The new Audi RS Q8 is the top model in the Q SUV product line. It combines the power of an RS model with the elegance of a premium coupé and the flexibility of an SUV. For the first time in the history of Audi RS models, Audi is offering a large SUV coupé with the genes of a true high-performance sports car on the road. With its biturbo V8 petrol engine, the Audi RS Q8 is the prestigious spearhead of the Audi RS model family and will officially go on sale in South Africa from 1 April 2021.

Maximum power and high efficiency: the engine

441 kW, 800 Nm of torque between 2,200 and 4,500 rpm – the 4.0 litre V8 in the new Audi RS Q8 delivers impressive RS performance. The turbocharged petrol engine with direct injection accelerates the large SUV coupé from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.8 seconds and to 200 km/h in 13.7 seconds. The 250 km/h top speed is electronically governed and can be optionally extended to 280 km/h.

Its 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8 ignition sequence gives the 4.0 TFSI a sportily voluminous sound. As is typical for the Audi RS models, the dual exhaust system features an impressive oval tailpipe on each side. The driver can influence the engine’s sound via the Audi drive select system. The standard RS sport exhaust system with black tailpipe trims offers an even sportier sound.

The biturbo V8 in the new RS Q8 combines maximum performance and high efficiency. Its mild-hybrid system (MHEV) is based on a 48-volt main electrical system. The core of the MHEV is a belt alternator-starter connected to the crankshaft. During deceleration and braking, it can recover up to 12 kW of power and store it in the compact lithium-ion battery. If the driver takes their foot off the accelerator at a speed between 55 and 160 km/h, the drive management selects one of two solutions depending on the driving situation and the current setting of the Audi drive select dynamic handling system: The new RS Q8 recuperates or coasts for up to 40 seconds with the engine off. The belt alternator starter starts the engine within fractions of a second when the accelerator is actuated. MHEV technology allows for start/stop operation at a speed of up to 22 km/h. The interplay of the MHEV components improves ride comfort and also has the potential to reduce fuel consumption in everyday driving by as much as 0.8 litres per 100 kilometres.

Another efficiency module on board is the cylinder on demand (COD) system. At low to intermediate load and rpm in the upper gears, it deactivates cylinders 2, 3, 5 and 8 by switching off fuel injection and ignition and closing the intake and exhaust valves. The switching process takes just milliseconds, and is virtually imperceptible in the car. During four-cylinder operation, the operating points of the active cylinders shift to higher loads and map points with high efficiency, while the deactivated cylinders run largely loss-free as gas springs. They are reactivated immediately when the driver presses the accelerator.

The power of the 4.0 TFSI flows to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system via the standard eight-speed tiptronic. Configured as a planetary gear, the purely mechanical centre differential typically distributes the drive power in a 40:60 ratio to the front and rear axles. In the event of slip, more drive torque automatically goes to the axle with the better traction. Up to 70 percent can be directed to the front wheels and up to 85 percent to the rear wheels.

Ready for anything: the suspension

The five-link construction at the front and rear axles handle longitudinal and lateral forces separately. The linkages and the subframes are made largely of aluminium. The SUV coupé has a track of 1,692 millimetres up front and 1,696 millimetres at the rear.

The standard adaptive air suspension sport with controlled damping means the new RS Q8 is equally at home on the racetrack or an offroad trail. Its RS-specific damper tuning allows for a particularly broad spread between a setup biased toward comfort and an extremely sporty setup. Depending on driving situation and the driver’s wishes, the body’s ride height varies by up to 90 millimetres.

The optional electromechanical active roll stabilization (EAWS) minimize body roll during fast cornering. There is a compact electric motor between the two halves of the stabilizer on each of the two axles. When driving straight ahead, the two halves of the stabilizer are decoupled, which reduces body movement on uneven roads and also increases ride comfort. During cornering, however, the focus is on optimum roll compensation. The halves of the stabilizer are twisted in opposite directions, which significantly reduces vehicle lean while cornering. The electromechanical active roll stabilization is integrated in the 48-volt main electrical system and serves as a recuperating system. It can even recover power via the electric motors and thereby feed electrical energy back to the battery.

The standard all-wheel steering moves the rear wheels via a high-torque electric spindle drive and two track rods. At low speeds, the rear wheels turn up to 5 degrees opposite the direction of the front wheels for greater agility. At high speeds, they turn up to 1.5 degrees in the same direction as the front wheels to improve stability during fast lane changes.

With variable ground clearance, short overhangs, quattro permanent all-wheel drive and hill descent control, the new Audi RS Q8 can carry on calmly and confidently when paved roads end.

The driver can precisely influence the character of the RS Q8 via the Audi drive select dynamic handling system. There are eight profiles from which to choose: comfort, auto, dynamic, efficiency, 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. Audi drive select affects such things as engine and transmission management, steering boost, the air suspension, all-wheel steering, engine sound and the characteristic of the automatic air conditioning.

The new RS Q8 comes standard with 23-inch aluminium wheels in a 5 Y-spoke rotor design with 295/35-series tyres. Behind the large wheels is an RS brake system with internally vented composite disks (420 millimetres) up front, 370 millimetres at the rear. Their 10-inch piston calipers are painted red as standard. The calipers of the optional RS ceramic brakes are available in blue and measure 440 millimetres up front and 370 millimetres at the rear.

Local pricing and availability

The new Audi RS Q8 will officially go on sale in South Africa from 1 April 2021 and is priced as follows (inclusive of all taxes) and comes standard with a five year Audi Freeway Plan:

Audi RS Q8 TFSI quattro           R2,354,500

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