Audi South Africa has upped the ante by introducing its most powerful SUV coupe in South Africa. The RS Q8 is the jewel in the crown of the Q lineup, combining raw, turbocharged power with everyday comfort and versatility, all wrapped up in a sleek and sexy package.
How powerful, you ask? The 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine is boosted by two turbochargers and produces a mind-melting 441kW of power and 800Nm of unrestricted torque. The hefty SUV rockets from 0-100km/h in under four seconds, with a limited top speed of 250km/h, optionally increased to 280km/h.
As with the standard Q8 models, the RS Q8 features a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that reduces the load on the engine, bringing fuel consumption down by as much as 0.8 litres per 100km. A cylinder-on-demand system is also able to deactivate individual engine cylinders under certain conditions, and Audi claims that reactivation is virtually seamless.
The RS Q8 is fitted with Audi’s enduring quattro all-wheel-drive system with a standard power split of 60:40. Between the rear and front axles. This ratio is automatically adjusted when the vehicle senses a loss of traction at any of the four wheels.
Speaking of four wheels, the RS Q8 also carries over the Q8’s four-wheel steering, whereby an advanced electronic system can turn the rear wheels up to 5 degrees. The end result is increased manoeuvrability at low speeds and exceptional stability at high speeds.
Although most owners will tend to avoid anything but tar roads, an adjustable air suspension and hill descent control make the RS Q8 a capable gravel traveller. The Audi drive select system includes ‘allroad’ and ‘offroad’ modes, but the car will spend most of its life locked into ‘RS-MODE’, a model-specific, user-configurable performance setting.
Outside, the RS Q8’s most striking features are its imposing 23-inch, 5-spoke wheels and bright red brake calipers. It also boasts an RS-specific honeycomb grille, massive oval tailpipes, and monobrow-like HD Matrix LED taillights. As usual with modern Audis, the taillights feature dynamic animations that create quite a spectacle at night.
Inside, a minimal design is complimented by Audi’s super MMI infotainment system, featuring touch controls for both media and climate control. Valcona leather seats with RS styling and an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel complete the sleek look, with Nappa leather trims on the armrests and upper instrument panel.
Despite the sloping, coupe-like rear end, the RS Q8 still has up to 1 755 litres of luggage space, made even more convenient with the addition of a powered tailgate. There are only five seats as opposed to seven in the Q7, but that’s part of the sporty appeal of the Q8 and RS Q8.
As you’d expect from a vehicle of this calibre, safety is top-notch. Standard safety features include adaptive cruise control, lane change warning, rear cross traffic assist, and superb 360-degree cameras. The driver also benefits from a digital head-up display, ensuring eye contact with the road is always maximised.
Audi has included an emergency button on the roof module to call for assistance in the event of an accident or breakdown, via the Car2X service.
The RS Q8’s pricing is the only genuine issue that the car has. Optional extras will easily skyrocket the price to a point precariously close to R3 000 000 - that’s a heck of a lot for any SUV, even a high-performance Audi.
|Audi RS Q8 TFSI quattro||R2 354 500|
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