Times are changing indeed if that is a hybrid underneath that hood

Audi’s lineup of performance SUVs is adding another member to the fold when the flagship model, the Q8 RS, finally makes its long-awaited debut in September at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show. We’re less than three weeks away before Audi unveils the Q8 RS so ahead of the big day, the German automaker brought its newest performance SUV to the Nurburgring for some last-minute tweaking. This video of the Q8 RS running around the ‘Ring has been making the rounds, in part because of a particular sound the SUV is generating. That’s not the sound of a diesel engine, folks. That’s the sound of a V-8 gas engine with — heaven forbid — a mild-hybrid setup? Audi hasn’t confirmed the powertrain details of the Q8 RS, but all shall be revealed in a matter of weeks. For now, watch the video of the Q8 RS running roughshod over the Nurburgring and listen to the sound it’s making while doing it.

At this point, it looks like Audi’s done with all the table setting for the RS Q8. We know that it’s the automaker’s go-faster version of the flagship Q8 SUV. Simply put, it’s Audi’s version of the Lamborghini Urus, which means that we should expect it to pack power and performance potency the likes of which we rarely get to see in the SUV world outside of models like the Urus, Bentley Bentayga, and perhaps the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S-E Hybrid.

If the RS Q8 is going to be what we expect it to be, it’s going to need to a potent powertrain setup to achieve that kind of output it needs to hit the level occupied by the aforementioned super-SUVs.

On that end, the audible sound coming from the RS Q8 sounds a lot like a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine — the same unit used by the Urus — working in concert with some electric motors, creating a mild-hybrid setup that should give the SUV a shot of extra boost to go along with improved efficiency.

Video: Is That a Mild-Hybrid V-8 Making All That Noise Under the Hood of the 2020 Audi Q8 RS?
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To be fair, the RS Q8 is expected to come with a few powertrain options, including the aforementioned V-8 unit working as a solo act under the hood of the SUV. In this configuration, the RS Q8 is expected to carry around 500 horsepower in its base form. It’s possible, given the output bandwidth of the V-8, that Audi could offer more powerful versions of the SUV using the same engine.

Remember, Lamborghini used the same engine on the Urus, and that unit produces a mouth-watering 650 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque. I do think it’s unlikely that Audi would use the same setup as the Lamborghini, in part because Volkswagen may not sign off on it. But that doesn’t mean that the Audi RS Q8 can’t reach those power and performance figures. If there is such a version, perhaps it would be the version that’s carrying a hybrid powertrain. That would at least explain why the RS Q8 in the video sounds the way it does. P

erhaps a hybrid version of the RS Q8 is in the works, one that would generate more than 600 horsepower and the kind of mountain-moving amount of torque that would help establish it as Audi’s unquestioned flagship SUV.

Remember, the new Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid debuted only a few days ago packing 670 horsepower. Is there a reason the top-of-the-line Audi RS Q8 can’t have that kind of power on tap, too?

If a hybrid Audi RS Q8 comes to fruition, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to imagine that it can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in under four seconds.

The Urus, for all the talk about its supercar roots, can blitz that distance in 3.6 seconds before maxing out at a top speed of 190 mph. If the Audi RS Q8 packs that kind of output in hybrid form, there’s no reason to think that it can’t give the Urus, or any other high-performance SUV, a serious run for its money.

Further reading

2019 Audi RS Q8 Exterior
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Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Audi RS Q8.

2019 Audi Q8 Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Audi Q8.

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