Home / Home / Audi RS Q8 Road Test Review – Audi’s Monster RS

 

I admit I was a little sceptical. The claimed 10.8 km/l figure seemed as far-fetched as its claimed 3.8-second dash from zero to 100 km/h. Will a ready-to-travel Audi RS Q8, with a 90-litre tank almost full, two passengers, and loads of baggage, manage those figures on a hot day? That was what was in my mind as I set out; those four RS exhaust pipes blaring a throaty song of combustion. And it was in “comfort” mode then.

Inside, I immediately switched to “efficiency” and watched my foot. And its reactions to a little feather and then a prod. It feels nice, I have to say. There is a fine balance of subtle touches and out-there elements, of relaxed refinement and terrifying acceleration, and of generous proportions and physics-defying handling; subject to the mode selected, the amount of pressure on the right pedal, and lock on the shapely RS steering wheel.

Audi RS Q8 review

It trundles forward with ease, a chunk of torque making short work of the 2.5 tonnes it must haul off. The all-wheel steering makes for tighter turns. The efficiency in the city was initially showing less than four kilometres to the litre but, with the efficiency mode and 48-volt start/stop starter/alternator working their magic in traffic, I managed to get it up to 4.5 km/l. The WLTP overall is bang-on at 5.4 km/l. I couldn’t do better. Perhaps, on a cooler day. But that’s not what it’s about.

Up to “comfort” mode and the clenched teeth and grimace relax. The ride is sublime, thanks to the five-level adaptive air suspension, even with those standard 23-inch wheels; like an extra-large pizza they sell by the slice. The 295-section tyres are fine, but the 35-profile is what lets the occasional thud in. I’d be more than content with 275/50 20s, too, especially considering the road conditions and the fact that this is supposed to be a coupé SUV; which also meant I’d show it some rough stuff unlike some buyers with dollar signs in their name that slow down to 10 km/h for speed-humps while the spinny things continue twirling at 35. But, before that, the RS models don’t exactly have green on their mind and are more focused on blurring whatever green is around them.

Audi RS Q8 review

In “dynamic” mode, the Audi RS Q8 firms up and drops to the lowest ride height. Relaxed turns to clenched fists. Dials glow red. Revs rise. The exhaust gets the butterflies out of its stomach. It’s ready to pounce. Lift off the brake and nail the throttle and the RS Q8 sprints from stationary to 100 km/h in 5.7 seconds. That’s off the claimed time by almost two seconds. Then I notice the little “RS” button ― without its traditional red band highlight ― inconspicuously nestled on the right spoke of the steering wheel amidst the voice control buttons. I push it.

The Virtual Cockpit display goes from dial to fill-up bar, raring to be pushed. A little warning about tracks showed up, too; I was nowhere near a rail-road. Revs burble as I get set to prod the right pedal again, the RS Q8 waiting to go. Boom! Pressed into the seat-back. First shift at 60 km/h seemingly, then another somewhere in the blur between 80 and 90. The 100 mark came up far quicker. The 420-mm RS steel brakes, with Urus-like 10-pot calipers, in red, make for incredible stopping power. It can shed speed just as quickly as it gains it.

Audi RS Q8 review

The Audi RS Q8 is a bulky monster, make no mistake. It feels just as planted in a straight line as it does attacking corners. It’s like participating in the derby with an elephant. You’re sitting higher than the others on horses, but keeping up with them, even leaving some of them behind. Yet, there’s no tell other than the spacious expanse of what you’re in control of. The bulk is evident. But it doesn’t matter.

Lastly, the “offroad” mode sets the air springs up high and makes tackling difficult terrain less sweat-inducing on the brow. It’s not an off-roader by any stretch of the imagination but it can handle its fair share of dirt, countryside, and bad roads. It’s comfortable and the lower centre of gravity means it doesn’t wallow around like some more off-roady luxury offerings.

Audi RS Q8 review

The interior, as stated, is spacious and there’s plenty of room to stretch out and relax when not gunning it to annihilate distances. It’s just a five-seater but the coupé roof isn’t a bother; not that it’s very evident. There’s a lot that’s on offer. The big panoramic sunroof, the air quality pack, and four-zone climate control are standard. Premium sound, from the music system and the RS sports exhaust system, is also ever-present.

Audi RS Q8 review

I did not expect to like the Audi RS Q8 as much as I did. Within the family, there’s the Porsche Cayenne Coupé Turbo with 50 less horsepower for Rs 10 lakh less or a Bentley Bentayga with the same engine and a lot of fluff for about twice the price. The 575-hp Range Rover Sport SVR will be here soon, but will cost a lot more. The 600-hp BMW X6 M isn’t here. Nor is the manic 612-hp AMG GLE 63 S. So, the options in this space are limited. The options for the RS Q8, meanwhile, also include the RS dynamic package plus that raises top speed from 250 to 305 km/h. If you know where those speeds are possible, apart from a runway, give us a call. RS carbon-ceramic 440-mm discs are also optional; much needed if you decide to go plus.

The Audi RS Q8 offers a good sport-luxury mix with a heady blend of performance and refinement. It’s not too much, yet it can stand toe-to-toe with some seriously big names. It’s expensive, but it can perform multiple roles with ease so long as the terrain is somewhat of a beaten path. Yes, it caters to a tiny niche but works everywhere. Who would choose it? I can’t say. But it sure did turn a lot of heads along the way.


Need to Know – Audi RS Q8

Price: Rs 2.07 crore (ex-showroom)

Engine: 3,996 cc, twin-turbo, V8, petrol, direct-injection
Max Power: 600 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Max Torque: 800 Nm @ 2,200-4,500 rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed, automatic, all-wheel drive
Suspension: Multi-link front/rear with air springs and adaptive damping
Weight: 2,315 kg

Performance (claimed):
Power:weight: 259.18 hp/tonne
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 3.8 seconds
Top speed: 250 km/h (305 km/h with RS dynamic package plus)
Fuel efficiency (km/l): 4.5 city, 7.5 highway, 5.25 overall


 

 

About the author: Jim Gorde

 

Automotive Correspondent at Car India and Bike India.
Believes that learning never stops.,and that diesel plug-in hybrids are the only feasible future.
t: @CarIndia/@BikeIndia
IG: @carindia_mag/@bikeindia

 

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