The sportiest Q: the new Audi RS Q8
The new Audi RS Q8 is the top model in the Q product line. It combines the power of an RS model with the elegance of a premium coupe and the flexibility of an SUV. The new Audi RS Q8 will arrive at dealerships in Germany and other European countries during the first quarter of 2020. Prices in Germany for the sporty SUV coupe start at €127,000 (SGD$191,326).
“For the first time in the 25-year history of Audi RS models, we are putting a large SUV coupe with the genes of a true high-performance sports car on the road,” said Oliver Hoffmann, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH. “With its biturbo V8 gasoline engine, the Audi RS Q8 is the prestigious spearhead of the RS model family.”
Maximum power and high efficiency: the engine
441 kW, 800 Nm of torque between 2,200 and 4,500 rpm – the 4.0-liter V8 in the new Audi RS Q8 delivers impressive RS performance. The turbocharged gasoline engine with direct injection accelerates the large SUV coupe from Audi Sport GmbH from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.8 seconds and to 200 km/h in 13.7 seconds. The 250 km/h top speed is electronically governed. With the optional dynamic package, top speed is 305 km/h.
Its 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8 ignition sequence gives the 4.0 TFSI a sportily voluminous sound. As is typical for the RS models, the dual exhaust system features an impressive oval tailpipe on each side. The driver can influence the engine’s sound via the Audi drive select system. The optional RS sport exhaust system with black tailpipe trims offers an even sportier sound.
The biturbo V8 in the new RS Q8 combines maximum performance and high efficiency. Its mild-hybrid system (MHEV) is based on a 48-volt main electrical system. The core of the MHEV is a belt alternator-starter connected to the crankshaft. During deceleration and braking, it can recover up to 12 kW of power and store it in the compact lithium-ion battery. If the driver takes their foot off the accelerator at a speed between 55 and 160 km/h, the drive management selects one of two solutions depending on the driving situation and the current setting of the Audi drive select dynamic handling system: The new RS Q8 recuperates or coasts for up to 40 seconds with the engine off. The belt alternator starter starts the engine within fractions of a second when the accelerator is actuated. MHEV technology allows for start/stop operation at a speed of up to 22 km/h. The mild-hybrid system is connected to the camera sensors for even greater efficiency. When stopped, the engine starts up while the brake pedal is still depressed as soon as the front camera detects that the vehicle in front of the new RS Q8 begins to move.
The interplay of the MHEV components improves ride comfort and also has the potential to reduce fuel consumption in everyday driving by as much as 0.8 liters per 100 kilometers.
Another efficiency module on board is the cylinder on demand (COD) system. At low to intermediate load and rpm in the upper gears, it deactivates cylinders 2, 3, 5 and 8 by switching off fuel injection and ignition and closing the intake and exhaust valves. The switching process takes just milliseconds, and is virtually imperceptible in the car. During four-cylinder operation, the operating points of the active cylinders shift to higher loads and map points with high efficiency, while the deactivated cylinders run largely loss-free as gas springs. They are reactivated immediately when the driver presses the accelerator.
The power of the 4.0 TFSI flows to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system via the standard eight-speed tiptronic. Configured as a planetary gear, the purely mechanical center differential typically distributes the drive power in a 40:60 ratio to the front and rear axles. In the event of slip, more drive torque automatically goes to the axle with the better traction. Up to 70 percent can be directed to the front wheels and up to 85 percent to the rear wheels.
Wheel-selective torque control perfects the safe and agile handling of the new RS Q8. During dynamic cornering, the optional quattro sport differential distributes drive torque between the rear wheels as required. This active torque vectoring improves traction, stability and dynamics.
Ready for anything: the suspension
The five-link construction at the front and rear axles handle longitudinal and lateral forces separately. The linkages and the subframes are made largely of aluminum. The SUV coupe has a track of 1,692 millimeters up front and 1,696 millimeters at the rear.
The standard adaptive air suspension sport with controlled damping means the new RS Q8 is equally at home on the racetrack or an offroad trail. Its RS-specific damper tuning allows for a particularly broad spread between a setup biased toward comfort and an extremely sporty setup. Depending on driving situation and the driver’s wishes, the body’s ride height varies by up to 90 millimeters.
The optional electromechanical active roll stabilization (EAWS) minimize body roll during fast cornering. There is a compact electric motor between the two halves of the stabilizer on each of the two axles. When driving straight ahead, the two halves of the stabilizer are decoupled, which reduces body movement on uneven roads and also increases ride comfort. During cornering, however, the focus is on optimum roll compensation. The halves of the stabilizer are twisted in opposite directions, which significantly reduces vehicle lean while cornering. The electromechanical active roll stabilization is integrated in the 48-volt main electrical system and serves as a recuperating system. It can even recover power via the electric motors and thereby feed electrical energy back to the battery.
With the optional dynamic package plus with the electronically governed top speed of 305 km/h, customers also get a chassis designed for maximum sportiness. This includes electromechanical active roll stabilization, the quattro sport differential and the RS ceramic brake system.
The standard all-wheel steering moves the rear wheels via a high-torque electric spindle drive and two track rods. At low speeds, the rear wheels turn up to 5 degrees opposite the direction of the front wheels for greater agility. At high speeds, they turn up to 1.5 degrees in the same direction as the front wheels to improve stability during fast lane changes.
With variable ground clearance, short overhangs, quattro permanent all-wheel drive and hill descent control, the new Audi RS Q8 can carry on calmly and confidently when paved roads end.
The driver can precisely influence the character of the RS Q8 via the Audi drive select dynamic handling system. There are eight profiles from which to choose: comfort, auto, dynamic, efficiency, all road, offroad and the individually configurable RS-specific modes RS1 and RS2, which can be activated directly via the “RS-MODE” button on the steering wheel. Audi drive select affects such things as engine and transmission management, steering boost, the air suspension, all-wheel steering, engine sound and the characteristic of the automatic air conditioning.
The new RS Q8 comes standard with 22-inch aluminum wheels in a 10-spoke star design with 295/40-series tires – the largest ever factory-installed on an Audi production model. Optional 23-inch cast aluminum wheels in a 5 Y-spoke rotor design and a variety of colors are available exclusively for the RS Q8. Behind the large wheels is an RS brake system with internally vented composite disks (420 millimeters up front, 370 millimeters at the rear). Their 10-inch piston calipers are painted black as standard, but are available in red as an option. The calipers of the optional RS ceramic brakes are available in gray, red or blue and measure 440 millimeters up front and 370 millimeters at the rear.
Self-confident: the exterior
With its imposing octagonal Singleframe, the RS-specific radiator grille in high gloss black and the gloss black RS honeycomb grille, the new Audi RS Q8 sports a strikingly self-confident face. This combined with the solid side air inlets and the blade in high gloss black perfectly highlights the athletic character of the large SUV coupe from Audi Sport GmbH.
The sloping roofline flows into the forward-canted D-pillars and rests against the quattro blisters above the wheel arches. RS-specific trim strips in the body color widen the body by 10 millimeters up front and 5 millimeters in the rear, providing space for the more generous track. Optional 23-inch wheels underscore the powerful appearance of the RS Q8. The continuous RS sills come standard in Manhattan gray, which makes the body appear even more athletic. An RS roof edge spoiler provides a striking finish at the top; design highlights closer to the road are the RS-specific rear skirt with a diffuser clip in high gloss black and the RS-typical oval tailpipes. The RS roof edge spoiler provides downforce on the rear axle for even balance at high speeds.
The new Audi RS Q8 is available in a choice of nine colors: one solid paint finish and eight metallic or pearl effect shades. The exterior mirror housings come standard in black, with body color, aluminum or carbon available as options. The aluminum and carbon styling packages set precise accents at the radiator grille, blades, diffuser clip and rear light strip (carbon only). In combination with the styling packages black and carbon, the Audi rings and RS logos at the front and rear are optionally available in black. The Audi exclusive program offers numerous additional customization options.
Customers can choose between two different LED headlight configurations. The optionally tinted RS Matrix LED headlights have a three-dimensional daytime running lights signature with a digital character, similar to the LED tail lights. A light strip backed by a high-gloss black surface joins the rear lights, further emphasizing the wide stance. The RS Matrix LED headlights and the rear lights include dynamic turn signals and are showcased by an expressive RS-specific animation when the car is locked or unlocked.
Spacious sportiness: the interior
The interior of the new RS Q8 features a deliberately clean design. All elements beneath the black cloth headlining have a logical connection and harmonize with one another. The headlining is optionally available in lunar silver cloth, Alcantara lunar silver or Alcantara black. The slim instrument panel and the strongly horizontal lines convey a feeling of spaciousness. The central element in the cockpit is the top MMI touch response display. With its black-panel look, it almost dissolves into a large, black surface when switched off.
Another primary design element is the wide, symmetrical console of the center tunnel. Framing it are design elements in Aluminum Race, anthracite, which underscore the sporty character of the large SUV coupe.
Special RS displays in the Audi virtual cockpit and MMI display provide information on such things as tire pressure, torque, output, temperature, lap times and g-forces. The shift light display prompts the driver to upshift when the rev limit is reached. The optional head-up display also offers several RS-specific graphics.
The sport seats in black pearl Nappa leather/Alcantara with RS embossing fit perfectly into the athletic ambiance of the large SUV coupe. An even more luxurious option are the RS sport seats in Valcona leather with a honeycomb pattern and RS embossing. In addition to a massage function, the RS sport seats are perforated to also provide ventilation.
They come standard in black, with options for cognac and granite gray. The two RS design packages include red or gray contrasting stitching on the knee pads, steering wheel rim, floor mats, selector lever and the edges of the seat belts. With both packages, the center console, selector lever and steering wheel are covered in Alcantara. Additional choices include inlays in carbon matt, gray oak or Aluminum Spectrum. The extended leather package also includes the upper door panels and takes the ambiance even further upscale.
There is an RS logo on the steering wheel. The illuminated front door sill trims sport an RS Q8 logo. The fully perforated RS sport leather steering wheel flattened at the bottom with shift paddles also includes multifunction buttons. The driver can directly select the new Audi drive select modes RS1 and RS2 via the RS-Mode button. RS-specific displays then open automatically in the Audi virtual cockpit.
The RS Q8 also demonstrates its uncompromised everyday usability in the rear. A sliding three-seat rear bench is standard. With the seat backrests folded down, the luggage compartment under the power rear hatch holds up to 1,755 liters.
Connected for safety: the assist systems and infotainment
The new Audi RS Q8 supports the driver in many situations. The comprehensive range of over 30 assist systems includes such things as the adaptive cruise assist, efficiency assist, intersection assist, lane change warning and 360 degree cameras.
On the German market, the RS Q8 comes standard with the top-of-the-line infotainment system, MMI navigation plus. It includes the Audi connect data transfer module with the LTE Advanced standard and a Wi-Fi hotspot. The navigation system learns the driver’s preferences from the routes driven and can therefore make intelligent suggestions. The online services from Audi connect add predictive features to the route planning process.
The new RS Q8 will arrive at dealerships in Germany and other European countries during the first quarter of 2020. The price list for the high-performance SUV coupe starts at €127,000 (SGD$191,326).