With just shy of R2,5-million to spare you could be behind the wheel of Audi’s new RS Q8 powered by a turbo-charged V8 mill with 441 kW and 800 Nm racing from 0-100 km/h in around 3,8 seconds.
For the first time in the history of Audi RS models, Audi is offering a large SUV coupé with the genes of a true high-performance sports car on the road. With its biturbo V8 petrol engine, the Audi RS Q8 is the prestigious spearhead of the Audi RS model family and will officially go on sale in South Africa from April 1.
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 km/h 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 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 l/100 kilometres.
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 centre 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% can be directed to the front wheels and up to 85% to the rear wheels.
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 aluminium. The SUV coupé has a track of 1 692 millimetres up front and 1 696 millimetres at the rear.
The standard adaptive air suspension sport with controlled damping means the new RS Q8 is equally at home on the race track 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 millimetres.
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 and there are eight profiles from which to choose: comfort, auto, dynamic, efficiency, allroad, 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.
The new RS Q8 comes standard with 23-inch aluminium wheels in a 5 Y-spoke rotor design with 295/35-series tyres. Behind the large wheels is an RS brake system with internally vented composite disks (420 millimetres) up front, 370 millimetres at the rear.
The comprehensive range of standard assist systems includes such things as the adaptive cruise assist, efficiency assist, intersection assist, lane change warning including pre-sense rear, exit warning system and rear cross traffic assist and 360 degree cameras, head-up display also comes standard.