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Audi’s New RS Q8 Super-SUV

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We love fast cars, we love SUVs. Combine the two and you’ve got the most irresistible combination: high performance 4WD with the body of an SUV and the spirit of a supercar. Check out the AMG lineup of Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUVs and BMWs, both of which deliver insane levels of performance. For those who want even more, there’s the Lamborghini Urus, a wild SUV bull that goes wild (in a good way) at the slightest provocation. The trio mentioned above already deliver dizzying levels of fast SUV madness, and more was probably not needed. Someone forgot to tell Audi, however, who went ahead and raised the bar anyway. With the new RS Q8 super-SUV, they have not only pushed the limits of performance, they have practically shredded it. If the Urus is a wild bull, think of this Audi as the Matador. The RS Q8 is based on the regular Q8 that launched in India earlier this year, but with more – much, much more – of everything. To start with, there’s the 4.0-liter TFSI twin-turbo V8 engine, which produces 600 hp (just 60 hp compared to a Ferrari 488) and 800 Nm of torque. This V8, which is also used on the Lambo Urus, is magnificent. Slam the accelerator pedal on the RS Q8, and the V8 – running through an 8-speed “tiptronic” automatic transmission – pushes you from zero to 100 km / h in astonishing 3.8 seconds (remember, that leviathan weighs over 2300 kg).

With a noisy V8 under the hood just waiting to go berserk, Audi had to make sure that the other elements of the RS Q8 are able to keep things from going completely haywire. These “bits” include a quattro permanent all-wheel drive system, with a 40/60 power split between the front and rear wheels. Whenever the system senses a loss of grip, it can automatically send up to 70% of power to the front wheels and up to 85% to the rear, ensuring maximum traction and stability at all times. There is also an optional electromechanical anti-roll stabilization system (eAWS), which is integrated into the vehicle’s 48-volt electrical circuit; it uses an electric motor to control stabilizers on the front and rear axles to reduce body roll in tight turns at high speed.

The RS Q8 looks sharp – sharp cuts and creases define its aggressive bodywork, and there is always more than a hint of threat to its stance. It’s not quite as flamboyant as, say, the Lambo Urus, but with its XXL dimensions and massive 23-inch rims, the RS Q8 has an undeniable presence. This is the kind of SUV a young Ambani would drive. It’s a little garish, shameless, a little bit kitschy Bollywood. Certainly not for the faint-hearted, this one. We love the all-black treatment up front, which includes a large grille with the RS badge, a subtle air dam, and Matrix LED headlights that make a lively dance when you turn on the car. The side profile doesn’t offer much to set it apart as an RS, but you can’t miss the massive 23-inch wheels. Its sheer size gives the RS Q8 a dominant presence, while the rear light strip and LED taillights at the rear are sleek and ultra modern.

The interior of the RS Q8 seems very upgradeable; buyers won’t have to worry about interiors looking dated after a year or two, due to the way Audi has built things. The center console is finished in carbon fiber and includes a start / stop button, hidden cup holders, a bulky drive mode selector and two large touch screens to manage the air conditioning system and infotainment functions. These touch screens blend seamlessly into the glossy dashboard for a smooth and seamless user experience. However, two screens and no physical knobs or buttons can be a bit confusing for some pilots, especially those who are a bit technophobic. We also like Audi’s configurable virtual cockpit, which provides all the information you need inside the dashboard itself, mostly eliminating the need to look at the main touch screens. Thrills behind the wheel are the RS Q8’s main highlight, but at the same time it’s also a family SUV that will accommodate four adults in sumptuous comfort. Yes, you can squeeze in a fifth occupant in the rear as well, but the center-high transmission tunnel means the fifth seat (in the middle of the backseat) is best suited for children. With all the safety features built in (ABS, traction control, multiple airbags, you name it), the RS Q8 is also one of the safest SUVs on the market, which of course you would expect from Audi.

If you want a very, very fast SUV that is still practical enough for everyday use, the RS Q8 is hard to beat. At Rs 2.07 crore (ex-showroom), it’s not the most accessible, however. Shockingly enough, the prices of the RS Q8 start at the equivalent of Rs 84 lakh in the US which shows how much we pay in India for high end luxury cars. That being said, we doubt the price will be a constraint on the expected set of RS Q8 customers. Indeed, this Audi is all about conspicuous consumption. Fast, flashy and unafraid to flaunt its charms, this is one hell of a limitless SUV.

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