Audi will take on the BMW X6 M and Mercedes-AMG GLE63 with its upcoming performance SUV.
Ever since the Audi Q8 was confirmed back in 2014, it was only a matter of time before a Q8 RS performance variant would follow. Earlier this year, Audi revealed the Q8 Concept at Detroit, as part of its plans to enter the luxury SUV market to take on the likes of the Bentley Bentayga, Range Rover Sport and Mercedes-Benz GLE. According to Autocar, Audi is gearing up to reveal an RS Q8 Concept at next month's Geneva Motor Show to rival the Range Rover Sport SVR and Mercedes-AMG GLE63.
Autocar reports that the RS Q8 will be closely based on the previously revealed Q8 hybrid, with performance that will closely match the final production model. Power is expected to be derived from a tweaked version of the manufacturer's 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V8 paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission – the same setup that powers existing models such as the S8 Plus performance and Bentley Continental. The power output of the Q8 RS is said to be similar to the S8 Plus, which packs 605-hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. If true, that would make it a worthy rival to the 549 hp Mercedes-AMG GLE63 and 567 hp BMW X6 M.
Autocar also states that the RS Q8 will hit 0-62 mph in under five seconds, which again makes it comparable to the Mercedes-AMG GLE63 and BMW X6 M - both cars can hit 62 mph in around four seconds. However, whereas the AMG and X6 M will reach a top speed of 174 mph, the RS Q8 is rumored to top out at over 186 mph. The RS Q8 will also sport more aggressive styling than the original hybrid concept, putting it in line with Audi's current performance models. Sources say that the RS Q8 is dominated by a wider and "heavily decorated" grille, with Audi Sport's traditional high gloss honeycomb grille insert and Quattro lettering.
In addition, the new grille will be complimented by trapezoidal shaped headlamps with Audi's matrix laser technology capable of projecting a light beam of up to one million pixels, as well as LED functionality. Other cosmetic changes will include a heavily structured front bumper with a prominent splitter, a lower and more sloping roofline, and a more heavily angled rear tailgate. It will also take some styling cues from the iconic Audi Quattros from the 1980s, such as prominent shoulders above the large wheel houses and a characteristic C-pillar treatment. No doubt more will be revealed at Geneva in a few weeks time.