Audi Australia is bolstering its Q family with the arrival of the first RS Q8 performance SUV.
The all-new RS Q8 spearheads the Audi RS model range. According to Audi, the model is the fastest production SUV around the Nürburgring Nordschleife, thanks to a lap of 7:42.253 in 2019, with Frank Stippler at the wheel.
“The Audi RS Q8 is an extraordinary feat of engineering accomplishment,’ said Paul Sansom, Managing Director of Audi Australia.
“Creating a vehicle that truly serves its purpose as a functional, versatile family vehicle without compromising on the kind of stratospheric performance that is expected of an RS flagship is a remarkable achievement by Audi Sport GmbH.
“We know that this type of exclusive vehicle is one that some of our customers have been longing for, and so we are delighted to bring the first RS Q8 to Australia,” said Sansom.
The RS Q8 is powered by a 4.0-litre TFSI V8 engine with twin turbochargers that develops 441kW of power and 800Nm of torque, (the latter from 2,200 4,500rpm). This allows the SUV to reach 100 km/h from rest in 3.8 seconds, to 200 km/h in 13.7 seconds, and provides a limited top speed of 250 km/h.
A 48-volt mild-hybrid (MHEV) system enhances the characteristics of the engine. During deceleration and braking, the RS Q8 can draw on this system to recover up to 12 kW of power while coasting or under light throttle. The start/stop system also draws on the 48V electrical system and functions at speeds up to 22 km/h, saving up to 0.8 litres of fuel, per 100km. Additionally, cylinder on demand (COD) technology can shut down four cylinders under light throttle load, resuming within milliseconds when required. Audi says all of this is imperceptible to the driver and passengers.
To fully harness the strength of the engine, the RS Q8 is equipped with a quick-shifting eight-speed tiptronic transmission, directing power to the road via Audi’s quattro permanent all-wheel drive. Under normal driving conditions, torque is distributed asymmetrically: 40:60, front to rear respectively. Audi says this provides the perfect platform for dynamic handling with optimal traction, however up to 85 per cent 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 the rear axle’s torque to either wheel during particularly dynamic driving.
With potential for such high-speeds, the standard braking system that underpins the RS Q8 features steel brakes, with red 10-piston calipers clamping 420mm front discs, with 370mm at the rear. The optional RS ceramic braking system saves 34kg in unsprung weight, and comprises 440mm front discs, and a choice of colour for the calipers (grey, red or blue).
The Q8 also benefits from dynamic all-wheel steering to ensure stability on the road, even in unpredictable driving situations. The rear wheels steer in the opposite direction to the front wheels at low speeds, reducing the turning circle by up to one metre, and steer in the same direction as the front wheels at speed, which provides dynamic handling with sure-footed stability. The SUV is also equipped with adaptive air suspension, which can adjust ride height and the balance between suppleness and firmness depending on the driving conditions.
This is enhanced by the electromechanical active roll stabilisation system, which is powered by the 48v electrical architecture, offering “unparalleled levels” of body control. Adjustable stabilisers reduce the body movements on uneven roads when driving in a straight line. When cornering, the focus shifts to optimum roll compensation and the tendency of the car to lean into the bend is reduced substantially.
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.
The new face of the Audi Q family features the wide Single-frame grille combines a black gloss finish with the RS-specific honeycomb structure, edged by arresting air inlets that sit below the standard dark tinted HD Matrix LED headlights (with front and rear dynamic indicators).
For the first time ever on an Audi production vehicle, 23-inch alloy wheels feature as standard.
The RS Q8 quattro Tiptronic is priced at $208,500 and will arrive in Australia in October.