Audi have revealed their flagship fast SUV. The RS Q8 is looking to take inspiration from its RS-badged wagon relatives, and cement a place for itself in the world of the super-fast premium SUV-coupé.
And fast it most certainly is.
Under the bonnet, there lies a bi-turb0 4.0-litre V8 with 592bhp and 590lbf.ft – which is available between 2,200 and 4,500rpm – the RS Q8 will go from stationary to 62mph in 3.8-seconds. It will hit double that speed in just 13.7 seconds, too. Which is very useful for a school run indeed. The TFSI 8-cylinder unit will also take the SUV-coupé all the way to a limited 155mph top speed, and thanks to a 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8 ignition sequence and a sports exhaust setup it sounds fruity too.
It uses a mild-hybrid system that draws on a 48v electric belt alternator-starter connected to the crankshaft. It recovers up to 12kW of power under deceleration and braking, and between speeds of 34 and 99mph, the engine can coast under deceleration for up to 40 seconds, after which the electric starter motor restarts the engine when the accelerator is applied. The stop/start functionality is also on the table at speeds of up to 13mph whilst a front camera informs the engine to start up when it detects movement from the car in front. Another measure used to keep things as green as possible in appropriate circumstances is cylinder deactivation at higher speeds in conjunction with a pause in fuel injection and closing the intake and exhaust valves.
Regardless of how many cylinders it is running, the engine translates its power to the roads via a quattro permanent all-wheel drive system with an eight-speed tiptronic ‘box the middleman. A central diff splits the power 40:60 with a rear bias, whilst when it detects a loss of traction up to 70-percent can be sent to the axle in need.
The RS Q8 sits on on a five-link front setup whilst rear axles manage longitudinal and lateral forces independently. Largely made of aluminium subframes, the track at the front is 4mm narrower than that of 1,696mm at the back. Coming as standard there is RS specific air-suspension, with settings for circumstances ranging from the track to off-road driving, with a 90mm ride-height range between them.
Also standard is all-wheel steering, with up to 5 degrees of movement in the rears – opposite to the front – at low speed, and 1.5 degrees of mimicry at high speed.
There are eight driver modes, with comfort, auto, dynamic, efficiency, allroad, offroad and the configurable RS1 and RS2 options. The characteristics managed by these settings are engine and transmission behaviour, steering boost, air-suspension, all-wheel steering, engine sound and even the characteristic of the automatic air conditioning.
As standard, 22″ rims adorn the RS Q8, whilst there are 23″ options – both of which allow plenty of room for the 10-inch piston calipers, which work with the 420mm front and 370mm rear internally vented composite brake discs.
A few unique RS signature touches single this out from the regular Q8, such as the RS-specific radiator grille plus several RS trim strips around the vehicle. The wheel arches are wider both front and back, by 10 and 5mm respectively, whilst there is a roof-edge spoiler and an RS-spec rear skirt, diffuser clip and oval exhaust outlets.
The interior has a higher standard specification than Q8 underlings, with leather RS sports seats, aluminium trimmings, black cloth headlining, illuminated door sills, an RS branded leather steering wheel – with quick access RS driver mode button – plus over 30-safety systems and top of the range infotainment and Wi-Fi hotspot. Driver aids include adaptive cruise control, efficiency assist, lane change warning and 360º parking cameras.
It isn’t all about speed and style though, as the RS Q8 can hold up to 1,755 litres with the seats down and even has a sliding rear bench, so all five seats can be used with 655 litres of boot space.
There are also, being an Audi, Vorsprung and Carbon Black versions available, with yet more kit available, such as a healthy dose of alcantara in the cabin, or heated and ventilated seats with a massage function.
The super fast SUV-coupé will go on sale in Q1 next year, so expect more details on pricing at some point in the interim.