Audi RS Q8 says it’s a masterpiece of engineering that can be used on racetracks as well as in off-road conditions.
Hopefully the off-road feature is restricted to exploring the great Australian outback and doesn’t refer to off-road on racetracks…
We have just spent an enjoyable week behind the wheel of the hottest, biggest Audi of them all, the RS Q8.
There’s nothing shy and retiring about the Audi RS Q8. It has wider guards by 10mm at the front and 5mm at the rear. This not only makes space for 23-inch alloy wheels but also adds to the I-am-very-serious statement.
The blackout treatment of the grille and air intakes gives it a tough look. As an aside, there are no cosmetic vents – all intakes serve a function.
A slim roof-mounted spoiler tells drivers of cars that have just been overtaken that an Audi RS means business. The rear diffuser is finished in a honeycomb pattern. The huge two massive oval tailpipes not only look good but put out the right sounds, more about this in the Driving section of this test.
The RS Q8 sports seats are finished in perforated leather with the signature RS honeycomb-pattern stitching. The front seats are heated and cooled, the rears have heating only.
All three rear seats are large and comfortable. They slide fore and aft to let you juggle the passenger / luggage space.
What seems to be the standard Audi instrument binnacle looks tiny in the big Q8, with the rest of the dash being extra wide to fill in the rest of the space.
A top-end B&O sound system produces excellent musical entertainment. The RS Q8 has Audi’s MMI navigation plus infotainment system that’s operated by a large integrated touchscreen that’s easy to use. As always, we caution drivers about using these systems while their car is moving.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, while the intelligent navigation suggests route guidance based on your previous trips.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The Audi twin turbo 4.0 V8 engine produces 600 horsepower, or in our metric language 441kW. Then there’s the stump pulling 800 Nm of torque.
You can leap from zero to 100km/h in 3.8 seconds – in an SUV !
Audi’s eight-speed automatic has been uprated to handle the extra grunt and to provide very sharp shifts to keep it keep the power coming.
Drive is sent to all four wheels in a 40:60 ratio (front:rear) in normal driving. There’s a mechanical centre differential can send the four wheels between 70:30 or 15:85 to adjust to driving and road conditions.
The big Audi Q8 has a full range of occupant protection systems should the car still crash. There’s plenty of equipment to keep drivers out of trouble if they’re paying more attention to emails and texts than their driving.
Isn’t it a shame we still have these silly low speed limits on Australian motorways? We’ve spent many a happy day on German autobahns and noticed that Audis of all sizes and types are the biggest inhabitants of the fast lanes.
The virtual Audi Cockpit has extra RS information for the sporting driver; a g-meter, torque and power output dials, as well as shift lights when you’re driving in manual mode.
There are eight drive modes; Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, Efficiency, Allroad, and Off-road. Keen drivers who really know their stuff can tailor their RS Q8 to their precise needs, altering engine and transmission mapping, steering, the air suspension and even the sound of the engine.
At low speed, the rear wheels turn five degrees in the opposite direction to the front. This makes it more maneuverable in tight spaces such as tight car parks. In normal diving the rear wheels turn 1.5 degrees in the same direction as the fronts to improve handling.
The air suspension, which can vary ride height by up to 90 mm. As low as 40mm for when you want to get sporty. It’s probably best use only on racetracks. Or you can lift to 200mm of ground clearance should you wish to exploit the RS Q8’s off-road abilities.
Cornering is precise and the big Audi provides good feedback and lets you know when it’s starting to feel uncomfortable – which is at far higher speeds than you anticipate.
It does like a drink. Around town and in the suburbs, we were looking at numbers in the 15 to18 litres per hundred kilometres. Okay, it’s a big heavy vehicle but we had expected better than this.
Country running saw it drop to 11 to 13 litres. On motorways it came under 10 litres per hundred kilometres.
Audi RS Q8 is an SUV for all reasons. It looks and sounds great, eats up the miles effortlessly and isn’t overly expensive for its class. And if you’re paying $208,500 plus on-roads the fact that the big V8 chews into the juice isn’t really a handicap.
AT A GLANCE
Q8 3.0 TDI: $129,600
Q8 3.0 55 TFSI: $130,200
SQ8 4.0 TD V8: $166,500
RS Q8 TFSI: $208,500
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Audi dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Audi RS Q8 4.0-litre twin-turbo petrol five-door wagon)
Capacity: 3.996 litres
Maximum Power: 441 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 800 Nm @ 2200 rpm
Fuel Type: Premium unleaded
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 12.1 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 276 g/km
DRIVELINE: Eight-speed automatic
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 5012 mm
Wheelbase: 2998 mm
Width: 1998 mm
Height: 1751 mm
Turning Circle: Not supplied
Kerb Mass: 2315 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 85 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc
Three years / unlimited kilometres