There are ABT special vehicles and then there are ABT Signature Edition vehicles that take extremes to … even greater extremes.

11 May, 2022

The names Audi and ABT Sportline have long been intertwined. The association between Audi and the high-performance, tuning specialists continue to produce outstanding results on the track in numerous motorsport disciplines as well as some exciting ‘special edition’ variations of Audi models.

Its vast tuning experience and expertise born of years at the cutting edge of motorsport, everything from the Audi S1 to the RS 6 Avant has been used as  a ‘starting point’ by ABT.

All vehicles wearing the ABT sportline badging are something special, but even amongst ABT creations there are standouts – real rarities that turn up the wick to 11.

These not only wear the ABT badging but are designated Signature Editions – and there are only two to date. The only other vehicle to earn this rarest of ABT badging was the Johann Abt Signature Edition produced last year. Based on the ABT RS 6 Avant, just 64 cars were produced to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Johann Abt working in his blacksmith’s shop on horsepower of a different type in a different age. Now, ABT has turned its attention once more to the top of the Audi Q models – the mighty RS Q8, to create the ABT RS Q8 Signature Edition. We say again, because this is not the first time ABT has taken to the awesome RS Q8 – producing the RS Q8-R last year. But this Signature Edition is a further step up in the performance stakes than last year’s model, and with just 96 examples to be produced, is a rare beast indeed.

Increasing standard power output by around 30 percent, its 4.0-litre, twin-turbo V8 now produces an eye-watering 597kW of power and an absolutely massive amount of torque – up from 800 to 1000Nm. This is enough to rocket the not inconsiderable bulk of the RS Q8 from standstill to 100km/h in 3.2 seconds – the sort of acceleration you get from an Audi R8 V10, or even the Audi RS e-tron GT. This is really honing the blade though, given that the RS Q8 hits 100km/h from standstill 3.8 seconds!

Top speed is an incredible 315km/h if you happen to have access to an autobahn, with ABT Level Control suspension for ultimate ride and safety, all rolling on custom Signature Edition forged rims measuring 23-inches and finished in gloss black.

The exterior sports a distinctive aerodynamic kit with plenty of carbon fibre adorning everything from the front splitter and wheel arches extensions, to the wing mirrors, roof spoiler, rear diffuser  and massive air inlets. 

Inside the already luxurious cabin of the RS Q8 has been further enhanced with more Alcantarra accents and the distinctive diamond-pattern stitching extending beyond the sports seats (which are adorned with RS Q8 Signature Edition logos) to cover door trims and even the cargo area. 

Here too there is generous use of carbon fibre to highlight everything from the centre console to the door trim and the ABT Signature Edition badging is strategically placed throughout. Indeed it even appears projected onto the road when the doors are opened.

Perhaps most unusual addition though is the presence of a ‘time capsule’ in the centre console that contains a rare artefact from the firm’s rich history. In a specially designed panel sits a tiny fragment of Johann Abt's first winner's trophy, which the founder's grandson won on the grass racecourse in his hometown of Kempten. This unique time capsule is a trademark of the ABT Signature Edition cars, the Johann Abt Signature Edition cars carrying a small piece of Johann Abt’s original anvil from his blacksmith’s shop in a nod to the company’s past.

It’s certainly different in a vehicle that is an extreme version of what is already an extreme performance vehicle when it comes from Audi Sport. The limited run of only 96 units will see just eight of these RS Q8 Signature Editions will be built each month, for those with a taste for the rare, exotic and extreme.