The new Audi RS Q8

The new Audi RS Q8 image

The new standard quietly challenging the Porsche Cayenne GT

When Audi reclaimed the Nürburgring lap record for compact cars with the new generation RS3, the news was announced with great fanfare. However, when the new RS Q8 - Audi Sport's most powerful production car ever - dominated the SUV rankings with a remarkable time of 7:36.698, the brand chose to keep a low profile. Indeed, no mention of this performance was included in the initial press release, nor was any video of Frank Stippler's lap released.

A Record in silence

In the case of the RS3, the aim was to dethrone the BMW M2, an obvious development objective for Audi Sport, which was able to publicly celebrate its victory. In the case of the RS Q8, on the other hand, the vehicle that fell from the throne was the old Cayenne GT Turbo. Although this model is now obsolete for Porsche, the brand is notorious for not liking to be outdone on the Nordschleife, even by a vehicle from the same group sharing the same platform.

Unparalleled power

The new RS Q8 performance is powered by a 640bhp 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, an engine that Porsche has abandoned in favour of the new generation Cayenne, known as the 'Turbo E-Hybrid', which is equipped with a 739bhp 4.0 TFSI V8 hybrid engine. Audi Sport points to this extra power as a key factor in beating the previous record for an SUV by more than two seconds. The engine also delivers 850 Nm of torque and, thanks to a new exhaust system, produces a sportier, more evocative sound.

The RS Q8 also benefits from a number of technical improvements:

Adaptive air suspension: Tuned specifically for the RS.

Active anti-roll system: Powered by a 48-volt lithium-ion battery.

All-wheel steering: For improved manoeuvrability.

Quattro all-wheel drive: With a mechanical central differential that can send up to 85% of torque to the rear.

Performance and everyday practicality

Rolf Michl, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH, said: "The RS Q8 performance owes its new record on the Nordschleife not only to the perfect interaction between the V8 engine and suspension components, but also to the passion of the Audi Sport GmbH team for absolute performance. It also offers excellent all-round usability for the everyday use"

This last remark underlines what could be the real advantage of the RS Q8: while the old GT Turbo was formidable on the track, it was difficult to use on a daily basis. If the RS Q8 is both quicker on the Nürburgring and more user-friendly in everyday life, the team can truly celebrate a monster SUV, but in a quiet way it seems.

Improvements in aesthetics and functionality

In terms of design, the RS Q8 performance features slight cosmetic changes such as new air intakes and a different honeycomb structure in the single-frame grille. HD Matrix LED headlamps with five daytime running light signatures, including a chequered design exclusive to the RS Q8, also add a unique touch. New paint finishes such as Sakhir Gold, Ascari Blue and Chili Red are available, and exterior detailing in matt carbon rather than black adds a distinctive touch.

Inside, the RS Q8 continues to impress with confetti design options and increased use of Alcantara and Dinamica microfibre, particularly on the steering wheel. New optional 23-inch forged wheels reduce unsprung mass by around 5kg per corner, while RS ceramic brakes with 440mm front discs deliver outstanding braking performance.


While the RS Q8 has proved its technical superiority on the world's most demanding track, this is also excellent news for WOT, since this new 640bhp engine has already been added to the catalogue of vehicles compatible with our reprogramming. As a reminder, this engine was developed on our RS6 to achieve a power output of 730 bhp and 1000 Nm of torque in WOT1, enough to make any Lamborghini Urus pale in comparison!

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