Excessive-performance SUVs with coupe-like rooflines are positively a completely fledged class of their very own, with the BMW X6 M Competitors, Mercedes-AMG GLE63 and Porsche Cayenne Turbo obtainable in the present day. All boast a splash of further model over historically formed SUVs, to not point out heaps of energy and punched-up dealing with capabilities. The newcomer on this class is the Audi RS Q8, a efficiency CUV so well-honed it now holds the manufacturing SUV lap report of seven minutes and 42.2 seconds round Germany’s Nürburgring. 

Like

Huge efficiency and day by day comfortSleek appears to be like inside and outExcellent cabin tech

Do not Like

Lacks dramaLight steeringCan get actual expensive quick

Decrease-key performer

What does the Audi’s Nürburgring lap report imply? To automobile dorks it means bragging rights. For everybody else, not a lot. However this primary story of the tape is one thing individuals of all automotive information bases will possible perceive. The guts and soul of this achievement is the RS Q8’s engine: a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 shoving out 591 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque with the latter having your again from 2,200 to 4,500 rpm. 

Channeling energy to the entire RS Q8’s wheels is an eight-speed computerized transmission, permitting this SUV to achieve 60 mph in simply 3.7 seconds, on its approach to a prime pace of 190 mph. (Be aware: This prime pace is just unlocked for those who spring for the upgraded carbon ceramic brakes.) All issues thought of, these are bonkers stats. However what? The BMW, Mercedes and Porsche all replicate that 0-to-60-mph time.

In the actual world, the Audi’s drivetrain surprisingly does not behave like an offended, hyperactive brute. From a dig, the RS Q8 does not launch with loopy gusto. As an alternative, it easily will get out of the opening, pulls robust to the engine’s 6,750-rpm redline and rattles off seamless, well-timed gear modifications. If you happen to aren’t paying shut consideration, it is simple to get nicely previous posted pace limits on floor streets, because of the progressive throttle tuning and low gurgle from the exhaust. You get civilized aggression from the powertrain. The RS Q8 is rarely loud, shouty or harsh when going about its enterprise, although I want it had been a bit extra uncooked and loud in Dynamic mode.

Persevering with the graceful theme, technological bits like a 48-volt mild-hybrid system and cylinder deactivation go unnoticed. There isn’t any wonkiness within the brake pedal and you would be onerous pressed to inform when the V8 is working on some or all of its cylinders. These efforts contribute to EPA-estimated 13 mpg metropolis and 19 mpg freeway scores, placing the RS Q8 on par with the remainder of its aggressive set. I noticed 13.1 mpg throughout every week of testing.

Dialed-up dynamics

From a efficiency standpoint, the RS Q8’s dealing with chops are its most spectacular attribute. To assist this 5,490-pounder hustler tougher it is received a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system, torque-vectoring rear differential, air suspension, all-wheel steering, lively anti-roll bars and upgraded 23-inch Y-spoke wheels with 295/35 sequence tires (22-inchers come commonplace).

A better dealing with IQ comes courtesy partially from some large 23-inch Continental tires.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Put the Audi Drive Choose system into its Dynamic setting and the RS Q8 hunkers down and hangs on tight round cloverleaf on-ramps. Credit score the tires’ large ol’ contact patches and all of the efficiency options’ technological wizardry for all of the grip and composure this crossover displays when pushed onerous. Getting the RS Q8 sloppy on the road requires caning it method tougher than you responsibly ought to. 

Instilling much more confidence behind the wheel are the aforementioned carbon ceramic brakes. The $9,000 possibility means there are 10-piston calipers clamping down on monstrous 17.3-inch rotors up entrance and still-darn-big 14.6-inch rotors with single-piston calipers round again. Like every thing else, urgent down on the left pedal does not yield loopy preliminary chew, permitting for easy brake purposes. A bit of extra strain unlocks the large stopping muscle whenever you wish to go deeper into brake zones or carry out panic stops.

In regular Audi style, frivolously weighted steering is a sticking level in Dynamic. I desire having a contact extra heft within the wheel, however I’ve no complaints concerning the steering’s responses. That is to not say there aren’t instances when the sunshine steering is helpful — whenever you put the automobile in Consolation mode for regular commuting, for instance. Talking of commuting, the RS Q8 does positive right here, with the adaptive dampers taking the sting off all however the largest roadway hazards. Along with the good grip they supply, the large Continental tires deserve kudos for his or her lack of noise rolling down the street. 

Weightier steering really feel for the RS Q8 is on the want listing.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

RS model and tech

This RS Q8 painted Daytona Gray Pearl with its further non-compulsory styling goodies is definitely a looker. The modifications to the RS over commonplace Q8 fashions aren’t tremendous drastic, with extra aggressive bumpers, honeycomb grille inserts, oval exhaust ideas and slicker wheels. Add in a beneficiant carbon fiber weight loss plan on the entrance lip, grille encompass, mirror caps, tailgate trim and rear bumper valance, and blacked-out particulars sprinkled about give the RS Q8 a low-key, however nonetheless sinister vibe.

Head contained in the RS Q8 and the design is simplistic with numerous straight traces. The entrance seats supply numerous assist to carry riders in place with RS honeycomb accent stitching on the inserts. These chairs supply a therapeutic massage perform with seven completely different kneading patterns that I really like.

Construct high quality on this Audi is first-rate with numerous high-end supplies positioned all through the cabin, like Alcantara on the headliner and door panels, matte carbon fiber sprint trim and leather-wrapped and stitched surfaces for a lot of the large panels. If you happen to’re anxious concerning the sooner roofline slicing into second-row headroom, do not be, as a result of there’s nonetheless ample area for regular adults. Cargo room additionally is not too shabby with a wholesome 30.5 cubic ft on supply that grows to 60.7 cubic ft with the again seats folded.

A easy design and implausible construct high quality spotlight the RS Q8’s inside.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Caring for infotainment within the RS Q8 is Audi’s MMI Contact Response system that’s merely stellar. The twin-touchscreen setup has an 8.6-inch show on the underside for local weather perform controls and a ten.1-inch show up prime for issues just like the rockin’ 17-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio setup, navigation with Google Maps imagery, cellphone capabilities and a Wi-Fi hotspot. It is all intuitive to work via, providing fast responses to inputs and haptic suggestions to let a command has been entered. The clear heart console format is void of many onerous controls, but it surely does retain a standard quantity knob, which is an excellent factor.

On the driver-assist expertise entrance, all RS Q8s get commonplace forward-collision warning with computerized emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross visitors alert, a 360-degree digital camera and auto excessive beams. A $1,750 Driver Help Package deal provides a number of extra methods to this Audi’s arsenal like an ideal adaptive cruise management system, lane-keep help, visitors signal recognition and a head-up show. 

The MMI Contact Response system is a Roadshow favourite.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

How I would spec it

This check automobile is a well-kitted-out RS Q8. It is received the aforementioned $9,000 carbon ceramic brakes, $4,500 carbon fiber exterior bits, $2,950 black outdoors trim and greater wheels, $1,750 Driver Help Package deal, $595 paint job and $4,800 value of inside extras. On prime of all that, it additionally has a $750 Towing Package deal enabling it to drag 7,700 kilos. Add in a $1,095 vacation spot cost and also you get the not-so-unsubstantial $140,590 as-tested worth of this automobile.

For my very best spec, I would spring for the $595 Daytona Grey paint job and the $3,250 Black Optic Package deal. On the within I want the massaging seats which can be a part of the $3,150 Luxurious bundle that additionally requires you to equip the $2,000 Government Package deal that will get me soft-close doorways, the head-up show and acoustic glass. This pushes my Audi to a cool $124,590, which is dear, however definitely extra palatable.

The 2021 Audi RS Q8 begins at $115,595, together with $1,095 for vacation spot.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Radical household wagon

Of the swoopy midsize efficiency SUVs obtainable in the present day, the Audi RS Q8 is a standout in a number of classes. I believe exterior styling trumps the BMW X6 M, Mercedes-AMG GLE63 Coupe and the Porsche Cayenne Coupe. The Audi additionally will get my vote for cabin design and expertise over the BMW, Mercedes and Porsche. It is not, nevertheless, my winner within the efficiency column; the Cayenne Turbo Coupe is a little more involving from behind the wheel.

In the long run, although, the RS Q8 my prime choose. It is a head-turner with an ideal cabin, best-in-class tech and provides all of the area and luxury a household ought to fairly want. That is sufficient to outweigh the much less emotional drive expertise, contemplating this automobile’s major aim is to be daily-driven. However actually, none of those efficiency SUV-coupes are unhealthy, all providing sub-4-second 0-to-60-mph instances and physics-defying dealing with. Choose the one you want finest, and if it is not the Audi, I will be right here to remind you that yours does not maintain the Nürburgring report.

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