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Bonkers Audi RS Q8 bound for Australia in late 2020

John Law

Audi has confirmed the bonkers RS Q8 for Australian shores, with the behemoth packing a 441kW punch from its turbocharged V8 drives. In fact, this RS variant of Q8 uses the same engine and underpinnings to the more exotic Lamborghini Urus, think of it like the R8 to the Huracan, but bigger.

With an all-electric future becoming an increasingly real possibility, with the brand’s e-tron Sportback released in close succession, the RS Q8 Uber SUV may be the last hurrah for this kind of vehicle.

Alongside the Lamborghini Urus, the RS Q8 will be vying for market share with the petrol swilling BMW X6 M,  Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S, while tempting customers out of more traditional fast station wagons like the brand’s own RS6 Avant.

2020 Audi RS Q8 3

The RS Q8 boasts impressive outputs from its four-litre twin-turbo V8 – the same found in the RS6 Avant – with 448kW and 800Nm, though in Urus guise this same engine manages to push out 37kW more power at 478kW. Audi claims the turbocharged V8 will get the RS Q8 from 0-100km/h in an impressive 3.8 seconds.

Top speed is nothing to be sniffed at either, for the regular RS Q8, the speed limiter will cut in at 250km/h, though if you pay extra for the dynamic package, the behemoth will reach a whopping 305km/h, equal to that of the Urus.

High performance means lots of fuel is needed, to combat this Audi have implemented a 48 Volt mild-hybrid tech and cylinder deactivation, which the brand claims saves 0.8l/100km savings. Between 55-160km/h the car can coast for up to 40 seconds, using regenerative braking to generate power for the electrical system.

2020 Audi RS Q8 5

A bold and brash front end features on the RS Q8 with the biggest hexagonal grille on any Audi joining the three nostril vents between the nose and bonnet for cooling, referencing the original Sport Quattro.

As standard, an intricate looking set of 10-spoke 22-inch alloy wheels are specifed with 295/40 series all around, optionally an even larger 23-inch set of five ‘Y-spoke’ alloys can be specified.

Inside expect contemporary Audi, that means quality and pleasing minimalism. The RS Q8 will feature the brand’s virtual cockpit, new centrally-mounted MMI touchscreen, plenty of optional alcantara appointments, RS sports seats and optional head-up display.

2020 Audi RS Q8 6

As you would expect, the RS Q8 has switchable drive mods, with two customisable RS1 and RS2 buttons to store your favourite settings, as well as plenty of safety tech including a 360 degree camera system, rear traffic assist, and active cruise control functionality.

Suspension has been specifically tuned for the RS Q8, the five-link system is teamed with air suspension to provide variable spring-rates and ride height with 90mm between the highest and lowest setting, so the big SUV should feel at home both on and off-road.

There will be an optional active roll stabilisation system available on the RS Q8, and is included with the dynamic package, which allows the wheels to track the ground freely on a straight, with roll bars stiffening when cornering to keep body roll to a minimum.

2020 Audi RS Q8 2

When driving normally, the Quattro all-wheel-drive system has a torque split of 40:60, when necessary up to 70% of the power can be sent to the front wheels, or up to 85% to the rear axle, where a limited slip diff can dish power out between each side.

Braking is taken care of by massive 420mm front rotors (370mm at the rear) and 10 piston brake calipers.

Rear-wheel steering is standard on the RS Q8, allowing the rear wheels to turn in the opposite direction at low speed to improve turn-in sharpness, and rotating in the same direction at high speed offering greater stability.

2020 Audi RS Q8 4

Exact specification and pricing will be available closer Australian launch in the third quarter of 2020, but we can safely bet it will arrive at less than Lamborghini’s equivalent.