2021 Audi RS Q8 review: Supercar fun for the whole family


Jon Wong/Roadshow

Superior-functionality SUVs with coupe-like rooflines are surely a completely fledged class of their possess, with the BMW X6 M Competitiveness, Mercedes-AMG GLE63 and Porsche Cayenne Turbo obtainable these days. All boast a dash of supplemental design more than ordinarily formed SUVs, not to mention heaps of electrical power and punched-up managing capabilities. The newcomer in this class is the Audi RS Q8, a functionality CUV so very well-honed it now retains the production SUV lap record of seven minutes, 42.2 seconds all-around Germany’s Nürburgring. 


  • Big functionality and every day ease and comfort
  • Sleek looks inside of and out
  • Superb cabin tech

Never Like

  • Lacks drama
  • Mild steering
  • Can get serious pricey rapidly

Decrease-key performer

What does the Audi’s Nürburgring lap record imply? To car dorks it usually means bragging legal rights. For anyone else, not much. But this primary tale of the tape is one thing individuals of all automotive expertise bases will possible recognize. The heart and soul of this accomplishment is the RS Q8’s engine: a four.-liter twin-turbocharged V8 shoving out 591 horsepower and 590 pound-toes of torque with the latter obtaining your again from 2,200 to four,five hundred rpm. 

Channeling electrical power to all of the RS Q8’s wheels is an eight-speed automatic transmission, permitting this SUV to arrive at sixty mph in just 3.seven seconds, on its way to a best speed of one hundred ninety mph. (Observe: This best speed is only unlocked if you spring for the upgraded carbon ceramic brakes.) All issues deemed, those people are bonkers stats. But you know what? The BMW, Mercedes and Porsche all replicate that -to-sixty-mph time.

In the serious entire world, the Audi’s drivetrain amazingly doesn’t behave like an indignant, hyperactive brute. From a dig, the RS Q8 doesn’t launch with outrageous gusto. As a substitute, it smoothly gets out of the gap, pulls sturdy to the engine’s 6,750-rpm redline and rattles off seamless, very well-timed gear modifications. If you usually are not paying shut focus, it truly is quick to get very well previous posted speed limitations on area streets, thanks to the progressive throttle tuning and minimal gurgle from the exhaust. You get civilized aggression from the powertrain. The RS Q8 is hardly ever loud, shouty or harsh when heading about its small business, nevertheless I want it had been a little bit more uncooked and loud in Dynamic method.

Continuing the easy topic, technological bits like a forty eight-volt gentle-hybrid system and cylinder deactivation go unnoticed. You can find no wonkiness in the brake pedal and you’d be really hard pressed to notify when the V8 is running on some or all of its cylinders. All those efforts lead to EPA-estimated thirteen mpg city and 19 mpg highway scores, putting the RS Q8 on par with the relaxation of its aggressive established. I observed thirteen.one mpg throughout a week of screening.

Dialed-up dynamics

From a functionality standpoint, the RS Q8’s managing chops are its most extraordinary attribute. To enable this 5,490-pounder hustler more durable it truly is received a rear-biased all-wheel-travel system, torque-vectoring rear differential, air suspension, all-wheel steering, active anti-roll bars and upgraded 23-inch Y-spoke wheels with 295/35 sequence tires (22-inchers come normal).

A increased managing IQ will come courtesy in aspect from some large 23-inch Continental tires.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Place the Audi Travel Pick out system into its Dynamic location and the RS Q8 hunkers down and hangs on tight all-around cloverleaf on-ramps. Credit score the tires’ significant ol’ call patches and all the functionality features’ technological wizardry for all the grip and composure this crossover displays when driven really hard. Receiving the RS Q8 sloppy on the road requires caning it way more durable than you responsibly must. 

Instilling even more self-assurance at the rear of the wheel are the aforementioned carbon ceramic brakes. The $nine,000 solution usually means there are ten-piston calipers clamping down on monstrous 17.3-inch rotors up front and continue to-darn-significant 14.6-inch rotors with one-piston calipers all-around again. Like all the things else, pressing down on the still left pedal doesn’t produce outrageous preliminary chunk, permitting for easy brake apps. A minimal more force unlocks the significant stopping muscle when you want to go deeper into brake zones or conduct stress stops.

In normal Audi vogue, evenly weighted steering is a sticking level in Dynamic. I choose obtaining a touch more heft in the wheel, but I have no complaints about the steering’s responses. That’s not to say there usually are not situations when the mild steering is effective — when you place the car in Comfort method for normal commuting, for instance. Speaking of commuting, the RS Q8 does great listed here, with the adaptive dampers using the edge off all but the most significant roadway dangers. In addition to the fantastic grip they give, the significant Continental tires should have kudos for their deficiency of sounds rolling down the street. 

Weightier steering sense for the RS Q8 is on the want listing.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

RS design and tech

This RS Q8 painted Daytona Gray Pearl with its extra optional styling goodies is unquestionably a looker. The modifications to the RS more than normal Q8 products usually are not tremendous drastic, with more intense bumpers, honeycomb grille inserts, oval exhaust tips and slicker wheels. Incorporate in a generous carbon fiber diet program on the front lip, grille encompass, mirror caps, tailgate trim and rear bumper valance, and blacked-out aspects sprinkled about give the RS Q8 a minimal-key, but continue to sinister vibe.

Head inside of the RS Q8 and the design is simplistic with heaps of straight lines. The front seats offer heaps of aid to maintain riders in put with RS honeycomb accent stitching on the inserts. These chairs offer a massage purpose with seven various kneading designs that I like.

Make high-quality in this Audi is to start with-rate with heaps of higher-stop materials positioned in the course of the cabin, like Alcantara on the headliner and doorway panels, matte carbon fiber dash trim and leather-based-wrapped and stitched surfaces for most of the significant panels. If you’re apprehensive about the faster roofline slicing into 2nd-row headroom, you should not be, mainly because you can find continue to enough house for normal grown ups. Cargo space also is not too shabby with a healthful 30.5 cubic toes on offer that grows to sixty.seven cubic toes with the again seats folded.

A easy design and amazing develop high-quality emphasize the RS Q8’s inside.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Getting treatment of infotainment in the RS Q8 is Audi’s MMI Touch Reaction system that is simply just stellar. The dual-touchscreen setup has an eight.6-inch display on the base for local climate purpose controls and a ten.one-inch display up best for issues like the rockin’ 17-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio setup, navigation with Google Maps imagery, cell phone capabilities and a Wi-Fi hotspot. It is all intuitive to work by way of, providing speedy responses to inputs and haptic feedback to enable you know a command has been entered. The clean up centre console layout is void of a lot of really hard controls, but it does retain a traditional volume knob, which is a quite fantastic detail.

On the driver-help know-how front, all RS Q8s get normal ahead-collision warning with automatic crisis braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross targeted visitors warn, a 360-degree camera and car higher beams. A $one,750 Driver Guidance Package deal adds a couple more tricks to this Audi’s arsenal like a fantastic adaptive cruise manage system, lane-continue to keep help, targeted visitors indication recognition and a head-up display. 

The MMI Touch Reaction system is a Roadshow beloved.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

How I might spec it

This examination car is a very well-kitted-out RS Q8. It is received the aforementioned $nine,000 carbon ceramic brakes, $four,five hundred carbon fiber exterior bits, $2,950 black outside the house trim and bigger wheels, $one,750 Driver Guidance Package deal, $595 paint task and $four,800 worthy of of inside extras. On best of all that, it also has a $750 Towing Package deal enabling it to pull seven,seven-hundred lbs .. Incorporate in a $one,095 location demand and you get the not-so-unsubstantial $a hundred and forty,590 as-tested rate of this car.

For my perfect spec, I might spring for the $595 Daytona Grey paint task and the $3,250 Black Optic Package deal. On the inside of I need the massaging seats that are aspect of the $3,a hundred and fifty Luxurious package that also requires you to equip the $2,000 Govt Package deal that gets me smooth-shut doors, the head-up display and acoustic glass. This pushes my Audi to a cool $124,590, which is high priced, but unquestionably more palatable.

The 2021 Audi RS Q8 begins at $a hundred and fifteen,595, together with $one,095 for location.

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Radical household wagon

Of the swoopy midsize functionality SUVs obtainable these days, the Audi RS Q8 is a standout in a number of classes. I imagine exterior styling trumps the BMW X6 M, Mercedes-AMG GLE63 Coupe and the Porsche Cayenne Coupe. The Audi also gets my vote for cabin design and know-how more than the BMW, Mercedes and Porsche. It is not, even so, my winner in the functionality column the Cayenne Turbo Coupe is a little bit more involving from at the rear of the wheel.

In the stop, nevertheless, the RS Q8 my best select. It is a head-turner with a fantastic cabin, very best-in-class tech and presents all the house and ease and comfort a household must moderately need. That’s plenty of to outweigh the significantly less emotional travel experience, taking into consideration this car’s main purpose is to be every day-driven. But genuinely, none of these functionality SUV-coupes are undesirable, all providing sub-four-2nd -to-sixty-mph situations and physics-defying managing. Decide the a single you like very best, and if it is not the Audi, I will be listed here to remind you that yours doesn’t maintain the Nürburgring record.

Maria J. Danford

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