Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: November 20, 2019
Audi is on a rampaging offensive in Canada, first launching the hotly anticipated RS6 Avant wagon and now this, the RS Q8 loaded with a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 reactor pumping out 591 hp and 590 lb-ft. Yes, you can buy this in Canada, folks! This potent V8 is the same one you find in the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and Lamborghini Urus, and it works in tandem with a 48-volt mild hybrid system much like the other Audis in the stable, as well as an 8-speed automatic transmission and a 40:60 split quattro all-wheel drive system. The latter can send up to 85% of the power to the rear axle if need be, and 70% up to the front. Add to that rear-wheel steering, electromechanical active roll stabilization, optional 23-inch Pirelli P Zero performance tires, and that's enough for this athletic RS Q8 to reach 0-100 km/h in a speedy 3.8 seconds.
But it's not just about speed. Audi's SUV coupe receives the typical RS treatment with larger front air intakes, a bigger honeycomb grill, an optional carbon fibre package, and real exhausts out back - none of that aesthetic trickery that plagues the standard Q8. And you are also privy to new and exclusive RS colours like this featured green as shown in the official press photographs. Inside, you get RS sport seats, a beefy flat-bottom RS steering wheel, unique digital instrument cluster graphics, and some juicy Valcona leather.
Pricing has yet to be announced but you can expect the 2020 Audi RS Q8 to enter production later next year.
The all-new Audi RS Q8 will make its global debut today at the 2019 Los Angeles International Auto Show. The Audi RS Q8 combines the genes of a high-performance RS model with the practicality of an SUV and the dynamic design of an Audi coupe.
Powertrain and performance
The all-new Audi RS Q8 features a biturbo V8 engine to deliver exhilarating performance and driving dynamics, setting a new standard as the prestigious spearhead of the RS model line. The RS Q8 recently became the fastest production SUV to lap the renowned Nürburgring racetrack with an official time of 7 minutes and 42.2 seconds.
The 4.0-liter V8 in the RS Q8 delivers an impressive 441 kW (600 ps) and 800 Nm (590.0 lb-ft) of torque. The turbocharged engine with direct injection accelerates the large SUV from 0-100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 3.8 seconds and achieves a top track speed of 250 km/h (155.3 mph) or 305 km/h (189.5 mph) when equipped with the RS ceramic brakes.
The power of the 4.0 TFSI flows to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system via the standard eight-speed Tiptronic® transmission. Wheel-selective torque control can help enhance handling by ensuring additional traction across each axle through individual-wheel braking application. During dynamic cornering, the quattro sport rear differential distributes drive torque between the rear wheels as required. This active torque vectoring helps improve traction, stability and dynamics.
The adaptive air suspension with controlled damping means the RS Q8 is equally at home on or off the paved road. Its RS-specific damper tuning offers drivers a choice between long-distance comfort and high performance. The electromechanical active roll stabilization (EAWS) minimizes body roll while cornering at speed. The all-wheel steering allows for greater agility at low speeds and improved stability at high speeds. With variable ground clearance, short overhangs and hill descent control, the new Audi RS Q8 can carry on confidently when paved roads end.
Drivers can customize their driving experience through the standard Audi drive select system with seven different profiles: comfort, auto, dynamic, 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. The Audi drive select setting influences the engine and transmission management, power steering, the air suspension, all-wheel steering and engine sound.
Exterior and Interior Design
With the octagonal Singleframe and the RS-specific radiator grille, the RS Q8 has an even more dominant appearance. This combined with the front air inlets in gloss black and the blade in matte aluminum perfectly highlights the athletic character of the large SUV. The dynamic roofline ends in gently inclined D-pillars, which are supported by the wide, pronounced wheel arches, paying homage to the vehicle’s quattro® DNA, creating an unmistakable Audi silhouette. An RS roof-edge spoiler provides a striking finish at the top and provides downforce on the rear axle for improved balance at high speeds.
The interior of the new RS Q8 features a clean and refined design. The slim instrument panel and strong horizontal lines convey a feeling of spaciousness. The central element in the cockpit is the MMI® touch response system. 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 such as output, g-forces, lap times, temperature, torque and tire pressure. The shift light display prompts the driver to upshift when the rev limit is reached. The optional head-up display also offers several RS-specific graphics.
The RS Q8 further demonstrates its 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 60.7 cubic feet.
The first RS-SUV from Audi in America, the Audi RS Q8 is expected to arrive in the U.S. in 2020 and will be available for customer orders, subject to a later announcement. U.S. power and performance specifications will become available closer to market introduction.