Thanks to a CarBuzz tipster we may have our answer.
Earlier this year Audi launched its all-new, first-ever Q8 flagship SUV. Although it's related to the far less sexy Q7, the Q8 also shares a platform with the Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus, and Porsche Cayenne. And if any of those three vehicles are any indicator, chances are Audi has some performance enhancing plans in store for its BMW X6 and X6 M fighter. But it's the latter that Audi would really love to beat in a direct competition. Performance specs matter, especially to buyers willing to spend around six-figures.
We already knew Audi is currently developing an SQ8 and we've even seen it in spy shots, but what about an RS Q8? Audi has not officially gone on record declaring such a variant is planned.
Thanks to a CarBuzz reader who works at an Audi dealership, we may now have the first proof of the RS Q8's existence. Our tipster wrote us stating he was walking around the dealer's parts department the other day and found something interesting: a label on a set of floor mats stating they can fit the following vehicles: Audi Q7, SQ7, Q8, SQ8, and RS Q8. Everything listed there, other than the RS Q8, is either already on sale or confirmed to arrive soon. What are the chances of that floor mats label being a typo? Well, there's always a chance, but let's also think logically here. Audi wants to beat BMW.
The upcoming SQ8 is rumored to have upwards of 470 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, while the BMW X6 M has 567 hp and 553 lb-ft. In fact, the redesigned X6 will soon debut and, subsequently, as will a new and even more powerful X6 M. The Audi SQ8 will really compete with the X6 xDrive50i and its 444 hp and 479 lb-ft, hence the need for the RS Q8. So, what engine could Audi opt for? One guess is the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 found in the Cayenne Turbo, where it produces 542 hp and 568 lb-ft.
What would really be interesting is if Audi asked Porsche to kindly borrow the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid's powertrain consisting of the same twin-turbo V8 connected to an electric motor for a total of 680 hp and 626 lb-ft. If we had to place a bet, we'd go with the latter because Audi can also claim it will have added yet another electrified vehicle, in this case a PHEV, to its lineup. Being both more environmentally friendly and a performance powerhouse is a winning combo.