Slicky-styled beast: Audi’s extravagant RS Q8 gives others a run for their money

Range, expansion and diversification continue apace at Audi Sport with the new Audi RS Q8. The first ever full-size Audi SUV to bear the RS badge, pushes the boundaries of performance for a model of this type.

The underscoring claim is thats it’s the first ever production Audi SUV capable of a sub-four-second 0-62mph (0-100km/h) sprint.

The 600PS, twin-turbo V8 TFSI responsible for this incredible accelerative force will be available to UK Audi Sport enthusiasts in the new RS Q8 from early 2020.

Behind the brawn of this versatile SUV Coupé is exceptional intelligence and ingenuity – the new Audi RS Q8 incorporates some of the most technologically advanced Audi features available. Combining them with outstanding flexibility and maximum everyday usability to redefine the traditional performance car genre, it’s a great contender in the market.

Technical spec

The impressive technical specification includes highlights such as RS-specific adaptive air suspension, all-wheel steering, sport differential and active roll stabilisation. Customers will have the option to upgrade even further to Carbon Black and Vorsprung versions which unleash even more of the sporting potential.

Drawing on 600PS and 800 Nm (590.0 lb-ft) of torque between 2,200 and 4,500 rpm, the 4.0-litre V8 TFSI accelerates the new RS Q8 to 62mph (100km/h) from rest in just 3.8 seconds and to 124mph (200km/h) in 13.7 seconds. These figures put it on a par with some of the most focused sports cars. An electronically governed top speed of 155mph (250km/h) swiftly follows.

Its 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8 ignition sequence also guarantees a voluminous sound which is further enhanced by the RS sport exhaust system with black tailpipe trims fitted as standard to Carbon Black and Vorsprung models. As is typical for an Audi RS, the dual exhaust system features a large oval tailpipe on each side. The driver can also influence the engine’s sound via the Audi drive select system.

Bi-turbo

The bi-turbo V8 in the new Audi RS Q8 draws on a mild-hybrid system (MHEV) that uses a 48-volt main electrical system as its basis. 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.

If the driver takes their 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 40 seconds with the engine off. 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.

Configured as a planetary gear, the purely mechanical centre differential typically distributes the drive power in a 40:60 ratio to the front and rear axles. In the event of slip, more drive torque automatically goes to the axle with the better traction. Up to 70 percent can be directed to the front wheels and up to 85 percent to the rear wheels.

Off road capability

The standard RS-specific adaptive air suspension sport with controlled damping means the new RS Q8 is equally at home on the racetrack or an off-road trail. Depending on driving situation and the driver’s wishes, the body’s ride height varies by up to 90 millimetres.

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.

Standard spec

The new Audi RS Q8 comes standard with 22-inch aluminium wheels in a 10-spoke star design with 295/40-series tyres – the largest ever factory-installed on an Audi production model. Optional 23-inch cast aluminium wheels in a 5 Y-spoke rotor design are available exclusively for the RS Q8.

Carbon Black editions are fitted with the 23-inch 5-Y spoke wheels in gloss black, while an anthracite black with diamond turned finish is applied to the Vorsprung.

Behind the large wheels is an RS brake system with internally vented composite discs (420 mm) up front, 370 mm at the rear. Their 10-inch piston calipers are painted black as standard, but are available in red as an option.

Inside, luxurious RS sport seats in Valcona leather with a honeycomb pattern and RS embossing are fitted as standard. Ventilation and a massage function are also added to the Vorsprung specification.

The Audi 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.

As standard is the top-of-the-line infotainment system, MMI navigation plus. It includes the Audi connect data transfer module with the LTE Advanced standard and a Wi-Fi hotspot.

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