Audi RS Q8: Green and bare it

2022 Audi RS Q8 4

What is it?

Roots of the modern large SUV lie in the lumpen load luggers not more than a paddock or two from basic farm implements.

Then, these agricultural four-wheel drive wagons jumped the fence, evolving into family-friendly people movers with prodigious towing capacity and the ability to take on tough going.

Along the way, probably attracted by the ‘sport’ in ‘sport utility vehicle’, a string of luxury sports car makers, such as Porsche, Jaguar, Mercedes AMG, BMW, Jeep SRT and Maserati, fancied their chances with performance models.

Even aristocrats Bentley and Rolls-Royce got in on the act.

Add to this cohort the German automobile giant Audi/VW — welcome to the Audi RS Q8.

Managing director of Audi Australia, Paul Sansom, said of the RS Q8: “Creating a vehicle that truly serves its purpose as a functional, versatile family vehicle without compromising on the kind of stratospheric performance that is expected of an RS flagship is a remarkable achievement by Audi Sport GmbH.”

2022 Audi RS Q8 3

What’s it cost?

Such performance does not come cheap. The RS Q8 sells from $208,500, plus on-road costs — $43,000 up on previous top-spec SQ8.

Good news is Audi recently upped its warranty from three five years with unlimited kilometres.

The all-new RS Q8 is offered with the comprehensive Audi service plan package, priced at $4060 for five years.

Generally, the RS Q8 fits the large SUV bill to a ‘T’ – more ‘utility’ than ‘sport’ – even though it’s reported to have its own RS body styling.

Matrix headlamps, incorporating dynamic indicators, above twin air dams, flanking a black single-frame radiator grille, dominate the front.

Convenience and comfort are enhanced by power-assisted door closure, electric tailgate, privacy glass and panoramic glass sunroof.

Other upper echelon features include a convenience key, power exterior mirrors with heating, auto dimming, with memory and passenger kerb-side functions.

Hang on, what’s this, then? Filling out the wheel arches are twenty-three-inch alloy wheels with 5-Y spoke pattern in matt titanium, and peeking out from behind, red brake calipers.

That’s more like it, sport. Loose-wheel detection and anti-theft bolts are incorporated as a bonus.

The RS Q8 calls on Audi’s new twin-screen MMI for infotainment, coming with a 10.1-inch upper and 8.6-inch lower screen.

Incorporated are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, with sound being delivered through a 17-speaker, 730W Bang & Olufsen audio.

The RS Q8, like the SQ8, does not have an ANCAP safety rating. However, the Q8 on which they are based, boasts a five-star score based on 2018 testing.

A full suite of safety technology is offered with the RS Q8, including adaptive cruise control with start-stop engine assist, front and rear parking sensors, Audi pre-sense front and rear, active lane and side assist, head-up display and a 360-degree camera with kerb view.

Standard equipment also includes autonomous emergency braking with junction assist, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, safe exit warning, adaptive cruise control, plus front, side and curtain airbags.

2022 Audi RS Q8 1

What’s it go like?

RS Q8 shares the same twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine as the Audi RS6 and RS7, producing 441kW of power and a thumping 800Nm of torque between 2200 and 4000 rpm.

It’s good for zero-to-100 km/h time of 3.8 seconds, just 0.2 seconds shy of the RS6 and RS7.

The prodigious powerplant is mated with an eight-speed torque-converter automatic and all-wheel drive.

Heated front and rear seats, four-way lumbar support, four-zone climate control, electric sunblind for rear side windows (manual for rear window), an air quality package and illuminated door sills all come standard.

Coloured ambient light strips spread across dash and doors dozens of colours and are split into two ‘levels’ – primary and contours – enabling choice of two different colours at a time.

Second-row seats are comfortable and have ample headroom and legroom.

Occupants have a small screen to control climate control settings.

There are also two USB-A outlets and a 12V outlet.

A centre console bin is all-but absent. Under the lid are a wireless charging pad and a small storage slot, plus USB outlets.

There are two cupholders up front in the centre.

A mild hybrid system is said to save 0.8 litres of fuel per 100km, depending on how it’s driven.

On test, the RS Q8 consumption ranged from 8.6 litres on the motorway to 13-plus in the city.

Selectable RS modes summoned by a single button on the steering wheel, offer a sportier instrument layout with additional information, including a G-force meter.

There’s a choice between Off-Road, Allroad, Efficiency, Comfort, Auto and Dynamic drive modes, as well as customisable RS functions that allow suspension, steering, throttle response and vehicle sound to be altered.

Surprisingly, the track orientated Dynamic mode is still comfortable enough for town work.

It does not add too much weight to the steering, while lowering ride height and RS Q8’s engine note.

While not so annoying as some on the market, the lane-keep assist can be easily switched off via a button at the end of a stalk, while other driver assist systems are controlled via the touchscreen.

2022 Audi RS Q8 7

What we like?

  • Stratospheric performance
  • 17-speaker, 730W Bang & Olufsen audio
  • Full suite of safety technology
  • Dynamic mode still comfortable

2022 Audi RS Q8 5

What we don’t like?

  • The price
  • Lane-keep assist annoying (but can be switched off)

2022 Audi RS Q8 6

The bottom line?

From ragged serfs to well-bred good sports, large SUVs have come a long way.

There’s no better example of the metamorphosis than the Audi RS Q8, which technically and performance-wise is well credentialed to wear its eye-watering price tag.

Bet the e-tron version is buzzing around in the background.

2022 Audi RS Q8 2

CHECKOUT: Audi SQ2: The devil made me do it

CHECKOUT: Now’s the time to take the Audi tour

Audi RS Q8 4. 0L TFSI, priced from $208,500
  • Looks - 6/10
  • Performance - 8/10
  • Safety - 8/10
  • Thirst - 5/10
  • Practicality - 7/10
  • Comfort - 7/10
  • Tech - 8/10
  • Value - 5/10

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