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- Highs Blindingly quick yet quiet and smooth, Lamborghini performance for a lot less.
- Lows Exhaust note could be more exciting, the RS6 Avant wagon also exists.
- Verdict The RS Q8 is exactly as fast, luxurious, and ridiculous as you’d expect a 591-horsepower SUV with a six-figure price tag to be.
Audi reserves the RS badge for its highest-performance vehicles, and the RS Q8 is the ultimate version of its top SUV model, the Q8. While it has a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine like the lesser SQ8, the RS Q8 differentiates itself with a whopping 591 horsepower and an aggressive appearance that gives it lots of presence on the road. Performance is blistering and nearly as impressive as the RS Q8’s significantly more expensive sibling, the Lamborghini Urus, with which it shares many components under the skin. The interior features the same tech-forward layout as other Q8 models; ritzy materials such as supple leather and faux suede abound. With a price well above $100,000, the RS Q8 isn’t cheap but as a luxury-performance SUV that does it all, it lives up to its heady cost.
Where This Vehicle Ranks
What's New for 2023?
Minor changes for 2023 include newly standard electrically-powered sunshades for the rear windows and more Nappa leather for the interior. A park-assist system is now included in the optional Executive package.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The RS Q8 comes with a six-figure price tag, but its performance, styling, and feature content are worth the investment—if you value white-hot SUVs, of course. All RS Q8 models come with a standard adaptive air suspension system, 22-inch wheels, heated and cooled front seats, and a 17-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo system.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The RS Q8 has a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 engine that produces 591 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque compared with the SQ8’s 500 horses and 568 pound-feet. The RSQ8’s engine pairs with Quattro all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission, and there's also a 48-volt hybrid system working behind-the-scenes to improve fuel efficiency. In November 2019, Audi set a record at the Nürburgring race course with a camouflaged prototype of the RS Q8. When we tested the RS Q8, it blasted to 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds, only 0.1 second behind the far more expensive Urus.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
EPA fuel-economy estimates for the RS Q8 are a dismal 13 mpg city and 19 mpg highway. That's the price you pay for the RS Q8's epic performance. The RS Q8 did overachieve in our real-world 75-mph highway fuel economy test, though, with a 23 mpg result. For more information about the RS Q8's fuel economy, visit the EPA's website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The RS Q8's five-seat cabin is mostly the same as the Q8's, although it has some special trim pieces and sportier, more aggressively bolstered front seats to hold you in place while cornering. There are also RS logos sprinkled throughout. Passenger and cargo space carries over unchanged from the regular Q8 model, which means plenty of legroom and headroom for adults in both rows of seats. In our testing, the Q8 held eight carry-on suitcases behind its rear seat and 23 in total with the rear seat folded.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The Audi Virtual Cockpit digital gauge cluster and dual-touchscreen MMI interface have certain RS-specific displays that can show information such as torque and power output, lap times, and g-forces. Other than that, we expect the same technology offered in the Q8, including standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, navigation, and SiriusXM satellite radio.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Audi offers several driver-assistance systems on the RS Q8 as standard, including adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist. For more information about the RS Q8's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
- Standard adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Audi offers an average standard warranty that, when compared with other premium brands, looks pretty basic. Jaguar offers more value here, with longer warranties and five years of complimentary scheduled maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2020 Audi RS Q8
Vehicle Type: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon
Base/As Tested: $113,995/$138,340
Options: carbon-ceramic brake system, $9000; Carbon Optic package (carbon grille, mirror housings, bumper inlays), $4500; Black Optic package (23-inch wheels with summer tires, sport exhaust), $2950; Luxury package (front massaging seats, rear sunshades, microsuede headliner), $2800; Executive package (dual-pane glass, head-up display, heated rear seats, soft-close doors), $2000; Driver Assistance package (adaptive cruise control, traffic-jam assist, lane-departure warning), $1750; Towing package, $750; Daytona Gray paint, $595; rear side airbag delete, -$350
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 244 in3, 3996 cm3
Power: 591 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 590 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm
Suspension, F/R: multilink/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 17.3-in vented, cross-drilled, carbon-ceramic disc/14.6-in vented, cross-drilled, carbon-ceramic disc
Tires: Continental SportContact 6
295/35R-23 (108Y) Extra Load A0
Wheelbase: 117.9 in
Length: 197.3 in
Width: 78.7 in
Height: 66.7 in
Passenger Volume: 105 ft3
Cargo Volume: 31 ft3
Curb Weight: 5503 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 3.2 sec
100 mph: 8.1 sec
1/4-Mile: 11.6 sec @ 119 mph
130 mph: 14.4 sec
150 mph: 21.3 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.2 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 4.8 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 2.8 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 3.2 sec
Top Speed (mfr's claim): 190 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 158 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 315 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.98 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 18 mpg
75-mph Highway Driving: 23 mpg
Highway Range: 510 mi
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 15/13/19 mpg