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With outrageous power, audacious handling and imposing presence, the RS Q8 brings a heavy dose of silliness to the sensible family SUV formula.

14 Apr 2021


We live in strange times. In the past, sports cars and family cars tended to not overlap. After all, very few people were thinking about taking their family car to the Nürburgring to chase new lap records.

Now, though, those two seemingly divergent qualities have now converged like never before. Indeed, you can now quite easily find large SUVs with more performance than full-fledged sports cars from even just 10 years ago.

Case in point - this new Audi RS Q8, a ginormous SUV that packs more punch than even an Audi R8.

That seems rather mad...

The 4.0-litre V8 engine produces an outrageous 591bhp and 800Nm of torque
Yes, it is quite mad. This RS Q8 utilises a 4.0-litre turbocharged V8 engine to send 591bhp and 800Nm of torque to all four wheels, allowing the car to rampage from 0-100km/h in a ridiculous 3.8 seconds.

That's just outrageous. The RS Q8 has more than enough power to scare even your bravest passengers, and the behemoth's ability to gather speed and rocket forward is rather mental.

However, it's more than just about going quickly in a straight line. With lots of complicated technology like electromechanical active roll stabilisation, four-wheel steering, adaptive air suspension and adjustable ride height, the RS Q8 handles in a manner than should not be possible for a car that is basically the size of a small tank.

With launch control activated, the RS Q8's century sprint timing of 3.8 seconds will put most other performance cars to shame
The steering is sharp and rather aggressive, the handling tight and reasonably well-controlled given the car's overall weight and footprint, and the grip ample thanks to four-wheel drive and massive tyres wrapped around gargantuan 23-inch wheels (the largest ever fitted onto an Audi).

Put all that together, and you have a car that can (and has) set a Nurburgring record in the SUV class. Pretty mad, all things considered.

Wait, but it's an SUV. It supposed to be a family car!

The aggressive appeal of the RS Q8 extends beyond its undeniable performance figures and capabilities.

The imposing and aggressive front fascia is entirely befitting of the RS Q8's over-the-top character
Take the exterior design - with the blacked-out gigantic front grille, air intakes and rear diffuser, the RS Q8 cuts an imposing figure on the road. It certainly screams "Get out of my way!", which cars on the highway ahead of you will most certainly do.

The interior also exhibits all the sporty cues you'd expect from an RS model, including grey contrast stitching across the many leather surfaces and grey detailing on the seat belts. Our test car also came with optional Alcantara finishing on the steering wheel and gear lever, as well as RS floor mats. It's all rather quite fancy. 

However, this is still a practical family car. It's a big family SUV after all. There's plenty of space in the cabin and the boot. The interior is lavish and chock full of equipment, with features like massage seats ensuring that your drive can be soothing if you so desire.

This 605-litre boot will comfortably serve all the needs of a typical family
And admittedly, drive the car lightly and it's really quite sensible and refined. It's quiet, the ride is forgiving, and because the engine is so gutsy you never really feel that the car is as heavy as its size would suggest.

Who's buying such a car?

When we think of a high-performance, family-friendly Audi, the car that immediately springs to mind is the RS6. That car has certainly developed a halo status among Audi enthusiasts, with its ability to combine daily practicality with outrageous dynamic performance.

That being said, the newest generation model has refined that formula to a point where the slightly preposterous nature of the car has been somewhat subdued. Some (like me) might even say that the car has gone too sensible.

The RS Q8 is a little bit silly and a little bit mad, and that's certainly part of its unique appeal
This RS Q8 appears to be the next iteration of that slightly crazy ideology. Conceptually, it doesn't make a ton of sense. It's a big, family SUV that delivers ample luxury and class. And somehow, it also has supercar performance and dynamic handling that shouldn't be possible for a car this huge. It shouldn't really work, but it actually does.

It's all a little bit silly. And that's arguably entirely the point. This is a car that's silly in the best of ways - in the most Audi RS of ways.

Car Information

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Audi RS Q8 Mild Hybrid 4.0 TFSI qu Tip (A)
Rate it

Price

: $592,630

Engine Type

:

V8 Bi-Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

3996cc

Horsepower

:

441kW (591 bhp) / 6000 rpm

Torque

:

800 Nm / 4500 rpm

Transmission

:

8-speed (A) Tiptronic

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

3.8sec

Top Speed

:

250km/h

Fuel consumption

:

8.3 km/L

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audi  audi q8  q8  rs  audi rs  rs q8  audi rs q8