Absolute power

The most powerful SUV in the Audi range – the all-new RS Q8 – is on its way.

Absolutely impressive in every respect, the pinnacle of the RS range – the first-ever Audi RS Q8 – will make its Australian debut in October.

13 July, 2020

There’s nothing shy or retiring about the first-ever Audi RS Q8 which is due to arrive in Australia in October this year. Priced at $208,500* the pinnacle of the Audi Sport RS range is the most powerful SUV in the Audi range, with a potent 4.0-litre TFSI twin-turbo V8 engine developing 441kW of power and 800Nm of torque between 2,200 4,500rpm. This rockets the full-sized luxury SUV from standstill to 100km/h in 3.8 seconds and onto to 200km/h in just 13.7 seconds with an electronically-governed top speed of 250km/h.

This earth moving performance has already seen the RS Q8 clinch the title of ‘fastest production SUV around the Nürburgring Nordschleife’ after recording an incredible 7:42.253 time last year with Audi Sport driver extraordinaire, Frank Stippler behind the wheel.

To achieve such a feat requires considerably more than just straight-line speed, but also the highest level of poise and handling to meet the demands of The Green Hell, with its off camber bends, altitude changes as well as the differing track surfaces and even weather changes around the 20.83km circuit.  

The RS Q8 uses an eight-speed tiptronic transmission putting power down to the road through Audi’s quattro permanent all-wheel drive. Under normal driving conditions, torque is distributed asymmetrically with a 40:60 front to rear respectively. But up to 85 percent of the torque can be directed to the rear wheels as required and the quattro sport differential can provide further adjustment, directing almost all of the rear axle’s torque to either wheel in really extreme circumstances.

The RS Q8 also features dynamic all-wheel steering as well as adaptive air suspension which allows ride height adjustment and the ability to balance between suppleness and firmness depending on the driving conditions. 

This earth moving performance has already seen the RS Q8 clinch the title of ‘fastest production SUV around the Nürburgring Nordschleife’

Everything about the RS Q8 is impressive in the extreme

This is further enhanced by the electromechanical active roll stabilisation system, which is powered by a 48V electrical system. Adjustable stabilisers reduce the body movements on uneven roads when driving in a straight line. When cornering, the focus shifts to optimum roll compensation and the tendency of the car to lean into the bend is reduced substantially. 

All of these dynamic systems, the Electronic Stabilisation Control (ESC) and the standard RS sports exhaust, are integrated through the Audi Drive Select, including  two new RS 1 and RS 2 modes that can be quickly accessed via the steering wheel and configured for specific high-performance settings.

That same 48-volt mild-hybrid (MHEV) system that powers the electromechanical active roll stabilisation system, is also responsible for significant efficiencies in the RS Q8. During deceleration and braking, the RS Q8 draws on the system and can recover up to 12kW coasting or under light throttle. The start/stop system also draws on the 48V system and functions at speeds up to 22km/h, saving up to 0.8 litres of fuel per 100km. Additionally, cylinder on demand (COD) technology can shut down four cylinders under light throttle load, resuming within milliseconds when required. 

Back on the performance front, the braking system is more than up to the extraordinary power and size of the vehicle, with the standard system made up of steel brakes with red 10-piston calipers and 420mm front discs and 370mm at the rear. An RS ceramic braking system is also available as an option, shaving off 34 kilograms in unsprung weight and using 440mm front discs, and a choice of colour for the calipers (grey, red or blue). The ceramic brakes are also available as part of the RS Dynamic package plus which also sees the top speed raised to 305km/h.

The RS Q8 has the style and the presence to live up to this impressive performance, taking the already imposing styling of the Audi Q8 and recently released SQ8 and adding a tangible dose of attitude. The wide Singleframe grille combines a black gloss finish with the RS-specific honeycomb structure, flanked by massive air inlets that sit below the standard dark tinted HD Matrix LED headlights with front and rear dynamic indicators. 

The RS Q8 also has the distinction of being the first Audi production vehicle to ride on 23-inch alloy wheels which work perfectly with the large, muscular design of the vehicle and very much complete the vehicle’s imposing presence.

Inside though the RS Q8 is pure luxury, offering tremendous space for passengers and copious amounts of equipment. Premium Valcona leather with honeycomb stitching abounds, the front RS sport seats featuring ventilation and full electrical adjustment while four-way lumbar support and heated front and rear seats are standard. The rear seats can also be split 40:20:40, and slide fore and aft to create additional legroom. With the rear seats folded down, luggage capacity is a massive 1755 litres.

Other interior highlights include four-zone climate control air conditioning, an electric sun blind for the rear side windows and manual sun blind for rear window. An air quality package includes two bespoke fragrances and air ionisation, while the Illuminated door sill trims with aluminium inlay and RS logo add that special touch.

Execution and craftsmanship throughout is absolutely meticulous as you would expect from Audi and a vehicle of this calibre. And the level of technology and infotainment is likewise impressive. The MMI touch response system forms part of the minimalist layout with both a 10.1-inch and 8.6-inch touch screen working in concert with the superb Audi virtual cockpit and standard head-up display. 

Execution and craftsmanship throughout is absolutely meticulous as you would expect from Audi and a vehicle of this calibre

Australia’s love affair with the high-performance RS cars is well known, and this all-new model raises the bar even further

Standard also is the Audi Smartphone Interface with the integration of approved apps (Android auto, wireless Apple CarPlay) as well as the Bang & Olufsen 3D Sound System (17 speakers, 730 watts), Audi phone box light with wireless charging for mobile phones (with Qi standard), Audi music interface with two rear USB outlets and Audi connect plus to connect the RS Q8 to the outside world.

In addition, the RS Q8 of course features the full suite of Audi’s driver assistance and safety systems including Audi pre-sense front and rear, active lane assist and side assist with cross traffic assist, collision avoidance and adaptive cruise assist with Stop&Go and traffic jam assist. And a vehicle with such impressive dimensions, the RS Q8 also includes 360-degree cameras with kerb view.

Indeed the equipment is impressive across the board, with everything from tyre pressure monitoring and alarm, to anti-theft wheel bolts and loose wheel detection. There is of course an electric tailgate and a convenience key that includes gesture control for boot opening, as well as a panoramic glass sunroof and privacy glass for the rear side and rear windows.

The RS Q8 will complete what is an extensive reboot of the of the RS lineup in Australia this year and as the new pinnacle of this coveted range, will set new standards and generate even greater interested when it arrives in October. Australia’s love affair with the high-performance RS cars is well known, and this all-new model raises the bar even further. The ultimate high-performance, luxury SUV? The evidence looks pretty compelling.

(*Manufacturer List Pricing [MLP] – excludes dealer delivery and government statutory charges)