Audi has launched its most potent ever new 190mph flagship family SUV costing from £120,000.
Powered by a 4.0-litre V8 bi-turbo TFSI direct-injection petrol engine linked to a mild-hybrid system and an 8-speed automatic gearbox, the new Audi RS Q8 is the firm’s most powerful and fastest sports utility vehicle, accelerating from rest to 62mph in just 3.8 seconds and to 124.3 mph in 13.7 seconds.
Although the standard 155.3mph top speed is electronically governed, customers can buy an optional dynamic package which allows that to be raised to 189.5mph.
Sound quick? It is. So rapid in fact that it now holds the lap record around the Nürburgring circuit, completing the fearsome lap in 7 minutes and 42 seconds.
Fastest SUV of them all:Audi RS Q8 is the firm’s most powerful and fastest sports utility vehicle, accelerating from rest to 62mph in just 3.8 seconds and to 124.3 mph in 13.7 seconds
Launching its new 4X4 Leviathan at the opening day of the Los Angeles Auto Show in California, the German car maker said: ‘The new Audi RS Q8 is the top model in the Q product line. It is the most powerful SUV coupe from Audi Sport.
‘It combines the power of an RS model with the elegance of a premium coupe and the flexibility of an SUV.’
And powerful it undoubtedly is. So much so that it shaved 7 seconds off the previous SUV lap record around the German track set by German rival, Mercedes-AMG’s GLC 63 S.
Prices for the top of the range all-wheel-drive bruiser start at €127,000 and are set to be around £120,000 in the UK with first deliveries in Spring.
But that is a considerable mark-up of around £40,000 on the standard Q8.
The start-up ignition sequence promises a ‘sportily voluminous sound’ from the dual exhaust system with oval tailpipes. An optional RS sport exhaust system with black tailpipe trims promises ‘an even sportier sound.’
The V8 engine has a ‘mild-hybrid’ 48-volt electrical system which during deceleration and braking can recover up to 12 kW of power and store it in the compact lithium-ion battery.
Ray Massey has been taking a look around the new super-SUV while in the US for the LA Motor Show this week
The RS Q8 now holds the lap record around the Nürburgring circuit, completing the fearsome lap in 7 minutes and 42 seconds
It shaved a massive 7 seconds off the previous record held by an expensive Mercedes-AMG
If the driver takes his or her foot off the accelerator at speeds between 34.2 to 99.4 mph, the car’s drive management helps store or use the energy generated.
Recuperating that energy allows it to coast for up to 40 seconds with the engine off. It also allows for start/stop operation at a speed of up to 13.7 mph.
The mild-hybrid system is also connected to the camera sensors. So at stop, the engine starts up while the brake pedal is still depressed as soon as the front camera detects that the vehicle in front begins to move.
Audi engineers say the mild hybrid system improves ride comfort and also has the potential to significantly reduce fuel consumption in everyday driving.
There’s another frugal fuel saver. At low to middling load and revs in the upper gears, the car’s ‘cylinder on demand’ system can imperceptibly in milliseconds de-activate half the cylinders by switching off fuel injection and ignition and closing the intake and exhaust valves.
They are reactivated immediately when the driver presses the accelerator.
During dynamic cornering, the four-wheel drive system distributes power between the rear wheels as required: ‘This active torque vectoring improves traction, stability and dynamics.’
Prices for the top of the range all-wheel-drive bruiser start at €127,000 and are set to be around £120,000 in the UK with first deliveries in Spring
Paying a premium: £120,000 price tag is a considerable mark-up of around £40,000 on the standard Q8
To further aid stability up to 70 per cent of the car’s power can be directed to the front wheels and up to 85 percent to the rear wheels.
It has adaptive air suspension to help stability on the road, track or off-road trail and the driver can tweak its body’s height ride height by up to 90 millimetres (3.5 in).
Audi engineers say the RS Q8’s chassis is designed for ‘maximum sportiness.’ An optional electromechanical active roll stabilisation system minimises body roll during fast cornering thanks to a compact electric motor on each of the two axles.
On uneven roads this compensates for body movement and increases ride comfort. During cornering it significantly reduces vehicle lean, says the car-maker.
For greater agility, at low speeds, the 4X4’s rear wheels turn up to 5 degrees in the opposite direction of the front wheels. And to improve stability during fast lane changes, at high speeds they turn up to 1.5 degrees in the same direction.
Off-road performance is helped by variable ground clearance, short overhangs, permanent all-wheel drive and hill descent control.
Audi RS Q8: Will it fit in my garage?
Price: circa £120,000
First deliveries: Spring 2020
Engine: 4.0 litre bi-turbo V8 Power: 600horse-power (HP)
Top speed: 189mph (with optional dynamic package)
0 to 62mph: 3.8 seconds
Length: 5,012mm (197.3 inches)
Width: 1,998m (78.6 inches)
Height: 1,708mm (67.2 inches)
Wheelbase: 2,996 (118.0 in)
Weight: 2,315 kg (5,103.7 lb)
Wheels: 22-inch aluminium alloys standard, 23-inch as option
Two different LED headlight configurations are available, including three-dimensional running lights.
Behind the wheel of the new Audi RS Q8 the driver can choose from eight driving modes according to mood or conditions: comfort, auto, dynamic, efficiency, allroad, offroad, plus two individual RS-specific modes – RS1 and RS2 – which can be activated directly via the ‘RS-MODE’ button on the steering wheel.
The digital dashboard display allows drivers to record lap-times and even – in the manner of jet pilots and astronauts – the ‘g-forces’ being pulled. A head up display is an option.
The SUV has more than 30 driver assist assist systems including adaptive cruise control, lane change warning and 360 degree cameras.
The 22-inch aluminium wheels fitted as standard in a 10-spoke star design are the largest ever factory-installed on an Audi production model. But 23-inch versions in a 5 spoke rotor design and a variety of colours are available as options.
Keeping the vast 4X4 in check are large composite brake discs measuring 16.5 inches up front and 14.6 inches at the back. Their 10-inch piston calipers are painted black as standard and red as an option.
Ceramic brakes measuring 17.3 inches at the front and 14.6 inches at the back are available as an option in in grey, red or blue.
The athletic new Audi RS Q8 comes in a choice of nine colours: one solid and eight metallic or pearl effect shades. Exterior mirror housings come standard in black, with body colour, aluminium or carbon options.
With its coupe-like styling and sloping roof, to help further distinguish it from the standard Q8 – it has specific RS exterior trim that widens its stance by up to half an inch, a variety of exclusive interior and exterior tweaks with added customisation options, a black high gloss honeycomb radiator grille with solid side air inlets and a blade in high gloss black.
An ‘RS’ roof edge spoiler gives added downforce on the rear axle for better balance at high speeds.
The SUV has more than 30 driver assist assist systems including adaptive cruise control, lane change warning and 360 degree cameras
Off-road performance is helped by variable ground clearance, short overhangs, permanent all-wheel drive and hill descent control – not that many owners will take it off the beaten track
Ceramic brakes measuring 17.3 inches at the front and 14.6 inches at the back are available as an option in in grey, red or blue
Inside, Audi have sought to create a clean, spacious, sporty – and very black – interior with a slim instrument panel and headlining in black cloth or an optional lunar silver, and sport seats in black pearl Nappa leather or Alcantara with RS embossing.
RS sport seats in Valcona leather – in black cognac or granite grey – with a honeycomb pattern and RS embossing are an even more luxurious option. They have a massage function and are perforated to also provide ventilation.
Two RS design packages include extensive red or grey contrasting stitching on Alcantra trim, including on the steering wheel rim and seat belt edges.
A sliding three-seat rear bench comes as standard and with the seat backrests folded down, the luggage compartment holds up to 1,755 litres.
Managing director of Audi Sport Oliver Hoffmann said: ‘For the first time in the 25-year history of Audi RS models, we are putting a large SUV coupe with the genes of a true high-performance sports car on the road.
‘With its bi-turbo V8 gasoline engine, the Audi RS Q8 is the prestigious spearhead of the RS model family.’
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