The most powerful SUV Coupe from Audi has touched down in South Africa, while that opening line may have been copied straight from the press release, its no word of lie and boy is this thing something. The Audi RS Q8 is a beast of an SUV, its blistering fast, so much so it's holds the fastest time around the holy grail of race tracks the Nurburgring lapping it at 7 minutes, 42.253 seconds. That is faster than a Renault Megane Trophy R which I had on test last year and thought it was ballistic! Powered by a 4.0L V8 engine with mild hybrid tech, punching out 441kW and 800Nm, it punishes the tarmac wherever it goes. The turbocharged petrol engine has direct injection which propels the massive SUV from a stand still to 100km/h in just 3.8 seconds, then pushes on to 200km/h in 13.7 seconds. The RS Q8 tops out at 250km/h which is the electronically governed limit but can be extended to 280km/h should you want at an extra cost.
For me, personally the Q8 is the most visually pleasing SUV Coupes on the market, while it shares many similarities to the Lamborghini Urus, for me this car just does more at a less price. Being an RS model, it comes kitted out in the complete sports trimmings from the dual exhaust system with oval tailpipes on each side, to the lowered body and extended skirts and bumpers with large air-intakes, not forgetting the huge 23-inch aluminum 5 Y-spoke wheels which shield the massive brake discs. The car is unmistakably sporty, and if you see one coming up in your rearview mirror, chances are it will be there and gone before you can move into the next lane. It's imposing and brash, which makes it more better to love. With Audi's theatric light display on lock and unlocking the car, it provides entertainment while its standing still too.
With all-wheel drive and an 8-speed tiptronic gearbox, coupled with a pure mechanical center differential, ensures power delivery in a 40:60 ratio to the front and rear axles, provides the necessary power to drive the RS Q8 at the limits. It has five-link construction at the front and rear axels which handle longitudinal and lateral forces separately. The linkages and the sub frames are made largely of aluminum. The optimal electromechanical active roll stabilization EAWS minimizes body roll during fast cornering. This gives the driver the confidence and ability to tackle bends are higher speeds while exiting. It's one thing having the power to do these things but when the car doesn't make you feel comfortable doing it, it automatically deters the driver, but you will have no such worries with the RS Q8.
The Audi RS Q8 launches this week along with a whole range of other performance models such as the RS6, RS7, TT RS and not forgetting the R8 and R8 Spyder. We were meant to go sample these beauties in Sandton today but alas, it wasn't in the stars but hopefully they will make their way to the shores of KZN where we can put them through their paces on the coast. The RS Q8 is available from 1 April and is priced at R2,354,500 and comes standard with a five year Audi Freeway Plan.