New Audi RS Q8: a lesson in excess

Published: 20 November 2019

► Twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8
 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds
► More of everything

Meet the new Audi RS Q8, a sub 4.0-second powerhouse with a 5-star cabin. We’ve spotted it testing numerous times, but new details from Ingolstadt mean we know now just how fast this latest Urus-rival is. When it’s released next year, the RS Q8 will be the fastest, most luxurious model in the brand’s Q-line – but will soon face competition from Porsche’s rumoured Cayenne GT. The Audi will cost 127,000 euros, or around £110,000 when it launches in the UK.  

So how fast is it then?

The new RS Q8 uses a 4.0-litre, V8 bi-turbo cable of 590lb ft of torque between 2200 and 4500 revs, and 592bhp. Even combined with the RS Q8’s two-plus tonnes, the flagship Q will get to 62mph in just 3.8 seconds, and hit 124mph in 13.8. Top speed is an electronically-limited 155mph as standard, but can be unlocked to 189.5mph with an optional dynamic package. It’s all mated to an eight-speed Tiptronic box. 

Best super-SUVs

Being an Audi, power is funnelled to all four wheels, though the percentages on each axle can vary: up to 70% of the 590lb ft can be directed solely to the front, and 85% can go to the rear – ideal if you want to try and drift this, house.

How will it handle?

The RS Q8 comes with adaptive air suspension as standard, as well as all-wheel steering, both of which should help to reduce the heft of the super-SUV – at least from behind the wheel. The option we’re most keen on testing, however, is the RS Q8’s electromechanical active roll stabilization: a system we’ve seen work wonders in the new Audi S8, as well as Bentley’s new Continental GT V8.

Okay so it looks good, doesn’t it?

We’re not supposed to like it, but we do. Take a short walk around the RS Q8, an all the usual Audi Sport hallmarks are here: acres of grille? Check. Spattering of gloss black, carbonfibre and beefed-up wheelarches? Yes, and the RS-specific arches are up to 10mm and 5mm wider than the stock car here. 

Throw in a roof-edge spoiler with huge optional 23-inch wheels, and this is the most ‘RS’ Audi we’ve seen. 

What about the interior?

Expect a heady cocktail of Alcantara, or Nappa leather along with aluminium and muted colours like anthracite. Swimming in all this are the usual array of touchscreens you’d expect in a top-end Audi – but there are two extra options here, too. The RS Q8 comes with RS-Mode button, which allows driver to select two customizable RS1 and RS2 modes.

Is it killing the planet?

Those buying an RS Q8 and also concerned about efficiency will be pleased to find out the V8 lump in the Audi is also a mild hybrid, and uses a 48v system. Audi says the MHEV system is able to recover up to 12kW of energy during braking and will also coast for up to 40 seconds with the engine off. 

When combined with cylinder-deactivation – which will shut off cylinders 2, 3. 5 and 8 – the RS Q8 promises to be slightly less damaging to mother earth.

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast