What vehicle would you guess can reach sixty mph in only 3.4 seconds? Typically, sports cars reaching toward the supercar realm are the only vehicles to achieve this speed. Surprisingly, this is also true of the 2021 Audi RS Q8. How in the world does a hefty luxury SUV move so fast? Just like the beef on a cow, this massive machine is full of muscle, giving it unexpected performance results.
Serious power in the 2021 Audi RS Q8
Leave it to MotorTrend to test a chunky SUV wearing the RS badge of Audi. Not only is the RS Q8 quick, but it’s also powerful. The massive 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine pumps out 591 horsepower and 590 lb.-ft. of torque. This engine needs to push this much power to move an SUV that tips the scales at 5,452 pounds to a sprint speed that defies logic.
Once this big Audi reaches highway speeds, it continues driving to finish the quarter-mile run in 11.8 seconds at 116.2 mph. The top speed listed by Car and Driver is 189 mph, which is incredible in a family-sized SUV. Very few sports cars can boast speeds that rival the Q8, making this SUV one that we admired for its speed.
Is this the ultimate Audi SUV?
Open the doors to the Audi RS Q8, and you see two rows of comfortable seats swathed in premium Nappa leather (another beefy addition). The trimmings of the cabin are either carbon fiber or wood, offsetting the metal surrounds in the dashboard. Audi Virtual Cockpit is present to provide the digital readings you desire during your drive. There’s a dual-screen infotainment system for connectivity and a substantial rear area for plenty of gear.
From a comfort standpoint, this could be the ultimate Audi SUV.
Keep this SUV off the streets
Unless you live in a city littered with potholed streets, the RS Q8 should provide a decent ride. The problem here is the expectations we have of this brand. We think of an Audi SUV as softening up the drive, handling the potholes, and providing a smooth feeling on any road. The Audi RS Q8 will not do any of that for you.
The only way to find a truly smooth ride in this version of the Q8 is to take it out to a track. That being said, if you enjoy a track day after dropping the kids off at school, this could be an SUV that gives you what you desire.
Is there a better full-size luxury SUV?
There is an alternative for those searching for the type of performance found in the Audi RS Q8 but not the harshness of the drive. The MLB platform that underpins this big Audi also supports the Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT. Both are part of the VW Group, but the Porsche does things better.
The Cayenne Turbo GT is 500 pounds lighter than the Audi; it uses the same V8 engine, and it is tuned to provide an excellent drive on the street. This Porsche is no slouch on the track either; it whipped the beefy Audi soundly during testing. The performance SUV that offers everything desired is the Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT, not the hefty Audi RS Q8.
Next, check out the ten best luxury SUV models, or watch the 2021 Audi RS Q8 video below:
This article was updated on 9/7/2022.