With the covers having already come off of the diesel powered SQ8 TDI in June this year, Audi has used the Los Angeles International Auto Show to unveil the top-tier RS Q8.
Touted by Ingolstadt as the fastest SUV it has ever made, and also the fastest SUV to have lapped the Nürburgring after setting a time of seven minutes 42.2 seconds earlier this month, the RS Q8 joins the RS6 Avant and RS7 Sportback in being powered by the Volkswagen Group’s 4.0-litre 48-volt mild-hybrid V8 that produces 441kW/800Nm.
Mated to an eight-speed Tiptronic gearbox with drive going to all four wheels via Audi’s quattro’s all-wheel-drive system, the RS Q8 will get to 100 km/h from standstill in 3.8 seconds and from 0-200 km/h in 13.7 seconds before topping out at 250 km/h. With the optional RS Driver’s Package though, the V-Max limiter is raised to 305 km/h.
Fitted as standard is Audi’s Drive Select system that offers a choice of six modes; Efficiency, Comfort, Auto, Allroad, Offroad and Dynamic that alters not only the engine and throttle response, but also the transmission, engine noise, the all-wheel-drive system that can send as much as 85% of the available power to the rear wheels, the ride and the climate control.
Aesthetically, the RS Q8 builds on the SQ8 by receiving an RS-specific Singleframe grille with a gloss black honeycomb pattern, body coloured RS side strips, Manhattan Grey side sills, high gloss black side blades, a tinted finish for the standard Matrix LED headlights, an RS roof spoiler, LED taillights with dynamic indictors, dual oval tipped exhausts integrated into the rear diffuser, and a choice of two alloy wheel options; the standard 10-spoke 22-inch alloys or optional 5Y-spoke 23-inch rollers finished in gloss black as part of the add-on Carbon Black package.
As extensive as its exterior revisions have been, Audi has also given the RS Q8 a thorough onceover underneath by equipping it with RS ventilated composite brakes utilising a 10-caliper setup at the front with the discs measuring 420 mm at the front and 370 mm at the rear, a five-link front and rear axle made from aluminium, the All-Wheel steering system, RS Adaptive air suspension and optional active roll stabilisation system controlled by a 48-volt electrical supply.
Inside, the interior’s unique touches consists of a perforated, flat bottom RS steering wheel with the RS1 and RS2 mode buttons, RS displays for the 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit, RS Q8 branded illuminated door sills, an Alcantara or Carbon Black headliner, aluminium inlays and RS sport seats trimmed in Valcona leather with a honeycomb pattern.
As an option, the RS Interior Package boasts a red or grey interior finish while also adding red or grey contrasted stitching on the gear lever, kneepads, front seats and steering wheel, with Alcantara on centre console, gear lever and steering wheel rounding the package off.
Going on sale during the first quarter of next year, the RS Q8 will retail from €127 000 (R2 064 000) in Germany but, and in accordance with comments made by Audi South Africa Managing Director Trevor Hill at the Kyalami Festival of Motoring in August, the RS Q8 will come to South Africa in 2020 with an exact date and price still to be finalised.