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

Nancy J. Delong

Jon Wong/Roadshow Superior-effectiveness SUVs with coupe-like rooflines are absolutely a fully fledged class of their individual, with the BMW X6 M Opposition, Mercedes-AMG GLE63 and Porsche Cayenne Turbo offered nowadays. All boast a sprint of additional fashion in excess of ordinarily formed SUVs, not to point out heaps of ability […]


Jon Wong/Roadshow

Superior-effectiveness SUVs with coupe-like rooflines are absolutely a fully fledged class of their individual, with the BMW X6 M Opposition, Mercedes-AMG GLE63 and Porsche Cayenne Turbo offered nowadays. All boast a sprint of additional fashion in excess of ordinarily formed SUVs, not to point out heaps of ability and punched-up handling abilities. The newcomer in this class is the Audi RS Q8, a effectiveness CUV so nicely-honed it now retains the output SUV lap record of 7 minutes, 42.2 seconds all over Germany’s Nürburgring. 


  • Significant effectiveness and every day convenience
  • Smooth appears to be within and out
  • Excellent cabin tech

Never Like

  • Lacks drama
  • Mild steering
  • Can get serious dear quick

Reduced-important performer

What does the Audi’s Nürburgring lap record mean? To motor vehicle dorks it indicates bragging rights. For all people else, not considerably. But this primary tale of the tape is one thing people today of all automotive know-how bases will very likely fully grasp. 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-ft of torque with the latter owning your again from 2,two hundred to four,five hundred rpm. 

Channeling ability to all of the RS Q8’s wheels is an eight-pace computerized transmission, permitting this SUV to attain sixty mph in just three.7 seconds, on its way to a prime pace of a hundred ninety mph. (Notice: This prime pace is only unlocked if you spring for the upgraded carbon ceramic brakes.) All matters regarded, all those 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 surprisingly will not behave like an indignant, hyperactive brute. From a dig, the RS Q8 will not launch with mad gusto. In its place, it efficiently receives out of the gap, pulls powerful to the engine’s 6,750-rpm redline and rattles off seamless, nicely-timed equipment modifications. If you usually are not paying near attention, it truly is quick to get nicely earlier posted pace boundaries on surface area streets, many thanks to the progressive throttle tuning and lower gurgle from the exhaust. You get civilized aggression from the powertrain. The RS Q8 is by no means loud, shouty or severe when likely about its business, though I wish it were being a little bit a lot more raw and loud in Dynamic mode.

Continuing the clean concept, technological bits like a forty eight-volt gentle-hybrid method and cylinder deactivation go unnoticed. There is no wonkiness in the brake pedal and you’d be tough pressed to explain to when the V8 is functioning on some or all of its cylinders. These endeavours lead to EPA-estimated thirteen mpg metropolis and 19 mpg freeway rankings, putting the RS Q8 on par with the relaxation of its competitive established. I observed thirteen.1 mpg in the course of a 7 days of screening.

Dialed-up dynamics

From a effectiveness standpoint, the RS Q8’s handling chops are its most amazing attribute. To enable this 5,490-pounder hustler more challenging it truly is bought a rear-biased all-wheel-travel method, torque-vectoring rear differential, air suspension, all-wheel steering, energetic anti-roll bars and upgraded 23-inch Y-spoke wheels with 295/35 collection tires (22-inchers occur normal).

A greater handling IQ arrives courtesy in element from some massive 23-inch Continental tires.

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Set the Audi Drive Select method into its Dynamic location and the RS Q8 hunkers down and hangs on limited all over cloverleaf on-ramps. Credit history the tires’ significant ol’ make contact with patches and all the effectiveness features’ technological wizardry for all the grip and composure this crossover displays when pushed tough. Having the RS Q8 sloppy on the street requires caning it way more challenging than you responsibly really should. 

Instilling even a lot more self esteem at the rear of the wheel are the aforementioned carbon ceramic brakes. The $nine,000 possibility indicates there are 10-piston calipers clamping down on monstrous 17.three-inch rotors up entrance and however-darn-significant fourteen.6-inch rotors with single-piston calipers all over again. Like everything else, urgent down on the still left pedal will not produce mad first chunk, permitting for clean brake apps. A tiny a lot more tension unlocks the significant stopping muscle mass when you want to go deeper into brake zones or conduct panic stops.

In regular Audi manner, lightly weighted steering is a sticking point in Dynamic. I desire owning a touch a lot more heft in the wheel, but I have no grievances about the steering’s responses. That is not to say there usually are not occasions when the mild steering is helpful — when you place the motor vehicle in Consolation mode for regular commuting, for instance. Talking of commuting, the RS Q8 does fantastic here, with the adaptive dampers taking the edge off all but the major roadway hazards. In addition to the terrific grip they supply, the significant Continental tires have earned kudos for their lack of sounds rolling down the highway. 

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

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RS fashion and tech

This RS Q8 painted Daytona Grey Pearl with its added optional styling goodies is unquestionably a looker. The modifications to the RS in excess of normal Q8 designs usually are not tremendous drastic, with a lot more aggressive bumpers, honeycomb grille inserts, oval exhaust guidelines and slicker wheels. Incorporate in a generous carbon fiber eating plan on the entrance lip, grille surround, mirror caps, tailgate trim and rear bumper valance, and blacked-out details sprinkled about give the RS Q8 a lower-important, but however sinister vibe.

Head within the RS Q8 and the design is simplistic with a lot of straight traces. The entrance seats offer you a lot of assist to keep riders in spot with RS honeycomb accent stitching on the inserts. These chairs offer you a therapeutic massage function with seven distinctive kneading styles that I appreciate.

Make excellent in this Audi is initially-price with a lot of higher-end materials placed during the cabin, like Alcantara on the headliner and doorway panels, matte carbon fiber sprint trim and leather-based-wrapped and stitched surfaces for most of the significant panels. If you might be nervous about the quicker roofline reducing into next-row headroom, never be, for the reason that there’s however sufficient area for regular adults. Cargo place also isn’t way too shabby with a healthier 30.5 cubic ft on offer you that grows to sixty.7 cubic ft with the again seats folded.

A easy design and superb build excellent emphasize the RS Q8’s interior.

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Using treatment of infotainment in the RS Q8 is Audi’s MMI Touch Reaction method that is basically stellar. The dual-touchscreen set up has an 8.6-inch screen on the bottom for local climate function controls and a 10.1-inch screen up prime for matters like the rockin’ 17-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio set up, navigation with Google Maps imagery, cellular phone features and a Wi-Fi hotspot. It really is all intuitive to work via, presenting brief responses to inputs and haptic feed-back to let you know a command has been entered. The cleanse middle console layout is void of a lot of tough controls, but it does keep a classic quantity knob, which is a incredibly fantastic issue.

On the driver-assist technology entrance, all RS Q8s get normal forward-collision warning with computerized emergency braking, blind-place checking, rear-cross targeted visitors warn, a 360-diploma digicam and auto higher beams. A $1,750 Driver Aid Deal adds a few a lot more methods to this Audi’s arsenal like a terrific adaptive cruise control method, lane-retain assist, targeted visitors sign recognition and a head-up screen. 

The MMI Touch Reaction method is a Roadshow favorite.

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How I would spec it

This take a look at motor vehicle is a nicely-kitted-out RS Q8. It really is bought the aforementioned $nine,000 carbon ceramic brakes, $four,five hundred carbon fiber exterior bits, $2,950 black outside trim and greater wheels, $1,750 Driver Aid Deal, $595 paint occupation and $four,800 worthy of of interior extras. On prime of all that, it also has a $750 Towing Deal enabling it to pull 7,seven hundred lbs. Incorporate in a $1,095 place demand and you get the not-so-unsubstantial $one hundred forty,590 as-examined value of this motor vehicle.

For my best spec, I would spring for the $595 Daytona Grey paint occupation and the $three,250 Black Optic Deal. On the within I need to have the massaging seats that are element of the $three,one hundred fifty Luxury offer that also requires you to equip the $2,000 Govt Deal that receives me soft-near doorways, the head-up screen and acoustic glass. This pushes my Audi to a amazing $124,590, which is pricey, but unquestionably a lot more palatable.

The 2021 Audi RS Q8 starts at $one hundred fifteen,595, such as $1,095 for place.

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Radical spouse and children wagon

Of the swoopy midsize effectiveness SUVs offered nowadays, the Audi RS Q8 is a standout in several categories. I think exterior styling trumps the BMW X6 M, Mercedes-AMG GLE63 Coupe and the Porsche Cayenne Coupe. The Audi also receives my vote for cabin design and technology in excess of the BMW, Mercedes and Porsche. It isn’t, nevertheless, my winner in the effectiveness column the Cayenne Turbo Coupe is a little bit a lot more involving from at the rear of the wheel.

In the end, though, the RS Q8 my prime decide. It really is a head-turner with a terrific cabin, very best-in-class tech and provides all the area and convenience a spouse and children really should reasonably need to have. That is sufficient to outweigh the a lot less psychological travel experience, contemplating this car’s main purpose is to be every day-pushed. But definitely, none of these effectiveness SUV-coupes are terrible, all presenting sub-four-next -to-sixty-mph occasions and physics-defying handling. Select the just one you like very best, and if it isn’t the Audi, I’ll be here to remind you that yours will not keep the Nürburgring record.

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