by Michael Butler
We are living in a world where SUVs are quicker and more technologically advanced than supercars of a few years ago, which boggles the mind. We're referring, of course, to the monster Audi RS Q8 and competitors like the BMW X6 M and Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupe. Like its German rivals, the RS Q8 is capable of a blistering turn of speed, yet it can play the role of a (somewhat) practical SUV when the need arises. The 2023 RS Q8 features a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that makes 591 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, allowing this large SUV to sprint to 60 mph in only 3.7 seconds. The exterior looks mean, and the interior is decked out with all the latest in Audi tech, making this one of Audi's most advanced high-performance cars ever. Perhaps more than all of this, the RS Q8 provides many of the thrills of the Lamborghini Urus - with which it shares some components - but at a significantly lower price.
Customers in the USA can expect electric power sunshades in the rear as standard for 2023 and additional Nappa leather bits and pieces on the interior. The Executive Package now features a remote park assist system.
Audi has also revised the color palette. Galaxy Blue has been replaced by Waitomo Blue, and Satellite Silver replaces Florett Silver.
Pricing in the US was initially announced at $113,000 but has since climbed and now starts at an MSRP of over $125,000 before options and destination. Fully loaded with every available option, you can expect to pay more than $160,000, which is still $50k less than a Lamborghini Urus.
See trim levels and configurations:
|4.0 TFSI quattro||
4.0L Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
The letters RS indicate that this is a seriously sporty car, but its sheer size will surely keep it from offering an exhilarating ride, right? Somehow, Audi has managed to make the RS Q8 drive like a luxury grand tourer and an entertaining driver's car at the same time, all thanks to some cleverly programmed driving modes. In its softest setting, the all-wheel-drive RS Q8 is an excellent cruiser and soaks up bumps without any issues. The cabin in the 2023 Audi RS Q8 is well insulated, and the RS-tuned adaptive air suspension makes light work of even the roughest of city roads. The smooth transmission offers near imperceptible shifts, and even those large wheels and low-profile tires do little to hurt the ride quality. The standard all-wheel steering makes it even better in the city.
Switch over to a more aggressive driving mode, and the 591-hp RS Q8 turns into a beast. In Dynamic mode, the air suspension lowers, and the transmission goes into rapid fire. With tons of torque on offer and impressive levels of grip to work with, the RS Q8 becomes a brilliant point-and-shoot weapon. The brakes are sharp and confidence-inspiring, and turn-in and steering response is impressive for such a large vehicle. Even though the Porsche Cayenne Turbo has the edge dynamically, the new Audi RS Q8 SUV will surprise even the most hardened of sports car drivers.
Audi's range of RS models all get one thing right; they provide plenty of performance without having to be too shouty about it, and that's precisely what we love about the RS Q8. This beast of an SUV is closely related to the Lamborghini Urus but takes a more subtle approach, and therein lies its charm. The RS Q8 is slightly down on power when compared to the Lambo, but it still feels like an absolute rocket ship once it starts going. The exterior is just aggressive enough, but those who don't know won't give it a second glance. The interior is an absolutely stunning place to be and is one of Audi's best to date, but you do have to contend with many touch-based interfaces that aren't always easy to use. This car can be driven as a daily driver and offers lots of cargo space, but it can also transform into a supercar at the touch of a button. It is a near-perfect balance of comfort, speed, and practicality.
Since there's only one model, there isn't much you can do wrong here. However, we would certainly add the carbon-ceramic brakes to remove the standard speed limiter and we'd be very tempted by the Driver Assistance package for its useful features. We'd also think about adding the Luxury package. This adds an Alcantara headliner and massaging front seats; it's worth noting that the Luxury package needs to be specified in tandem with the Executive pack which now includes remote park assist. Altogether, this would be a truly fast, safe, and luxurious configuration that would likely never grow tired.
The most popular competitors of 2023 Audi RS Q8: