Super SUVs are all the rage, with buyers proving that this is more than just a passing fad. Who can blame them? They offer incredible space, comfort, and performance in one complete package. While Mercedes may have been one of the first to create this kind of vehicle with the GLE63 S, Audi's first performance SUV in America is not without heritage. The 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 under the hood is shared with the likes of the Lamborghini Urus and Bentley Bentayga. Here, it produces an impressive 591 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, all controlled via an eight-speed automatic transmission feeding all four wheels. Of course, the RS Q8's dramatic coupe-like style is another big part of its appeal. But is it as good as the Urus or the BMW X6 M?
The Audi RS Q8 was only introduced to us last year and is still fresh enough to get away with another year on the market without any major changes, but the bright green paint available last year is missing from the palette.
See trim levels and configurations:
|4.0 TFSI quattro
4.0L Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
As standard, the RS Q8 features adaptive air suspension, and much like the throttle and transmission settings, you can adjust how the suspension reacts too. In cornering, everything tightens up to create a flat and level cornering experience that is otherworldly for such a behemoth. The rear differential works well to apportion power where it'll be utilized best, but the standard all-wheel-steering system has a hand to play too, improving your turning circle at low speeds and heightening stability at higher speeds. The RS Q8 is simply a testament to how far technology has come, proving that diminutive size and a low center of gravity are not the be-all and end-all of handling. Despite this, the RS Q8 is rather compliant, soaking up bumps and imperfections with ease. In racier modes, it'll naturally stiffen up, but not to the point that the drive is uncomfortable. When it's time to stop, the standard brakes do a great job of slowing the bulky SUV and are easy to modulate, while the optional carbon-ceramic setup is similarly amazing.
The RS Q8 is not the same car as the Lamborghini Urus. Despite their numerous similarities, Audi's ultimate SUV is different in many ways. However, the biggest difference is that it doesn't have the emblem of an Italian supercar company on the hood. Should this concern you? Well, it's a lot cheaper than the Lambo, isn't too far down on power, and has the title of being the fastest SUV around the Nurburgring ever. But as a standalone vehicle that isn't compared to any other, it's just as impressive. It looks fantastic, goes like stink, and has a gorgeous cabin that elevates the luxury and style of the regular Q8 to an even higher plateau. It's got plenty of cargo space, has a clever suspension setup, handles wonderfully, and comes with a ton of features. It is also just really cool. While Lambos have a reputation for being slightly obnoxious, the Audi brand doesn't bear the same stigma, and this is the kind of SUV that won't draw too much attention where you don't want it to while still appearing right at home on the red carpet. Plus, it can do off-road stuff. If it weren't for the RS6, which is cooler simply because it's a wagon, this would be the ultimate one-car garage filler.
Lamborghini's Urus is an epic machine. It's nothing short of a raised supercar with more space and luxury. It looks almost alien and, thanks to a 641-horsepower 4.0-liter V8, it's a seriously rapid machine. However, although it produces a lot more than the RS Q8's 591 hp, it laps the Nurburgring five seconds slower. Apparently, this is because the Lambo is better suited to flat racetracks while the RS Q8 performs better on tracks with climbing elevation changes, and although the Nordschleife is no Laguna Seca, it's not exactly level either. The Audi wins in the cargo stakes too, offering around eight cubes more volume in the back, and although the prestige of the Lambo badge is difficult to look past, the Urus costs a whopping $207,326. Considering that the Audi is almost $100k cheaper, we'd certainly opt for the RS Q8.
BMW's X6 M is marginally cheaper than the RS Q8, with a starting price of $108,600 compared to the Audi's $114,500. In addition, its considerably bigger 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 that does duty in most of BMW's M cars these days produces 600 horses and 553 lb-ft of twist. That said, you can have a Competition variant that ups power to 617 hp, allowing the Bimmer to match the Audi's 3.7-second 0-60 mph time. Things swing back in the RS Q8's favor when you look at top speed figures though, as the X6 M tops out at 177 mph with the M Driver's Package. Still, not many people will ever fully exploit either car's performance capabilities, so let's look at practicality. The X6 M only offers 27.4 cubic feet of volume, 3.1 cubes less than the Audi. With seats folded flat, the Bimmer almost closes the gap, but the Audi offers better rear headroom, a more tech-focused cabin, and Nurburgring bragging rights. We'd have the Audi.
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