BALLISTIC –The Audi RS Q8 Review
At some point it was senseless to be in an all-powerful SUV, all we wanted was ride height, the size and a decent oil burner power plant to tow and save fuel costs. The big wheels and luxurious options were hidden benefits, this meant we gave up the idea of great on road manners due to some body roll, little did we know that magicians within most brands with great Research &Development were hard at work making giants that would one day be mentioned in the same sentences as our prized hot hatches let alone supercars. Performance SUV’s are a thing and they are here to stay, heck they are selling like HOT CAKES, even with the premium price tags they sell.
This brings to me to my recent test car, the Audi RS Q8, my 1st encounter with this coupe SUV was at Gerotek during the test days for CarsAwards, that was the 55TFSI petrol with 250kw 500nm under the hood, she felt stable and composed, but something was a little off for me, so when I saw the media fleet had a diesel derivative I was quite keen to sample that as it made more sense to me, but some test units elude me due to my location ,so I made a humble plea to the local fleet manager about the 45TDI if it ever comes this way. When the stars aligned I was destined something much bigger and louder.
On looks alone it was a crowd favourite , the last time I had a car with more or equal presence was incidentally an Audi, a bright yellow R8 Spyder that went on to make super memories, the RS Q8 I had was drenched in an unmissable orange paint job purposely called “Dragon Orange” within the corridors of the German car maker. At the front carbon fibre (optional) bits surrounded the bigger hexagon shaped grille and lower bumper, and LED Matrix headlights with a show piece conclude a very imposing front end. The view from the side was embellished with black mirror casings, black roof rails and 23” gloss black multi spoke alloys, these had everyone in awe because of their size, and frameless doors.
Blacked out RS badging , more carbon in the middle of the tail gate and lower bumper ,LED tail lights that have their own symphony of a startup and closing show case, decorative slits on either side of the bumper and two huge gloss black oval tail pipes round off the rear end. To some degree I think that RS Q8 could be visible from space with that colour and presence.
The interior is what I call sporty luxury, it works in so many ways, from the RS engraved sports leather seats with heating(rear bench too) & cooling feature to massaging function which Majola loved immensely. A perforated leather sports multifunction steering wheel with paddle shifters, seamless Audi design of the digital dashboard , and a centre console with touch functionality and that annoying haptic feedback, I did find a way to work best after a few days though. A panoramic glass roof adds ambience during the day, night drives are an occasion thanks to ambient lighting that creates all sorts of moods.
A banging Bang & Olufsen sound system with automated protrusion tweeters placed on both corners of the dashboard. The rear bench is quite well equipped as well with features like climate control , seat heating, and a sliding function for extra leg room. The boot space is abundant and useful with a lowering function(air suspension) should the ride height be too high when loading parcels. The Q8 was also equipped a fully powered tow bar, not sure what I would be towing with some like this.
Under the hood a mighty 4.0L V8 with not one but 2 turbos is at work , this is mated an 8speed tiptronic gearbox that sends power to all 4 wheels , the numbers are equally jaw dropping for something that weight over 2 tons, 0-100kph in 3.8seconds, with a top speed of 250kph, this is made possible by a hearty 441kw of power and 800nm of wholesome torque, this commotion is emitted through those 2 RS sports exhausts at the rear, inside the engine note keeps you in check in case ubhanxeke. The RS Q8 does not pretend to be what’s it’s not, it unleashes the occupants to the horizon with such a great catapulting force ,while the turbo lag may annoy others , to me it was a warning sign that I must ready for the FURY, I found a way around that though , gear down once build the revs and floor “GHABADIYA’’ she would not hesitate , and this was not even in launch mode , in gear acceleration readjusts your comprehension of what you have known as fast. Four wheel steering assists with incredibly impressive handling, the cornering ability is easily comparable to cars deemed supercars, it does this without any scares, the confidence it induces is contagious. The power can be enjoyed even in the softest and economical settings in the multitude of drive modes found in Ghabadiya.
711kms have never been this costly, however I utterly enjoyed every cent spent.
The standard specification of the RS Q8 is quite impressive, none of that poverty spec rubbish socials go on about, the options on my test unit were quite useful as well , barring the blacked out name plates, they do add sporty touch but tend to lean more on the aftermarket murdered feel.
Priced at R2.354, 500 its quite a compelling package for anyone in the market for a PROPER high performance SUV , and it undercuts the competition by a staggering (R501 600 BMW X6MCP) &(R607 420 Merc’s GLE63s Coupe). Even with R283 780 worth of options , my tester comes out the winner, it gets a huge NOD from me.
Thanks to Audi SA for the test car.
Yours in motoring
Wezile Lorenzio Bonani