2021 Audi RS Q8 test drive

Introducing the 2021 Audi RS Q8, the latest performance model from Audi Sport, which is based on the brand new Audi Q8, unveiled just last year. 2021 Audi RS Q8 Teide Volcano
The RS Q8 comes in the midst of a golden age of performance cars at Audi Sport. In the past few months we’ve seen a new RS7, RS6, and now, the RS Q8.
Making the flourish of speed possible, all the aforementioned models rely on the same powertrain (and what a powertrain it is). The twin turbocharged 4.0 litre V8 produces 591 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. The engine is also paired with a 48V mild hybrid system that allows high speed coasting at speeds of up to 160 kms/hr for up to 40 seconds. To help massage as much fuel economy from the beast, cylinder deactivation is also featured on the engine. Power is shuttled through an eight-speed Tiptronic (automatic) transmission, to Audi’s iconic Quattro all-wheel-drive system.

All that power means sprint times from 0-100 kms/hr in 3.8 seconds. Impressive enough without considering that this is Audi’s flagship large SUV, weighing in at 2400 kgs and is noticeably larger than any other Audi SUV currently made. Top speed is limited to 250 kms/hr on the standard model with standard air ride suspension. The RS Q8 has additional performance packages that raise the top speed to 280 kms/hr and 305 kms/hr on the max. performance Dynamic Package.

The performance package includes a dynamic rear axle and an electronic anti-roll bar system. Interestingly, while the mild hybrid system provides a fuel saving of up to 0.8 l/100 kms of fuel, the real payoff for the 48V system is to power onboard systems such as this anti-roll system. The increase in handling is worth every penny that the system costs.
Visually, designers have made it a point to telegraph the fire breathing nature of the Audi RS Q8 and distinguish it from the seemingly genteel Q8. Upfront the RS Q8 features some massive air intakes surrounding the geometric front grille separated from a lower front valance, all covered in Audi’s RS trim specific honeycomb patterning. At the side, there are massive optional 295/40 23 inch wheels which frame gigantic brakes and at the rear, a top mounted air spoiler balances oversized oval shaped exhaust pipes. The exterior trim pieces can either be ordered in chrome, glossy black or carbon fibre finishes. All these visual clues foretell of exhilarating performance for this large premium SUV.
Inside the cabin, its the typical Audi Sport RS treatment. The honeycomb stitched leather sports seats are emblazoned with RS logos as well as the floor mats. The layout is the same as the regular Q8 SUV with the dual LCD dash mounted screens for vehicle configuration as well as Audi’s MMI infotainment interface. As with other RS models, the RS buttons on the steering wheel allow drivers to pull up pre-set vehicle configurations without the distraction of scrolling through the onboard Drive Select options. Most will have one set for typical day to day urban driving and leave the other for soul cleansing performance driving.

Audi RS 4.0L V8 engineFiring up the mighty twin turbo V8, the rumble from the twin exhaust pipes confirms this is a serious machine. In full on Dynamic mode, the RS Q8 is an amusement ride. The forces exerted on your body from acceleration, braking and even corning are stunning. The combination of the Quattro systems’ torque vectoring, all wheel steering and electronic stability control, allow the massive SUV to defy physics and carve through the twisty volcanic mountains around Tenerife where the launch event was held.
As the RS Q8 only exists as a performance alternative to the Q8, it made sense to focus on the performance highlights on offer, The truth is however, most of the time buyers will be in the vehicle, they will be using it in commuter mode. To that end, the RS Q8 was clearly designed as an all-rounder. The seats, even though they were made to contain G-force displacement, were comfortable and supportive over the many hours spent in the RS Q8 over two days of driving. Even though the twin Turbo V8 made quite a ruckus under acceleration, most of the thunder was for bystanders consumption. The interior sound level was a cocoon of restrained interference. You can definitely hear the exhaust note under acceleration but otherwise, the frameless windows are adept at isolating other annoyances such as road and wind noise.
To underline the RS Q8’s everyday functionality, it even comes with a towing hitch as standard equipment and under normal driving speeds, the RS Q8 can be raised up to 90mm to satisfy typical off-road concerns. Audi Sport set out to make a powerful, comfortable vehicle, one with 365 days a year drive-ability. The 1.2 million kilometres of testing put into this vehicle has produced a capable and exhilarating package that is sure to please. 2021 Audi RS Q8 mountain roads
Expect the 2021Audi RS Q8 to arrive later this year but you can reserve yours now. Pricing has yet to be announced but as it shares the same platform as the Lamborghini Urus, Porsche Cayenne and Bentley Bentayga, it should fall close to the lower end of these corporate cousins.