Audi RS Q8 4.0L V8 TFSI Quattro 2021 Review

WE TAKE THE AUDI RS Q8 FOR A ROAD TEST REVIEW

Audi RS Q8 is the top of the performance SUV range from Audi and is a culmination of sheer power, beauty, comfort and functionality.

RS Q8 with a thundering 441kW/800Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbo TFSI V8 engine

The RS Q8 arrived in Australia in October 2020 with impressive credentials of being the fastest production SUV around the Nürburgring Nordschleife, thanks to a stunning lap of 7:42.253 in 2019, with Frank Stippler at the wheel.

We have tested the Audi Q8  and the impressive Audi SQ8 previously and were looking forward to this drive.

RS Q8 with a thundering 441kW/800Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbo TFSI V8 engine

What does the RS Q8 look like?

Well it certainly stands out in the metallic Java Green paintwork with beautiful 23 inch alloy wheels.

With black panoramic moonroof, black external mirrors, single frame front black RS honeycomb grill, lower air dams and sleek matrix black highlighted LED headlights, the RS Q8 presents a formidable appearance.

RS Q8 with a thundering 441kW/800Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbo TFSI V8 engine

The profile with high waisted lines and lower stylised indents exudes a muscular athletic look. The 5 Y spoke rotor design alloys with contrasting anthracite black and red brake calipers shod with 295/35 R23 performance tyres complete the look.

From the rear the dual exhaust system is sleek with an oval tailpipe on each side, complete with black trims that create a suave, yet athletic appearance

In short the RS Q8 screams “look at me” and I love it

RS Q8 with a thundering 441kW/800Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbo TFSI V8 engine

What is the RS Q8 like inside?

Being the top SUV model it’s packed with everything imaginable, but like always there are option packs.

Front seats are upholstered in premium Valcona leather with honeycomb stitching. They are spacious and comfortable with multiple electronic adjustment, including 4 way lumbar adjustment, as well as being heated.

The massage function unfortunately is part of a $9,700 option package. In front of the driver is the familiar Audi virtual cockpit with RS functionality and controls.

The steering wheel is typically Audi RS with three spokes and a flat bottom along with multiple functionality. It feels excellent in the hands and provides direct feedback.

Inside the central console bin is a wireless charging tray along with USB ports.

There are little nice touches as well such as the Illuminated door sill trims with aluminium inlay and RS logo, spot light from the mirrors, interior ambient lighting and internal air ionisation.

RS Q8 with a thundering 441kW/800Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbo TFSI V8 engine

Rear passengers are well catered for with the two outer seats comfortable as well as being able to control individual air conditioning with 4 zone controls. Plenty of head room as well as knee and foot room. There are electric sunblinds for the windows.

RS Q8 with a thundering 441kW/800Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbo TFSI V8 engine

Luggage capacity can store up to 1,755 litres (with the backrests folded down), while the rear seat can be split 40:20:40, and slides fore and aft to create additional legroom during longer journeys. There is an electronic tailgate and a tyre repair kit with no full size spare.

RS Q8 with a thundering 441kW/800Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbo TFSI V8 engine

RS Q8 Technology and connectivity

Audi connectivity is class leading and the RS Q8 features the latest technology including the MMI touch response system that offers countless controls and switches for a clean, minimalist layout including:

  • 1-inch (lower) and 8.6-inch (lower) touch screen,
  • Audi virtual cockpit and Audi Smartphone Interface with the integration of approved apps (Android auto, wireless Apple CarPlay),
  • Bang & Olufsen 3D Sound System (17 speakers, 730 watts),
  • Audi phone box light with wireless charging for mobile phones (with Qi standard),
  • Audi music interface with 2 rear USB outlets and
  • Audi connect plusfor a range of infotainment, security and assistance services.

RS Q8 with a thundering 441kW/800Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbo TFSI V8 engine

Audi RS Q8 Engine and Drivetrain.

The all-new RS Q8 is powered by a 4.0-litre TFSI V8 engine with twin turbochargers, and develops an impressive power output of 441kW @ 6,000 rpm and torque of 800Nm between 2,200 – 4,000 rpm.

This beast of an engine is also used in other VW group family vehicles such as the Porsche Cayenne, Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus.

The RS Q8 V8 TFSI also has the benefit of the Audi 48-volt mild-hybrid (MHEV) system which helps smooth any turbo lag and provides a modicum of fuel savings. Additionally, cylinder-on-demand (CoD) technology can shut down four cylinders under light throttle load, resuming within milliseconds when required.

All of this is imperceptible to the driver and passengers.

Driving all four wheels through the Quattro permanent all-wheel drive system and a quick-shifting eight-speed tiptronic transmission,  the RS Q8 is good for a sprint from 0-100 km/h in just 3.8 seconds, to 200 km/h in just 13.7 seconds, before reaching a limited top speed of 250 km/h. There is an option to go to 305km/h.

ADR fuel economy is listed as 12.1L/100K. We got it down to 9.9L/100K on the freeway and around 17L/100K around town so the real figures are actually pretty close to the ADR figure. However a heavy right foot will see those figures rise exponentially.

RS Q8 with a thundering 441kW/800Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbo TFSI V8 engine

Under normal driving conditions, torque is distributed asymmetrically: 40:60, front to rear respectively. This provides the perfect platform for dynamic handling with optimal traction, however up to 85 percent of engine torque can be directed to the rear wheels for especially sporty handling.

The quattro sport differential can provide further adjustment, directing almost all of the rear axle’s torque to either wheel during particularly dynamic driving.

As fast as it goes, stopping is even more important. Standard steel brakes have red 10-piston calipers clamping 420mm front discs, with 370mm at the rear. The optional ($19,500) RS ceramic braking system saves 34 kilograms in unsprung weight, and comprises even larger front discs, at 440mm, and a choice of colour for the calipers (grey, red or blue).

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What else can you get with that kind of speed?

0-100kmh Price
Lamborghini Urus Auto AWD 3.6 secs $391,968
Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid 3.8 secs $296,200
Range Rover Sport P575 SVR Carbon Edition 4.5 secs $275,927
Jaguar F-PACE SVR Auto 4.0 secs $142,294
Bentley Bentayga Speed Auto 3.9 secs $501,800
BMW X5 M Competition Auto xDrive 3.8 secs $212,900
Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk 3.7 secs $139,950
Maserati Levante Trofeo Auto 3.9 secs $336,900
Mercedes-Benz  GLC63 AMG S 4MATIC+ 3.8 secs $182,000

RS Q8 with a thundering 441kW/800Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbo TFSI V8 engine

RS Q8 Driving Experience

Similar to a top chef where the presentation of the meal starts the dining experience, the visual appeal of the RS Q8 engages the driver immediately.

The next part of the process is that sweet burble when you start the engine. For a car enthusiast there is almost nothing more pleasing than a V8 burble, well maybe a V12 and the aural delight of the exhaust.

There is no escaping the sheer bulk of the RS Q8 at a touch over 5.0m and near 2.3T , but the dynamics make it feel like it’s much smaller and the nimbleness belies its size.

Like all good sports SUVs the RS Q8 will simply potter along around town without fuss and apart from the bright green colour, it could pass as any other prestige SUV.

However it’s a staged release of the raw power that lies beneath.

Hit the accelerator in normal drive mode and the big Audi will leave most other cars in its wake. The ride and handling is a mixture of sport and compliance. For most drivers that is enough.

RS Q8 with a thundering 441kW/800Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbo TFSI V8 engine

Flip the transmission to sport mode and the RS Q8 steps up a notch. Go to RS mode and it turns ballistic. It’s a beast but not one that is hard to contain.

There is the slightest hesitation when you plant the right foot, almost like the RS Q8 is working out just how hard you want it to run, but then it screams into life and blasts away.

The combination of RS adaptive air suspension, quattro sport differential, all wheel steering and electronic active roll stabilisation ensure that almost every driver will never truly explore the limits of adhesion of the RS Q8 unless they are being completely stupid.

The all wheel steering is quite clever and works by having the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to the front wheels at low speeds, reducing the turning circle by up to one metre, turning the same direction as the front wheels at speed, which provides dynamic handling with unshakable stability.

RS Q8 with a thundering 441kW/800Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbo TFSI V8 engine

All of these dynamic systems, the Electronic Stabilisation Control (ESC) and the standard RS sports exhaust, are integrated through the Audi drive select, including two new RS 1 and RS 2 modes that can be quickly accessed via the steering wheel and configured for specific high-performance settings.

You drive the RSQ8 but you get the feeling that it is always the one in control, not you.

There are a myriad of things that make the RS Q8 special, but high on the list is the ability to compensate for the road surface. With large 23 inch alloys and thin performance rubber, you could assume that the occupants would feel the slightest jarring, but the dynamic air suspension and dampers seemingly compensate for all road surfaces.

RS Q8 with a thundering 441kW/800Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbo TFSI V8 engine

RS Q8 Safety Features

The RS Q8 hasn’t got an ANCAP rating specifically but the Q8 does have a five star ANCAP rating.

The full suite of available Audi driver assistance systems are fitted to the RS Q8 as standard, including Adaptive cruise assist with Stop&Go and traffic jam assist, front and rear parking sensors, Audi pre-sense front and rear, active lane assist and side assist with cross traffic assist, collision avoidance and turn assist and 360-degree cameras with kerb view. Additionally, tyre pressure monitoring, an alarm and head-up display round out the safety features.

RS Q8 with a thundering 441kW/800Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbo TFSI V8 engine

Other things

The Audi RS Q8 offers several equipment option packages with further interior customisation available, including a Sensory package, two exterior styling packages including a matt aluminium styling package and the carbon &black styling package, the RS design package and the RS Dynamic package plus (with ceramic brakes and raised 305 km/h speed limit).

A selection of eight exterior colours are available on the Audi RS Q8, as well as three interior trims.

The all-new RS Q8 is offered with the comprehensive Audi service plan package, priced at $4,060 for five years

My final thoughts on the Audi RS Q8

Well it’s not often said that a $210,000 plus car could be considered a bargain, but when you add up the level of sophistication, dynamics, performance and features for the price, then there isn’t much even close to the RS Q8.

It’s a family long distance cruiser, perfect for trips to the snow and perhaps when you are by yourself, find a nice quiet tight twisty section of road and let rip. Within speed limits of course!

It’s a big, stunning, fast sport SUV, just how I like them. The question in my mind is would I buy the SQ8 or the RS Q8, well it’s nice to dream about such problems.

RS Q8 with a thundering 441kW/800Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbo TFSI V8 engine

What’s good

  • Engine and driving dynamics obviously
  • Interior comfort and ambience
  • Its presence on road

What’s not

  • Rear external mirrors don’t dip in reverse
  • No full size spare tyre
  • Massage seats are an option

Also Look At

RS Q8 with a thundering 441kW/800Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbo TFSI V8 engine

 Model    Audi RSQ8 Quattro

  • Model Price        From $208,500 MLP*
  • Engine                  4.0L V8 Twin Turbo TFSI Petrol
  • Drivetrain              Quattro AWD 8 speed Auto
  • Power                    441kW @ 6,000rpm
  • Torque                  800Nm @ 2,1050-4,500rpm
  • Safety                    TBC ANCAP
  • CO2 Emissions      276 g/km
  • Economy ADR      12.1 L/100km
  • 0-100kmh             3.8 sec, Top speed 250 kmh (limited)
  • Servicing              12MTHS. 30,000KM
  • Warranty               3 Yr./ Unlimited km with 3 Yr. roadside assist

*MLP Includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of options. Some features mentioned in the article are options.

Overall Rating    

92/100

Behind the Wheel 9
Comfort 9
Equipment 9
Performance 10
Ride and Handling 10
Practicality 9
Fit for Purpose 9
Design / Style 9
Technology / connectivity 9
Value for Money7 9

RS Q8 with a thundering 441kW/800Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbo TFSI V8 engine

Dimensions

 
Overall Length 5012mm
Wheelbase 2998mm
Width / Height 1998mm / 1751mm
Unladen ground clearance / wading depth Up to 212mm / N/A mm
Fuel Tank  / Turning Circle 86 Litres / 12.9mts KTK
Kerb Weight /  GVM / GCM 2315kg / 2535kg / 6035KG
Towing Capacity / Tow Ball rating 3500kg / 350kg
Audi RS Q8 4.0L TFSI V8 Overall Rating
  • 9/10
    Behind the Wheel - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Comfort - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Equipment - 9/10
  • 10/10
    Performance - 10/10
  • 10/10
    Ride and Handling - 10/10
  • 9/10
    Practicality - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Fit for Purpose - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Design / Style - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Technology / connectivity - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Value for Money - 9/10
9.2/10

Summary

Well it’s not often said that a $210,000 plus car could be considered a bargain, but when you add up the level of sophistication, dynamics, performance and features for the price, then there isn’t much even close to the RS Q8.

It’s a family long distance cruiser, perfect for trips to the snow and perhaps when you are by yourself, find a nice quiet tight twisty section of road and let rip. Within speed limits of course!

About Rob Fraser 1010 Articles
Rob Fraser – General dogsbody & Director Rob is the founder of the business. He constantly mutters something about way too many red wines one evening being to blame. He first learned to drive on the farm in a left hand drive WW11 Jeep when he was 11, many years ago. He has maintained a strong interest in the industry ever since and was hooked on 4WDriving way back then. Having previously lived at the top of corporate life he retired in 2000 and hasn’t put a suit and tie on since. Cars are his passion so why not have a business doing what you love he figures. He has towed either a caravan or camper trailer to most parts of Australia, has run guided tours for camper trailers’ and instructed drivers in off road towing Often known for taking the 4WD in the driveway over the sports car, he has travelled pretty much everywhere in Australia and when he is bored goes for a drive.

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