Lambo spirit, German refinement

The 2020 Audi RS Q8 is the high-performance version of the Audi Q8. The latter was introduced as a competitor for the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, so the 2020 RS Q8 competes against the BMW X6 M and Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 Coupe. The 2020 Audi RS Q8 also goes against the Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupe,, which is built around similar underpinnings. The 2020 RS Q8 stands out in this segment thanks to its unique design, but the engine is another highlight. That’s because the 2020 Audi RS Q8 is powered by a mildly detuned version of the 4.0-liter V-8 found in the Lamborghini Urus. With almost 600 horsepower at its disposal, the 2020 Audi RS Q8 is one of the quickest SUVs in this niche. Let’s find out more about that in the comprehensive review below.

  • 2020 Audi RS Q8
  • Year:
    2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V8
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    592
  • Torque @ RPM:
    590
  • Displacement:
    4.4 L
  • 0-60 time:
    3.7 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    189 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

2020 Audi RS Q8 Exterior Style

  • Aggressive exterior styling
  • Evolves Audi’s latest design language
  • Big fenders, big wheels
  • Some Audi Quattro inspiration
  • Larger central intake
  • New grille insert design
  • Pumped-up aero elements
  • Laser headlights and taillights
  • Aluminum and carbon fiber trim bits
2020 Audi RS Q8 Exterior
- image 874078

Just like the regular Q8, the RS Q8 draws its design from the Sport Concept that Audi unveiled back in 2017. Although it’s almost as big as the Q7, but it looks sleeker and more aggressive.

The front fascia features the traditional Singleframe grille, but the element is unique for this model.

The grille is wider, taller, and features sharper corners for a menacing look. The frame is much thicker than on other Audi models and extends toward the headlamps.

While the regular Q8 features vertical and horizontal slats in the grille, the RS model boasts a honeycomb-style design. The frame is also finished in black instead of the usual chrome. The front air inlets are also finished in gloss black (and surrounded by body-color elements), while the blade element atop the splitter features a matte aluminum look.

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The side view is very similar to the Q8, so the RS looks like slightly taller and bigger performance hatchback.

It rides on massive 22-inch wheels tucked under wide wheel arches and features sportier side skirts and black mirror caps. The window frame is also black as standard. Of course, the wheel design is unique to this model. The shape of the roof is a tribute to the original Quattro notchback of the 1980s, a feature you won’t see on another Audi SUV.

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The rear fascia is again unique in the lineup thanks to the short decklid and the light bar that runs over the entire width of the fascia. This light bar is also part of the upper LED signature light that goes downward toward the corners. The area between the main taillights is made of carbon-fiber on the RS model. The bumper is pretty much identical to the standard Q8, but the diffuser sports a unique design. There a fake honeycomb grille at the top and a sporty diffuser element at the bottom. The rectangular exhaust pipes at the corner were replaced by larger, round outlets. The entire diffuser is made from carbon-fiber.

Finally, the RS Q8 sports a bigger spoiler atop the tailgate.

Not only it improves the SUV’s looks, but it also provides more downforce on the rear axle for improved balance at high speed.

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2020 Audi RS Q8 Interior Design

  • Resembles new A8 and Q8 concept in terms of layout
  • Horizontal elements throughout
  • Multiple touchscreens in the dash
  • Materials like glossy black trim, aluminum surrounds, leather upholstery
  • Audi Virtual cockpit behind the wheel
  • More refined than the Lambo Urus
  • Latest driver-assist tech
2020 Audi RS Q8 Interior
- image 874061

While the exterior is unique to this model, the interior is based on the Q7. The good news is that the Q8 also features a decent amount of unique features. The continuous air vent strip is placed at the top of the dashboard, while the lower section features carbon-fiber trim on the passenger side. Just like on the regular Q8, the background matches that of the infotainment screen, leaving the impression that the entire dash is just a big display. The blue ambient lighting of the standard Q8 was replaced with red in the RS model. And this results in a cool contrast with the carbon-fiber trim on the dash and the center console.

The MMI touch system in the RS Q8 is similar to the standard Q8 and consists of two different screens.

There’s a 10.1-inch unit in the center stack for infotainment duty and a 12.3-inch that acts as an instrument cluster. The cool thing is that both displays feature bespoke RS graphics and menus. For instance, the instrument cluster displays details like output, torque, G-forces, lap times, temperature, and tire pressure. It also includes shift lights tell you to upshift when the rev limit is reached. The optional head-up display also features RS-specific graphics.

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The wide center console, which features carbon-fiber trim and red ambient lighting, is flanked by a pair of sportier seats wrapped in fine leather with a diamond-quilt pattern. The seats are completely black, but the white stitching makes thins a bit more interesting. You’ll find the same combination on the door panels.
The RS Q8 is obviously packed with convenience features. The standard package includes LTE Advanced data transfer, Wi-Fi hotspot, a navigation system with intelligent suggestions, and Car-to-X services for traffic and hazard information. Add the optional Audi Connect key, and you can lock and unlock the car and start the engine using your smartphone.

2020 Audi RS Q8 Interior
- image 874063

The sporty RS Q8 remains almost as practical as its standard sibling.

Trunk space behind the second-row seats is rated at 21.4 cubic feet, which is on par with most competitors.

Fold the rear seats, and the usable trunk grows to 60.7 cubic feet. That’s a drop of around eight cubic feet compared to the Q7, but it makes sense given the sleek roof.

2020 Audi RS Q8 Interior
- image 874060

At 21.4 cubic feet with the rear seats in place, the RS Q8 falls behind the BMW X6 M, which is rated at 27.4 cubic feet. On the other hand, it offers a tad more than the Porsche Cayenne Coupe, which has room for 21.2 cubic feet of luggage. The Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe comes in at 23 cubic feet, a small 1.6-cubic-foot increase over the RS Q8.

With the rear seats folded flat, the RS Q8's 60.7-cubic-foot capacity climbs above the BMW X6 M, rated at 59.6 cubic feet.

The RS Q8 also wins the battle against the Porsche Cayenne Coupe, which can swallow "only" 54.3 cubic feet. But the RS Q8 offers a bit less trunk space than the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, rated at 63.2 cubic feet.

2020 Audi RS Q8 Drivetrain And Performance

  • Twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8
  • Engine shared with Lamborghini Urus
  • 592 horsepower
  • 590 pound-feet of torque
  • 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds
  • Top speed at up to 189 mph
  • Carbon composite brakes at all four corners
  • Mammoth rubber and wheel package
  • Adaptive suspension components
2020 Audi RS Q8 Drivetrain
- image 874033

Like many RS-badged models, the RS Q8 draws juice from a V-8 engine. But this V-8 is far from regular.

The twin-turbo 4.0-liter unit is shared with the Lamborghini Urus and cranks out an impressive 592 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of twist.

It’s not as powerful as the Urus, though. The Lambo’s engine cranks out 641 horsepower and 627 pound-feet, so the RS Q8 falls behind by 49 horses and 37 pound-feet. But the RS Q8 is by far the most powerful version of the Q8, as well as the most powerful SUV from Audi.

But it’s not the most powerful vehicle in this niche. The BMW X6 M comes with similar output at 591 horsepower and 553 pound-feet, but the X6 M Competition generates 617 horses, an extra 25. The Cayenne Turbo Coupe features a similar 4.0-liter V-8, but it’s rated at "only" 542 horses and 568 pound-feet. Porsche also offers a Turbo S model with 671 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of twist, but it’s an E-Hybrid model, so the V-8 is backed by an electric motor.

2020 Audi RS Q8 Drivetrain
- image 874047

Mercedes-Benz has yet to unveil the new-generation GLE 63 Coupe as of February 2020, but we already know it will arrive with a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 good for 563 horsepower and 553 pound-feet. But Mercedes will also offer a GLE 63 S model with 603 horses and 627 pound-feet, 11 horsepower and 37 pound-feet more than the Audi RS Q8.

So what about performance? Well, the RS Q8 hits 60 mph from a standing start in an amazingly quick 3.7 seconds. The impressive bit is that it’s quicker than some rivals that boast more oomph. For instance, it’s a tenth second quicker than the BMW X6 M Competition. It should also be on par with the upcoming Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe. The only crossover that’s quicker is the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid Coupe, which hits 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. But as I said above, this SUV is a hybrid, and the comparison isn’t fair.

2020 Audi RS Q8 Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 874071

Its top speed is also impressive high with the right options. The SUV tops out at 155 mph in standard trim, but add the ceramic brakes, and Audi unlocks the 189-mph benchmark. That’s 12 mph higher than the BMW X6 M equipped with the M Driver’s Package and 15 mph higher than the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 fitted with the AMG Driver’s Package. It’s also six mph higher than the Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupe. Actually, the RS Q8 is almost as fast as the Lamborghini Urus, which hits a top speed of 190 mph.

Like any high-performance Audi out there, the RS Q8 is fitted with a permanent Quattro all-wheel-drive system. Power is routed to all four wheels through an eight-speed Tiptronic gearbox. The SUV also features wheel-selective torque control that improves handling by providing additional traction across each axle through individual wheel braking. The rear differential also kicks in during dynamic cornering to distribute torque between the rear wheels.

Audi RS Q8 Chassis and Suspension

2020 Audi RS Q8 Drivetrain
- image 874044

The RS Q8 rides on an adaptive air suspension as standard. This system features controlled damping, so the RS Q8 performs well both on paved roads and off the beaten track. Granted, it won’t match the Q7’s performance off the paved road, but the RS-specific damper tuning enables a comfortable ride in most scenarios.

The electromechanical active roll stabilization system also minimizes body roll while cornering at speed, while the all-wheel steering improves agility at low speeds and stability at high speeds. The variable ground clearance and the hill descent control feature keep the RS Q8 stable when the pavement ends.

2020 Audi RS Q8 Drivetrain
- image 874045

You can run through all the settings above through the standard Audi Drive Select system. It features seven different profiles: Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, Allroad, Offroad, and the individually configurable RS-specific modes RS1 and RS2. Changing these settings will influence the engine and transmission, power steering, the air suspension, all-wheel steering, and engine sound.

2019 Audi RS Q8 Prices

2020 Audi RS Q8 Exterior
- image 874016

Pricing for the RS Q8 is not yet available, but we can estimate it based on how much Audi asks for other RS-badged models. For instance, most RS cars feature a premium higher than 65% over their standard siblings, and it’s safe to assume that it will be the same for the RS Q8. With the regular Q8 priced from $68,200, my best guess is that the RS Q8 will probably start from around $115,000 before options. This sticker will put it on par with range-topping versions of the BMW X6 M and Mercedes-AMG GLE 63, but below the Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupe, which retails from $130,100.

2019 Audi RS Q8 Competition

BMW X6 M

2020 BMW X6 M Exterior
- image 874123

The X6 is the SUV that started this niche a few generations ago, and just like the X5, it comes in a beefed-up version with an M badge. Redesigned for the 2020 model year, the X6 M looks more aggressive than ever and packs loads of state-of-the-art technology. Two engine options are available, both with a twin-turbo, 4.4-liter V-8 at the center. The standard model comes with 591 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, while the Competition version packs a bit more punch at 617 horsepower. Pricing for the BMW X6 X starts from $108,600, while the Competition model comes in at $117,600 before options.

Read our full review of the 2020 BMW X6 M

Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupe

2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe Exterior
- image 831914

Although the Cayenne is one of the veteran nameplates of the midsize SUV market, Porsche didn’t launch a coupe variant until 2018. The German SUV is a solid competitor in the higher performance market thanks to a couple of Turbo models, also powered by a turbocharged V-8 engine. First up, there the base Turbo rated at 542 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque. Porsche no longer offers a Turbo S model, but you can buy the Turbo S E-Hybrid model. The gas-electric model pairs the V-8 with an electric motor for a total output of 671 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of twist. It’s the quickest and the most powerful in this comparison, but it’s also the only one with an electric motor. Pricing starts from $130,100 for the Turbo Coupe and from $164,400 for the Turbo S E-Hybrid Coupe.

Read our full review of the 2020 Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupe

Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 Coupe

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 Exterior
- image 874973

The GLE Coupe was introduced a few years ago as the first proper competitor for the BMW X6. The SUV was redesigned in 2019, and Mercedes already rolled out AMG variants of the regular SUV, but the range-topping coupe is not yet available. A launch will happen in 2020, and the coupe will feature the same power options as the boxy GLE. The coupe-styled Merc will feature the familiar twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 in both models The GLE 63 will generate 563 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, while the AMG GLE 63 S will come with 603 horses and 627 pound-feet. Pricing will probably start from around $105,000 for the standard model and around $115,000 for the top-of-the-line version.

Read our speculative review of the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 Coupe

Conclusion

2020 Audi RS Q8 Exterior
- image 874027

Fast, luxurious SUV’s are all the rage these days, and the 2020 Audi RS Q8 will undoubtedly be a huge hit in the segment. With Lamborghini-esque power under the hood and the very latest Audi refinement in the cabin, it brings all the good stuff needed to run against the top competitors from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche. Looks are also on Audi’s side. While both the BMW X6 M and the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 Coupe have that horrible hunchback stance, the Porsche Cayenne Coupe looks a bit too much like the regular Coupe. The RS Q8, on the other hand, stands out from the Q7 it is based on and also looks a bit better than the competition.

  • Leave it
    • How will it ride compared to the Merc and Bimmer?
    • Competition isn’t slowing down anytime soon
    • Might steal a few sales from the Lambo

Spy Shots

July 18, 2018 - Audi RS Q8 Hits The Nürburgring!

2020 Audi RS Q8 Exterior
- image 787397
2020 Audi RS Q8 Exterior
- image 787401

Once again, we find the Audi RS Q8 shaping up to be one big, bad performance machine! That much should be obvious just from the way it looks, what with its flared wheel arches, deep intakes, and stout exhaust pipes. And then there are the wheels - just look at those things! They’re friggin’ enormous!

That said, the speed in the RS Q8 is much more than skin deep. Under the mammoth rollers lies a set of six-pot composite brakes and high-spec suspension components, while motivation is provided by the vaunted Lamborghini Urus. Output is still a mystery, though. Check out the "Drivetrain and Performance" for additional info.

June 12, 2018 – Brake and Tow Testing with Less Camo

2020 Audi RS Q8 Exterior Spyshots
- image 783181
2020 Audi RS Q8 Exterior Spyshots
- image 783183

At this point, it’s pretty safe to assume that the RS Q8 will be a poor man’s Lamborghini Urus. It will use the same engine and might even deliver the same 650 horsepower. It will, however, have the same Audi styling we’ve grown to love (or hate.) This time around, it’s dropped a lot of the camo above the waste and some below. There are weird plastic inserts in the inner corner of the taillights that could be some kind of sensor. Meanwhile, it’s sporting a grille that mimics what Audi will put on the production version but doesn’t have the stand-out trim around it that we loved to hate on the new Q8. Rest assured, however, that it will come.

The front fascia has changed rather considerably. The corner air intakes are a bit larger and now come to a point on the inside, cutting down the amount of plastic between them and the grille. The air dam has also been extended to run the full width of the fascia with a small zig-zag on each end to drop it below the air intakes. It’s undoubtedly rolling on bigger wheels and now has a production-style hood with the two mildly aggressive body lines.

Around back, Audi has peeled the tap off the taillights, revealing the same look we saw on the standard Q8 – you know the hatch-wide stripe that runs between the taillights? They appear a little larger now thanks to the lack of camo, and the exhaust outlets have been replaced by the usual RS-style oval outlets. Our photographers reported that it did, indeed, have the larger RS-style composite brakes and a much deeper exhaust note that all but confirms the Urus engine under the hood.

Whether or not Audi will down tune it a bit remains to be seen but, if it carries the same power output, you can bet we’ll be seeing a more powerful version of the Urus in the near future, so things could turn out rather strange by the time this thing goes into production. There is no official debut date set at this point, but Audi seems to be moving quickly so we could see it later this year as a 2019 model. If not, it’ll definitely show face in mid-2019 and go on sale after that.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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