with paddle shift.

A new addition featured as standard is all-wheel steering. This is an advance that really works; when turning, the steering moves the rear wheels via a high-torque electric spindle drive and two track rods. At low speeds, the rear wheels turn up to five degrees opposite the direction of the front wheels for greater agility. At high speeds, they turn up to 1.5 degrees in the same direction as the front wheels to improve stability during fast lane changes. In short, a big SUV with sports car handling.

Drive Technology

Increasingly, hybrid variants are moving to the fore as drivers become more aware of the issues surrounding emissions and the like so in addition to that mighty engine the RS Q8 uses a mild-hybrid (MHEV) 48-volt main electrical system. This is an important addition and is well worth looking at in detail.

Pictured: The engine compartment

The core of the MHEV is a belt alternator-starter connected to the crankshaft. During deceleration and braking, it can recover up to 12kW of power and store it in the compact lithium-ion battery. If the driver takes the foot off the accelerator at a speed between 34mph and 99mph, the drive management selects one of two solutions depending on the driving situation and the current setting of the Audi drive select dynamic handling system: The new RS Q8 recuperates or coasts for up to forty seconds with the engine off.

Further, the belt alternator starter starts the engine within fractions of a second when the accelerator is actuated. MHEV technology allows for start/stop operation at a speed of up to 13mph. The mild-hybrid system is connected to the camera sensors for even greater efficiency. When stopped, the engine starts up while the brake pedal is still depressed as soon as the front camera detects that the vehicle in front of the new RS Q8 begins to move. That’s pretty impressive, it has to be said.

The Interior

Inside the Audi RS Q8 Cockpit

Inside the new RS Q8 is probably nicer than your last five-star hotel room. With the luxury of Valcona leather, all elements have a logical connection and harmonise with one another. The cloth headlining changes to black Alcantara for two of the variants: Carbon Black and Vorsprung specifications. The slim instrument panel and the strongly horizontal lines convey a feeling of spaciousness. The central element in the cockpit is the top MMI touch response display. With its black-panel look, it almost dissolves into a large, black surface when switched off. See for yourself in the image.

This fine car takes Audi another giant step forward in the prestige vehicle race. Start saving and calculating your BIK now.

By Geoff Maxted