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


Jon Wong/Roadshow

Higher-efficiency SUVs with coupe-like rooflines are surely a entirely fledged course of their possess, with the BMW X6 M Levels of competition, Mercedes-AMG GLE63 and Porsche Cayenne Turbo offered these days. All boast a sprint of added design and style about customarily formed SUVs, not to point out heaps of power and punched-up handling capabilities. The newcomer in this course is the Audi RS Q8, a efficiency CUV so perfectly-honed it now holds the output SUV lap report of seven minutes, forty two.two seconds all over Germany’s Nürburgring. 


  • Significant efficiency and everyday ease and comfort
  • Modern seems to be inside of and out
  • Outstanding cabin tech

Don’t Like

  • Lacks drama
  • Light-weight steering
  • Can get authentic expensive quickly

Decrease-essential performer

What does the Audi’s Nürburgring lap report necessarily mean? To vehicle dorks it indicates bragging rights. For every person else, not a great deal. But this standard tale of the tape is something men and women of all automotive information bases will very likely fully grasp. The heart and soul of this accomplishment is the RS Q8’s motor: a 4.-liter twin-turbocharged V8 shoving out 591 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque with the latter getting your again from two,two hundred to 4,500 rpm. 

Channeling power to all of the RS Q8’s wheels is an eight-pace automatic transmission, allowing for this SUV to achieve 60 mph in just 3.seven seconds, on its way to a leading pace of one hundred ninety mph. (Be aware: This leading pace is only unlocked if you spring for the upgraded carbon ceramic brakes.) All factors considered, all those are bonkers stats. But you know what? The BMW, Mercedes and Porsche all replicate that -to-60-mph time.

In the authentic world, the Audi’s drivetrain remarkably would not behave like an indignant, hyperactive brute. From a dig, the RS Q8 would not start with insane gusto. In its place, it efficiently receives out of the gap, pulls potent to the engine’s 6,750-rpm redline and rattles off seamless, perfectly-timed equipment adjustments. If you aren’t paying shut notice, it’s quick to get perfectly past posted pace limitations on area streets, thanks to the progressive throttle tuning and minimal gurgle from the exhaust. You get civilized aggression from the powertrain. The RS Q8 is by no means loud, shouty or severe when going about its business, while I desire it were being a little bit extra uncooked and loud in Dynamic mode.

Continuing the smooth topic, technological bits like a 48-volt mild-hybrid procedure and cylinder deactivation go unnoticed. You can find no wonkiness in the brake pedal and you would be hard pressed to explain to when the V8 is operating on some or all of its cylinders. These initiatives add to EPA-believed thirteen mpg metropolis and 19 mpg highway ratings, placing the RS Q8 on par with the relaxation of its aggressive established. I noticed thirteen.one mpg during a week of testing.

Dialed-up dynamics

From a efficiency standpoint, the RS Q8’s handling chops are its most outstanding attribute. To assist this five,490-pounder hustler harder it’s bought a rear-biased all-wheel-drive procedure, torque-vectoring rear differential, air suspension, all-wheel steering, active anti-roll bars and upgraded 23-inch Y-spoke wheels with 295/35 sequence tires (22-inchers occur regular).

A greater handling IQ comes courtesy in section from some large 23-inch Continental tires.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Set the Audi Travel Decide on procedure into its Dynamic placing and the RS Q8 hunkers down and hangs on tight all over cloverleaf on-ramps. Credit the tires’ major ol’ get in touch with patches and all the efficiency features’ technological wizardry for all the grip and composure this crossover displays when driven hard. Getting the RS Q8 sloppy on the street necessitates caning it way harder than you responsibly should. 

Instilling even extra assurance at the rear of the wheel are the aforementioned carbon ceramic brakes. The $9,000 selection indicates there are ten-piston calipers clamping down on monstrous seventeen.3-inch rotors up entrance and still-darn-major 14.6-inch rotors with single-piston calipers all over again. Like almost everything else, urgent down on the remaining pedal would not generate insane initial bite, allowing for for smooth brake applications. A minor extra tension unlocks the major halting muscle mass when you want to go further into brake zones or complete panic stops.

In typical Audi fashion, flippantly weighted steering is a sticking level in Dynamic. I prefer getting a touch extra heft in the wheel, but I have no issues about the steering’s responses. That’s not to say there aren’t moments when the gentle steering is useful — when you place the vehicle in Convenience mode for typical commuting, for example. Talking of commuting, the RS Q8 does good below, with the adaptive dampers getting the edge off all but the major roadway dangers. In addition to the great grip they give, the major Continental tires ought to have kudos for their lack of sound rolling down the road. 

Weightier steering feel for the RS Q8 is on the desire listing.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

RS design and style and tech

This RS Q8 painted Daytona Gray Pearl with its further optional styling goodies is certainly a looker. The adjustments to the RS about regular Q8 styles aren’t super drastic, with extra aggressive bumpers, honeycomb grille inserts, oval exhaust tips and slicker wheels. Incorporate in a generous carbon fiber food plan on the entrance lip, grille surround, mirror caps, tailgate trim and rear bumper valance, and blacked-out specifics sprinkled about give the RS Q8 a minimal-essential, but still sinister vibe.

Head inside of the RS Q8 and the layout is simplistic with plenty of straight lines. The entrance seats provide plenty of help to hold riders in location with RS honeycomb accent stitching on the inserts. These chairs provide a massage perform with seven distinctive kneading designs that I love.

Create excellent in this Audi is initial-price with plenty of large-close resources put throughout 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 major panels. If you happen to be nervous about the quicker roofline slicing into second-row headroom, will not be, because there is certainly still enough place for typical adults. Cargo place also just isn’t also shabby with a healthier 30.five cubic feet on provide that grows to 60.seven cubic feet with the again seats folded.

A straightforward layout and great develop excellent emphasize the RS Q8’s interior.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Getting care of infotainment in the RS Q8 is Audi’s MMI Contact Response procedure that is only stellar. The dual-touchscreen set up has an eight.6-inch display screen on the base for local climate perform controls and a ten.one-inch display screen up leading for factors like the rockin’ seventeen-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio set up, navigation with Google Maps imagery, mobile phone capabilities and a Wi-Fi hotspot. It is all intuitive to work through, providing speedy responses to inputs and haptic suggestions to enable you know a command has been entered. The cleanse center console format is void of lots of hard controls, but it does keep a standard quantity knob, which is a incredibly fantastic factor.

On the driver-guide engineering entrance, all RS Q8s get regular forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross visitors warn, a 360-degree camera and car large beams. A $one,750 Driver Support Offer adds a handful of extra tricks to this Audi’s arsenal like a great adaptive cruise manage procedure, lane-retain guide, visitors indicator recognition and a head-up display screen. 

The MMI Contact Response procedure is a Roadshow preferred.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

How I would spec it

This check vehicle is a perfectly-kitted-out RS Q8. It is bought the aforementioned $9,000 carbon ceramic brakes, $4,500 carbon fiber exterior bits, $two,950 black outside the house trim and greater wheels, $one,750 Driver Support Offer, $595 paint task and $4,800 truly worth of interior extras. On leading of all that, it also has a $750 Towing Offer enabling it to pull seven,700 lbs .. Incorporate in a $one,095 desired destination demand and you get the not-so-unsubstantial $a hundred and forty,590 as-examined selling price of this vehicle.

For my excellent spec, I would spring for the $595 Daytona Gray paint task and the $3,250 Black Optic Offer. On the inside of I will need the massaging seats that are section of the $3,one hundred fifty Luxury package that also necessitates you to equip the $two,000 Executive Offer that receives me gentle-shut doors, the head-up display screen and acoustic glass. This pushes my Audi to a amazing $124,590, which is expensive, but certainly extra palatable.

The 2021 Audi RS Q8 commences at $115,595, like $one,095 for desired destination.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Radical family wagon

Of the swoopy midsize efficiency SUVs offered these days, the Audi RS Q8 is a standout in various types. I imagine exterior styling trumps the BMW X6 M, Mercedes-AMG GLE63 Coupe and the Porsche Cayenne Coupe. The Audi also receives my vote for cabin layout and engineering about the BMW, Mercedes and Porsche. It just isn’t, nevertheless, my winner in the efficiency column the Cayenne Turbo Coupe is a little bit extra involving from at the rear of the wheel.

In the close, while, the RS Q8 my leading pick. It is a head-turner with a great cabin, best-in-course tech and delivers all the place and ease and comfort a family should reasonably will need. That’s more than enough to outweigh the much less psychological drive encounter, considering this car’s major purpose is to be everyday-driven. But actually, none of these efficiency SUV-coupes are undesirable, all providing sub-4-second -to-60-mph moments and physics-defying handling. Choose the one particular you like best, and if it just isn’t the Audi, I will be below to remind you that yours would not hold the Nürburgring report.