2020 Audi RS Q8: First RS SUV Packs 591 HP!
Perhaps more important, the RS Q8 also has 590 lb-ft of torque.
If you'd love to park a Lamborghini Urus in your driveway but can't justify spending well past $200,000 on one, the all-new 2020 Audi RS Q8 has you covered. Riding on the same platform as the aforementioned Lambo and packing a mighty 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8, the RS Q8 marks the first time Audi has affixed an RS badge to a member of its SUV lineup.
While Audi doesn't outright admit the 4.0-liter is the same found in the Lambo, it's no matter—the eight packs quite the punch regardless of application, and it is the same powerplant used in the wicked RS6 Avant station wagon. As in the wagon, that means 591 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque are on reserve and the output is managed by an eight-speed automatic transmission. Given that, the super Q8 is as quick as you probably expect, with the zero-to-62-mph sprint handled in a scant 3.8 seconds and the run from zero to 124 mph in 13.7; the RS Q8 only stops accelerating when it hits the its 155-mph limiter. For buyers with a need for more speed on their daily commutes, an available Dynamic package raises the bar to a very specific 189.5 mph.
Unlike the Lambo's, the Audi's V-8 heart is augmented by a 48-volt mild-hybrid system consisting of a belt-driven starter/alternator connected to the crankshaft. During braking, the system scavenges up to 12 kW of juice, storing it in a small lithium-ion battery that allows for engine-off coasting and seamless stop-start tech.
The RS Q8's prodigious output is fed to the wheels by the Quattro all-wheel-drive system in a default 40/60-percent front/rear torque split, although up to 70 percent can be sent to the front and 85 percent to the rear as dictated by situational traction. Not enough? Make sure you spec yours with the optional Quattro sport differential that adds active torque vectoring to the rear axle.
Much like the majority of high-horsepower go-fast SUVs, the RS Q8 packs a warehouse's worth of handling hardware to counteract its higher center of gravity and extra poundage. A five-link suspension design is fitted to all four, while standard adaptive air springs work to ensure the ride quality isn't as compromised by the rest of the vehicle's performance-tuned nature. Depending on the setting, ride height can be varied across a range of 3.5 inches.
If you actually plan on attacking canyon roads with your 2020 RS Q8, consider springing for the optional active roll stabilization, which further helps keep body motions in check. If you want a one-stop-shop for these performance upgrades, the Dynamic Package Plus incorporates the higher top speed, active roll-stabilization, and sport differential, plus carbon-ceramic brakes. Rear-wheel steering is also part of the bundle, and it will deliver a tidier turning radius at low speeds and increased stability at higher ones.
Audi's new RS drive mode is included on the RS Q8, and it's very much like BMW's "M" mode button found on most of those products. Clicking the steering-wheel-mounted button toggles between configurable RS1 and RS2 profiles that can be programmed with the driver's preferred modes for the engine, transmission, steering boost, suspension, all-wheel steering, engine sound, and, strangely enough, the automatic air conditioning. And of course, there are the normal Audi-curated chassis modes.
As is the case with other RS products, the RS Q8 packs a more aggressive visual punch than the standard Q8. Larger, more prominent sport wheels are wrapped in performance rubber, and they provide shelter for massive, 16.5-inch rotors up front and 14.6-inch rotors at the rear as standard. RS-specific body cladding widens the body by 0.4 inch up front and 0.2 inch at the rear. Of course, gloss-black trim adorns portions of exterior with optional carbon-fiber trim packages offered. Inside, it's exactly what you would expect from an RS-ified SUV. Leather-wrapped sport seats keep occupants snugly in place, while metal and carbon-fiber surfaces create the sort of clean, well-styled environment we've come to know and love from Audi.
If the 2020 Audi RS Q8 is as interesting to you as it is to us, you can pick yours up in the U.S. sometime early next year. Pricing hasn't yet been announced, but budget something like $140,000 to start—pricey, sure, but still tens of thousands cheaper than the Urus.