Had the best day recently, where I drove a number of performance cars from one of the brands I admire most in that genre, namely Audi. And the Audi RS Q8 is the top model in the Q SUV product line. And being a Q 5 owner, it was with great anticipation that I leapt into this beauty, or is it a beast? Yes maybe if you judge it on performance alone, but there is a lot more to this SUV, so it deserves a much more attractive analogy.
For the first time in the history of Audi RS models, Audi is offering a large SUV coupé with the genes of a true high-performance sports car on the road. With its biturbo V8 petrol engine, the Audi RS Q8 is the prestigious spearhead of the Audi RS model family and will officially go on sale in South Africa from 1 April 2021.
The RSQ8 has a large grille quite imposing actually, is the octagonal Singleframe, in high gloss black and the gloss black RS honeycomb grille, swo it strikes a pretty confident pose when you walk up on it.
The sloping roofline flows into the forward-canted D-pillars and rests against the quattro blisters above the wheel arches. The continuous RS sills come standard in Manhattan grey, which makes the body appear even more athletic. An RS roof edge spoiler provides a striking finish at the top; design highlights closer to the road are the RS-specific rear skirt with a diffuser clip in high gloss black and the RS-typical oval tailpipes.
It comes in nine colours: one solid paint finish and eight metallic or pearl effect shades. The exterior mirror housings come standard with aluminium look and include black or carbon available as options. The standard tinted HD Matrix LED headlights have a three-dimensional daytime running lights signature with a digital character, similar to the LED tail lights. A light strip backed by a high-gloss black surface joins the rear lights, further emphasizing the wide stance.
So it’s a lot of car to take in, but if you like SUV’s and want a premium one that will turn heads, provide space & comfort, with some banging performance, the RSQ8 is for you.
The interior of the new RS Q8 features a deliberately clean design, and exudes a feeling of spaciousness and comfort. All encapsulated in a cocoon of luxury. 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.
Special RS displays in the Audi virtual cockpit and MMI display provide information on such things as tyre pressure, torque, output, temperature, lap times and g-forces. The shift light display prompts the driver to upshift when the rev limit is reached. The standard head-up display also offers several RS-specific graphics.
The sport seats in Valcona leather with honeycomb pattern and RS fit perfectly into the athletic and premium ambiance of the large SUV coupé. In addition to a massage function, the RS sport seats are perforated to also provide ventilation. This is pretty great, and you can get quite carried away with the massages, my daughter gets nuts with them.
The RS styling package includes red contrasting stitching on the knee pads, steering wheel rim, floor mats, selector lever and on the edges of the seat belts. The centre console, selector lever and steering wheel are covered in Alcantara while the upper side of the instrument panel including head-up display cover, door panels and armrests in the doors, are all covered in black Fine Nappa leather.
There is an RS logo on the steering wheel. The illuminated front door sill trims sport an RS Q8 logo..
The RS Q8 also demonstrates its uncompromised everyday usability in the rear. A sliding three-seat rear bench is standard. With the seat backrests folded down, the luggage compartment under the power rear hatch holds up to 1,755 litres. Great SUV to do a road trip in, our Q5 is quite small in boot space. Time for an upgrade??
The engine gives forth an audible growl, that will scare the poop out of unsuspecting drivers, but for me, sweet music to my ears. Pumping out a mucho 441 kW, and 800 Nm of torque between 2,200 and 4,500 rpm – the 4.0 litre V8 in the new Audi RS Q8 delivers impressive RS performance. The turbocharged petrol engine with direct injection accelerates the large SUV coupé from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.8 seconds and to 200 km/h in 13.7 seconds. The 250 km/h top speed is electronically governed and can be optionally extended to 280 km/h.
It has dual exhausts with oval tailpipes on each side. The driver can influence the engine’s sound via the Audi drive select system. The standard RS sport exhaust system with black tailpipe trims offers an even sportier sound.
The biturbo V8 in the new RS Q8 combines maximum performance and high efficiency. Its mild-hybrid system (MHEV) is based on a 48-volt main electrical system. The core of the MHEV is a belt alternator-starter connected to the crankshaft. During deceleration and braking, it can recover up to 12 kW of power and store it in the compact lithium-ion battery.
The RS Q8 has a great suspension, a five-link contruction at the front and rear axles, that means that the SUV is at home on road or track.
We did a short 4×4 obstacle course on the roof which showed some of the capability, but a longer test would be required for more focus on this.
The standard all-wheel 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 5 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.
The driver can precisely influence the character of the RS Q8 via the Audi drive select dynamic handling system. There are eight profiles from which to choose: comfort, auto, dynamic, efficiency, allroad, offroad and the individually configurable RS-specific modes RS1 and RS2, which can be activated directly via the “RS-MODE” button on the steering wheel. Audi drive select affects such things as engine and transmission management, steering boost, the air suspension, all-wheel steering, engine sound and the characteristic of the automatic air conditioning.
The new RS Q8 comes standard with 23-inch aluminium wheels in a 5 Y-spoke rotor design with 295/35-series tyres. Behind the large wheels is an RS brake system with internally vented composite disks (420 millimetres) up front, 370 millimetres at the rear. Their 10-inch piston calipers are painted red as standard..
The new Audi RS Q8 has a raft of safety systems. It comes with adaptive cruise assist, efficiency assist, intersection assist, lane change warning including pre-sense rear, exit warning system and rear cross traffic assist and 360 degree cameras, head-up display also comes standard.
If the car is driven by multiple drivers, up to six users can save their individual settings – from frequently selected destinations to their preferred lighting – in separate profiles. The data is uploaded to the customer’s myAudi account in the cloud and stored there for their access via the app. The car adjusts the individual settings when the driver’s door is opened. This convenient personalization feature comes as standard with the Audi RS Q8.
The new Audi RS Q8 will officially go on sale in South Africa from 1 April 2021 and is priced as follows (inclusive of all taxes) and comes standard with a five year Audi Freeway Plan:
Audi RS Q8 TFSI quattro R2,354,500
We only had a short drive in the RS Q8 but what I experienced, excited me, so it’s with bated breath that we wait for the fleet drive, which gives you a few days to work out the finer workings of these superb cars.