Trucks & SUVs

The 2021 Audi RS Q8 Is the R8 of the SUVs

The 2021 Audi RS Q8 is the brand’s all-new high-performance SUV that touts an enormous horsepower figure and a mean look. And while most are quick to reference the Lamborghini Urus when describing the new hot-rod SUV as they share the same drivetrain, we would rather focus on the car’s understated luxury and more-comfortable nature than that of the Urus. In that sense, we would liken it to being more of the “Audi R8 of the SUVs.”

The Audi RS Q5 is the Urus’ comfortable cousin

Audi RS Q8
2021 Audi RS Q8 | Audi

Just to get to the “meat and potatoes” of this potent SUV, the Audi RS Q8 is powered by a 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V8 engine that pushes out 591 horsepower and a pavement-pounding 590 lb-ft of torque. For comparison’s sake, that’s about as much as the R8 puts out with its V10 engine, and yes, it’s the same engine found in Lamborghini’s Urus, however, it’s detuned. The Urus produces 641 hp and 621 lb-ft.

Comparisons aside, the beauty of the Audi RS Q8 is that it sticks with the company’s ethos of making what would otherwise be considered a supercar, comfortable enough for the daily drive. According to Motortrend, Audi’s Technical Project Manager, Michael Burma, stated, “We wanted the RS Q8 to have the outstanding performance of a supercar plus everyday usability. Sure, there’s some overlap (with Lamborghini), but we went in a different direction.”  

RELATED: First-Generation Audi R8: A Surprisingly Affordable Super Car

Audi RS Q8
2021 Audi RS Q8 | Audi

The Audi RS Q8 is ready to play

Lambo comparisons aside, the Audi RS Q8 competes with the BMW X6M and the Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 63. And while it’s actually down on power compared to those two SUVs, the RS Q8 is still a solid performer. In addition to its beast of an engine, Audi also included an eight-speed automatic transmission matched with the brand’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system along with a set of massive 22-inch wheels wrapped in sticky tires to get all that power to the ground. In case that wheel and tire package isn’t large enough, you can always opt for the 23-inch wheels, which also come with a set of large carbon-ceramic brakes.

That’s not all, of course, Audi basically didn’t leave anything out of the RS Q8 as four-wheel steering is also included as standard equipment. You can even opt for the Dynamic Package, which includes an electromechanical roll bar for added stability, and if you would like to change the suspension settings, that not an issue as the RS Q8 comes with an adaptive air suspension that has 3.5-inches of ride height variability. You know, in case you actually want to take this monstrous SUV off-road. And if you do, then you can choose the “off-road” setting, as the RS Q8 actually has eight different drive modes.

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The Audi RS Q8 is one of the fastest SUVs on the planet

What does all of this suspension technology and power equate to? According to Audi, the RS Q8 can get up to 60 in about 3.7 seconds. No, it’s not as quick as an R8 (or a Urus), but it’s damn quick for an SUV that weighs over 5,000 pounds. On top of that, the Audi RS Q8 broke the record at the Nürburgring for putting the down the fastest SUV lap time of 7 minutes and 42 seconds. It beat the old record by seven seconds.

RELATED: Is the 591-Hp, Urus-Engine Audi RS Q8 the Best New Audi?

Audi RS Q8
2021 Audi RS Q8 | Audi

So how much does all this performance cost?

About $114,500. And although most of us might not be able to handily afford that amount, keep in mind that it is nearly $100,000 less than it’s Lambo cousin and its’ R8 stablemate. Plus it’s more comfortable. That sounds like a pretty good deal to us.