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New Audi RS Q8 powered by ICE only

Potent V8 combustion-powered RS Q8 most powerful from RS stable, and at Nurburgring

27 Jun 2024

WITH its future firmly focused on electric cars, Audi still has an eye on its ICE range exemplified in the just launched (in Europe) updated RS Q8 and new RS Q8 Performance models that rock a 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 petrol engine delivering almost indecent performance in a large, 2315kg SUV.


European pricing has been announced at €141,900 ($A227,992) for the RSQ8 and €155,700 ($A250,164) for the Performance model but Australian pricing may not necessarily reflect this.


Powerhouse V8 SUV wagon competitors for Audi duo include the Porsche Cayenne GTS (from $209,600), BMW X5 M Competition (from $241,900) and the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S (from $268,900).


Regarding that “indecent performance” we find the bulky Audi pair capable of clocking a benchmark 0-100km/h sprint in 3.8 seconds and 3.6 seconds respectively with a potential v-max of 280km/h up to 305km/h optionally.


This is because of the prodigious power and torque from the twin turbo, high-tech 4.0-litre V8 that in the “lesser” RS Q8 is 441kW and 800Nm upped to 471kW and 850Nm in the Performance model thanks to its freer flowing exhaust and presumably greater turbo boost pressure.


It’s enough to place the RS Q8 Performance at the top of the tree for ICE production cars coming out of Audi Sport GmbH – the four ring’s performance arm.


And they didn’t stop at engine power with a truck-load of go-fast components fitted to each model to cap their intimidating exterior look starting with the new design and lighter wheels, various upgraded chassis components, big brakes, and an enhanced version of permanent quattro AWD including locking centre and rear differentials.


Drive goes through an eight-speed Tiptronic with faster shifting times than standard while the completely mechanical centre diff’, with its compact and lightweight design, distributes torque to the front and rear axle at a ratio of 40:60.


If slippage occurs, no more than 70 per cent of the drive torque is applied to the front and up to 85 percent to the rear axle. Audi says testing shows this mode of operation results in more precise cornering, less understeer, and more exact turn-in.


There’s no question both are serious pieces of kit that, in the case of the Performance, unsurprisingly set a new best time of 7:36.698 minutes for a production SUV lap of the 21km Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit.


“The RS Q8 Performance owes its lap record to the interplay of the V8 engine and chassis components as well as the passion of the Audi Sport GmbH team for absolute performance,” said Audi Sport boss Rolf Michl.


“Both the new RS Q8 Performance and the RS Q8 embody sportiness and elegance. The top model of the Q8 series combines a passion for performance, prestige, and suitability for everyday use to create an exhilarating experience.”


In a media release, Audi says both variants have “outstanding” driving dynamics thanks to an optimized, self-locking centre differential while guaranteeing an equally impressive suitability for everyday use.


The exterior of the RS Q8 and RS Q8 Performance take their cues from the recently upgraded Q8 and new equipment packages allow more freedom for customisation. It is available in a number of specific RS colours.


The vehicles have a new front apron with “striking” air intakes, a distinctive honeycomb structure and a blade in high-gloss black (matte grey on the Performance) that clearly identifies them as the top models in the series. There are new matrix LED headlights, too.


The characteristic large single frame grille features a reinterpreted honeycomb structure where each individual honeycomb cell is now three-dimensional while down the back, which also plays a part in advancing the models’ performance, runs two big-bore oval tailpipes with a diffuser between them.


Under the muscular shell, the new models are said to provide an ideal balance of sportiness and comfort, aided by standard fit adaptive air suspension with controlled damping tuned specifically for the RS.


The ride height of both versions varies by up to 90mm and braking is achieved through 420mm front discs and 370mm rears with 10 pistons on the front callipers for the lower spec model, even larger ceramic brakes for the Performance model which also gains larger lightweight 23-inch alloys that cut the model’s dry weight by 20kg.


Among available option packs, customers may also choose between three interior colours: red, grey or blue including matching upholstery to the perforated sports seats with honeycomb stitching.


Decorative inlays for both models are available in matte brushed aluminium with linear embossing in silver, aluminium Race Anthracite, matte Carbon Twill, or Grey Oak.


Both vehicles feature “RS performance” projected onto the ground, a 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit that has a shift light indicator in manual mode. Visible via symbols in the Audi virtual cockpit, Launch Control fully exploits the acceleration potential of the RS Q8 Performance.

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