The All-New Audi RS Q8: The Beast Is a Beauty

source: Audi of America, photo: Audi AG, Denis Podmarkov

  • All-new RS Q8 first RS-SUV from Audi in America
  • Dominating performance of an RS, everyday functionality of an SUV, and dynamic silhouette of the Audi Ur quattro
  • Audi RS Q8 fastest production SUV to lap Nürburgring racetrack with official time of 7 minutes and 42.2 seconds

Audi RS Q8 combines the genes of a high-performance RS model with the practicality of an SUV and the dynamic design of an Audi coupe. Featuring a bi-turbo V8 engine to deliver exhilarating performance and driving dynamics, the RS Q8 sets a new standard as the prestigious spearhead of the RS model line.

Powertrain and performance

The 4.0-liter V8 in the RS Q8 delivers an impressive 591 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. The turbocharged engine accelerates the large SUV from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds and achieves a top track speed of 155 mph, or 190 mph when equipped with the RS ceramic brakes. The RS Q8 is currently the fastest production SUV to lap the renowned Nürburgring racetrack with an official time of 7 minutes and 42.2 seconds.

The 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8 ignition sequence gives the engine a robust and unique sound. As is typical for RS models, the dual exhaust system features an oval tailpipe on each side. The driver can influence the engine’s sound via the Audi drive select system. The optional RS sport exhaust system with black tailpipe trims offers an even sportier sound.

The power of the V8 flows to the quattro all-wheel drive system via the standard eight-speed Tiptronic® transmission, offering high-precision and dynamic handling through active torque distribution to both axles. This purely mechanical system transfers torque to the front and rear axles at a standard ratio of 40:60, and when required, can transfer the majority of the power to the axle with better traction. Up to 70 percent can be directed to the front wheels and up to 85 percent to the rear wheels.

Wheel-selective torque control helps to improve the agile handling of the large-SUV by providing additional traction modifications across each axle. During dynamic cornering, the quattro sport rear differential distributes drive torque between the rear wheels as required. This active torque vectoring helps improve traction, stability and dynamics.


The RS Q8 features standard adaptive air suspension with controlled damping allowing the large SUV to be equally at home on or off the paved roads. Its RS-specific damper tuning offers drivers a choice between long-distance comfort and high performance. Standard all-wheel steering allows for greater agility at low speeds and improved stability at high speeds.

The standard active roll stabilization helps to improve vehicle driving dynamics by actively distributing roll torque between the front and rear axles. When driving straight ahead, the two halves of the stabilizer are decoupled, which can reduce body movement on uneven roads and also help to increase ride comfort. During cornering, however, the halves of the stabilizer are twisted in opposite directions, which helps to reduce vehicle lean.

Drivers can customize their driving experience through the standard Audi drive select system with seven different profiles: comfort, auto, dynamic, allroad, offroad and the individually configurable RS-specific modes RS1 and RS2, which can be activated directly via the “‘RS-MODE’” button on the steering wheel. The Audi drive select setting influences the engine and transmission management, power steering, the air suspension, all-wheel steering and engine sound. With variable ground clearance, short overhangs and hill descent control, the new Audi RS Q8 can carry on confidently when paved roads end.

Exterior and interior design

With the octagonal Singleframe grille and the RS-specific honeycomb design, the RS Q8 has an even more dominant appearance. This combined with the front air inlets in gloss black and the alu-optic front spoiler perfectly highlights the athletic character of the large SUV. The dynamic roofline ends in gently inclined D-pillars, which are supported by the wide, pronounced wheel arches, paying homage to the vehicle’s quattro® DNA, creating an unmistakable Audi silhouette. An RS roof-edge spoiler provides a striking finish at the top and provides downforce on the rear axle for improved balance at high speeds. At the back of the vehicle, RS-specific rear bumpers with alu-optic diffuser trim and the signature RS model oval exhaust further differentiate the large SUV.

Additional exterior highlights include:

  • Standard HD Matrix-design LED headlights with LED daytime running lights and LED taillights with dynamic turn indicators and animation.
  • Standard 22-inch 10-spoke star design wheels with summer tires or available 23-inch 5-Y-spoke rotor design wheels in matte titanium.
  • Available painted steel brake calipers in red or available ceramic brakes in red or gray.
  • Available Black Optic package adds black exterior accents, black rings and badges and 23-inch 5-Y-spoke rotor design wheels in anthracite with summer tires.
  • Building on the Black Optic package, the available Carbon Optic package adds carbon to the exterior side mirrors, front spoiler and rear bumper inlay and mask surrounding the Singleframe grille.

The interior of the new RS Q8 features a clean and refined design. The slim instrument panel and strong horizontal lines convey a feeling of spaciousness. The central element in the cockpit is the MMI® touch response system. With its black-panel look, it seemingly dissolves into a large, black surface when switched off.

Special RS displays in the standard Audi virtual cockpit with 12.3-inch display offers information such as output, g-forces, lap times, drivetrain temperatures, and torque and tire pressure. The shift light display prompts the driver to upshift when the rev limit is reached. The optional head-up display also offers several RS-specific graphics.

On the interior, the RS Q8 further demonstrates its everyday usability. A sliding three-seat rear bench is standard. With the seat backrests folded down, the luggage compartment under the power rear hatch holds up to 60.7 cubic feet.

Additional interior and infotainment highlights include:

  • Every RS Q8 is standard equipped with ventilated RS sport Valcona leather seats with “RS” honeycomb stitching. The perforated, heated RS sport leather steering wheel features new large RS aluminum shift paddles on either side of the wheel.
  • Available Luxury package adds an Alcantara® headliner, fine Nappa leather accents on the center console, armrests and instrument panel, power rear window sunshades.
  • Standard Bang & Olufsen 3D Sound System with 17 speakers and 16-channel amplifier or available Bang & Olufsen 3D Advanced Sound System which delivers nearly true-to-life surround sound through 23 speakers, powered by the 23-channel BeoCore amplifier and ICE power amplifiers with a peak output of 1,920 watts.

Advanced driver assistance systems

The 2020 Audi RS Q8 offers a comprehensive suite of standard and available driver assistance systems including adaptive cruise assist, which combines the functions of adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist and active lane assist. Standard Top view camera system with virtual 360 surround view assists the driver with maneuvering in tight spaces. Available Intersection assist helps monitor cross traffic when pulling through an intersection or at exit ramps and can help notify the driver of a potentially hazardous situation.

Manufacturer suggested retail pricing:

Model Starting MSRP
2020 Audi RS Q8 $113,000

Starting MSRP of $113,000 for a 2020 Audi RS Q8. Price excludes destination charge ($995), taxes, title, other options and dealer charges. Dealer sets actual price.

Audi AG photos

Denis Podmarkov photos