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Updated Audi RS Q8 gets ‘performance’ model. Image by Audi.

Updated Audi RS Q8 gets ‘performance’ model
Up to 640hp and lots of design options mark out the new Audi RS Q8.
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What's all this about?

Following on from the updated Audi Q8 and SQ8, it’s now the turn of the range-topping RS Q8 to come in for its midlife refresh. There’s the usual nip and tuck outside and in, some snazzy new lightweight rims, a lot more customisation available and the small matter of a new RS Q8 performance model with up to 640hp at its disposal.

You snuck that in at the end. Tell us more...

As before, power comes from Audi’s beloved twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine. And also as before, the ‘standard’ version gets up to 600hp and 800Nm of torque, enabling a scandalous 3.8-second 0-62mph time. But apparently that was too slow for some of Audi’s buyers, so Audi Sport fitted a lighter exhaust system with less back pressure in it, allowing the engine to breathe freer and hence produce up to 640hp and 850Nm of torque, dropping the 0-62mph time to 3.6 seconds in the process. Presumably, a recalibration of the engine’s software was needed too. If that new exhaust isn’t loud enough for you, there’s an optional RS system to annoy your neighbours with.

What'll they think of the aggressive looks?

Indeed, the Audi Q8 has always traded on its distinctive appearance, and the RS model ramps that up a notch with downright belligerent styling. The door mirrors, front spoiler elements and trim on the windows and rear diffuser are black on the regular car, while the performance version features matte grey mirrors, front spoiler and rear diffuser, with all other bits in high-gloss black - though all the listed components can be finished in matte carbon or high-gloss black in the RS Q8 as an option.

There are three new metallic paint options (Sakhir Gold, Ascari Blue and Chili Red) and lots to think about when choosing wheels. As standard, there are 10-spoke, 22-inch rims fitted. Exclusive to the performance model is an optional 23-inch wheel made using high-tech forging techniques that saves five kilograms weight per corner, and finished in either burnished metallic black, matte grey or matte black. Buyers of the regular RS Q8 aren’t left out, though, as they too can fit a 23-inch wheel. It’s not quite so light but comes in a range of colours: metallic black, matte Neodymium Gold, burnished silk matte grey or burnished metallic black.

Those big wheels show off the serious brakes behind to good effect, though we suspect few buyers will retain the standard black callipers, and instead upgrade to the red items with RS lettering. The RS Q8 performance gets ceramic brakes by default, with grey callipers that can be swapped with red or blue ones.

It'll need those. Any other chassis trickery?

Both versions of the RS Q8 get adaptive air suspension and damping, with a ride height that can be varied by a massive 90mm range. There’s rear-wheel steering, too, to aid stability at higher speeds and manoeuvrability when driving slower, along with a mechanical centre differential that sends 60 per cent of the engine’s output to the back axle by default - though it can send up to 70 per cent to the front wheels or up to 85 per cent to the rears as needs be. Hence the RS Q8 has permanent all-wheel drive - quattro in Audi-speak.

Optionally, electromechanical active roll stabilisation can be added using 48-volt power. This takes the place of the standard anti-roll bars and should mean more comfort in a straight line, yet less body roll when cornering. It can be added to the cars as an individual option or as part of the ‘dynamic package plus’ add-on. This also includes the RS ceramic brakes when applied to the standard RS Q8, plus a quattro sport differential to divvy torque up between the rear wheels.

Will any two RS Q8s be the same?

You’ve heard nothing yet. The cabin of the RS Q8 can be specified in a bewildering number of ways, including red, grey or blue design packages (though blue is exclusive to the performance car and features blue seatbelts among other things). The steering wheel (perfectly-round, we note, and approve of) is trimmed in tactile Alcantara while there’s also Dinamica microfibre made from recycled PET fibres. Honeycomb stitching (in contrast colours of course) features on the perforated leather sports seats and there’s a wide range of finishes for the decorative inlays. For those that still have money to burn, there’s the ‘RS design package plus’, again offered in three distinct colours, adding more detailing, notably in the colour of the seat-back material and the RS logos.

Dare we ask how much all this costs?

Audi won’t have confirmed pricing (and indeed final specifications - the above should be taken as a taster, only) until August, though we assume you’ll be paying far north of £100,000 no matter how restrained you are with the extensive options list.

Shane O'Donoghue - 24 Jun 2024

2025 Audi RS Q8. Image by Audi.2025 Audi RS Q8. Image by Audi.2025 Audi RS Q8. Image by Audi.2025 Audi RS Q8. Image by Audi.2025 Audi RS Q8. Image by Audi.

2025 Audi RS Q8. Image by Audi.2025 Audi RS Q8. Image by Audi.2025 Audi RS Q8. Image by Audi.2025 Audi RS Q8. Image by Audi.2025 Audi RS Q8. Image by Audi.    - Audi road tests
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