Audi RS Q8

Audi's fastest SUV aims to re-write just what's possible for a car of this kind. Jonathan Crouch takes a look at the RS Q8.

Ten Second Review

Audi pushes on into six-figure territory with this RS Q8, targeted at those who come in search of the ultimate high performance luxury SUV. Its twin turbo V8 puts out 600PS, so this car is astonishingly rapid, but perhaps what's even more impressive if the way it can transmit its torque to the tarmac along a twisting road. Politically incorrect the RS Q8 may be, but it's still very desirable indeed.


I'm not quite sure what your idea of the ultimate money-no-object performance luxury SUV might be, but it's quite likely that it has a VW Group-sourced twin turbocharged 4.0-litre petrol V8 beneath the bonnet. That engine's common to the Porsche Cayenne Coupe Turbo, the Lamborghini Urus and this car, the Audi RS Q8. The other potential contenders for your sizeable cheque in this segment are also V8s, the BMW X6M Competition and the Mercedes-AMG GLE Coupe 63S. All are extreme, all are very fast and all are difficult to justify in a world of melting polar ice caps. But I'm guessing that if you're reading this, you'd love to own any one of them.

But why this Audi in particular? Well it's the fastest SUV around the infamous Nurburgring Nordschleife racetrack (7m 42.253s if you're interested), so there are bragging rights with that. Perhaps more significantly, on paper at least, it's got more power than the Porsche, it's vastly more affordable than the Lamborghini and there's more technology than the BMW and Mercedes. Sounds promising. If you were a bit disappointed by the idea of the diesel-powered SQ8, here's an uber-fast Audi SUV that will get your blood pumping again.

Driving Experience

Let's start with that 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 petrol engine, which here develops 600PS, a little more than it does in the Porsche Cayenne Coupe Turbo and a little less than it does in the Lamborghini Urus. It's enough to somehow convey this huge 2.3-tonne SUV from rest to 62mph in just 3.8s and you'll need only around 10 seconds more to get to 125mph, on the way to a maximum (where unrestricted and only for the very brave) of 190mph. Drive is delivered via an 8-speed tipronic auto gearbox to a quattro 4WD system that can apportion up to 80% of torque to the rear (though 40:60-split front-to-rear is its usual setting) and to manage it all, there's an active torque vectoring limited slip differential.

Lots more has also gone on to help handle all that power. You get a wider track (10mm more at the front and 5mm more at the rear) for a squater stance - and there are bigger brakes of course. And revised damper rates for the adaptive air suspension. Standard or optional depending on trim are two further features: a 48V anti-roll system and a four-wheel steer set-up that reduces cornering understeer and promotes the kind of turning ability you'd think would be impossible for a car of this size.

Design and Build

There's plenty of pavement theatre here, as you'd expect from a coupe-style large sporting SUV, especially one this powerful. Specific touches here include RS bumpers, RS widened wheel arches, RS dual-branch tailpipes and an RS Manhattan grey front spoiler lip and rear diffuser insert. Plus the imposing octagonal single frame front grille gets a Manhattan grey surround. HD matrix LED headlights flank the grille and at the back, there's the full-width light strip which is characteristic of all high-end Audi models. Depending on the spec level you choose, the wheels are either 22 or 23-inches in size.

At the wheel, the interior highlight lies with Audi's superb winged Super Sports seats, which are trimmed with diamond-stitched Valcona leather upholstery. Efficiency-wise with this RS Q8, you're looking at a WLTP-rated combined consumption figure ranging between 20.0-20.5mpg. And a WLTP CO2 emissions reading of 320-314g/km. The luggage compartment holds 605-litres, which increases to 1,755-litres with the rear backrests folded down.

Market and Model

There's a big step of just over £20,000 to go from the diesel powered SQ8 to this petrol-powered RS Q8 model. The standard RS Q8 costs around £102,000, but many potential buyers will want to upgrade. Either to the 'Carbon Black' variant with its meaner look and RS sport exhaust system, which from launch was priced from around £112,500. Or possibly to the RS Q8 'Vorsprung' flagship version, which costs around £120,000. And as a variant you have to have to get four-wheel steering and the 48V anti-roll system.

Standard equipment includes RS sports seats, rear privacy glass, a multi-coloured extended LED interior lighting pack, a power-operated tailgate, Advanced Key' keyless entry and the 'Audi Virtual Cockpit' instrument binnacle screen. Plus of course there's a whole host of camera driven safety features, though plenty of additional ones also reside on the options list. Talking of options, there is of course, lots of scope to pay more. With the standard RS Q8, you can add red brake calipers and aluminium roof rails, plus a panoramic glass roof.

Cost of Ownership

You won't be expecting this RS Q8 to be inexpensive to run - if that was at all an issue for you in buying a high performance Q8, you'd be more likely to consider the SQ8 diesel model. With this RS Q8, you're looking at a WLTP-rated combined consumption figure ranging between 20.0-20.5mpg. And a WLTP CO2 emissions reading of 320-314g/km.

Servicing your RS Q8 should be no more taxing than is the case with one of the company's smaller cars. As usual with Audi models, there's a choice of either a 'Fixed' or a 'Flexible' servicing regime, the choice between the two depending on the extent of your likely annual mileage.

We'll finish by covering the warranty. All cars in this class get three years of cover, but whereas BMW and Mercedes don't limit your mileage in this period, Audi rather meanly restricts you to 60,000 miles. Optional extra-cost packages can extend the cover to either four or five years.


Given this six-figure asking price, I was a bit disappointed that key driving aids like four-wheel steering and the 48V anti-roll system don't come as standard; you'll need these to be able to experience everything this RS Q8 can really do. But when fully kitted out, this car can give you almost everything you get in a Lamborghini Urus for £40,000 to £50,000 less. Which in turn, makes it very special indeed.


CAR: Audi RS Q8

PRICE: £101,860-£119,660



CO2 EMISSIONS: 314-320g/km [WLTP]

PERFORMANCE: 0-62mph 3.5s / unrestricted Max Speed 190mph

FUEL CONSUMPTION: (combined) 20.0-20.5mpg [WLTP]

BOOT CAPACITY: [litres] 605-1,755

WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: Length/Width/Height mm 4986/1995/1705 mm