Audi RSQ8 review 2021

The RSQ8 is Audi’s flagship performance SUV

£121,798
Average price
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2
Out of 5

Pros

  • Monstrous performance
  • Impressive comfort
  • Upmarket interior

Cons

  • Expensive to buy
  • Very heavy
  • Thirsty
  • MPG

    0 - 0

  • CO2

    276 - 277 g/km

Model review

Audi’s RS division has traditionally specialised in fast saloons and estate cars, but with the brand’s ‘Q’ SUVs proving especially popular, the brand’s performance line is increasingly having to focus its efforts on these high-riding models instead. 

Audi’s first RS-badged SUV came with the 2013 RS Q3 and certainly got things off on a very good foot, with the second-generation version hitting showrooms in 2019. But it wasn't until 2020 that Audi introduced its second RS SUV – the RSQ8

Based on Audi’s flagship Q8 SUV, it offers monstrous performance and vast amounts of space, albeit at a rather steep price.

Latest model

The star of the show in the RSQ8 is really its engine – a monstrous 592bhp 4.0-litre V8 that’s the same as what you find in the RS6, while also broadly similar to that found in Lamborghini’s Urus SUV. 

Though the standard Q8 is already quite bold on its own accord, the RS Q8 takes things up a step further with its menacing grille – particularly on Carbon Black and Vorsprung models – and blacked-out styling. 

The RSQ8 also gets a bespoke RS-specific adaptive air suspension system, all-wheel steering and a sports differential as standard. 

Value for money

Perhaps as is to be expected on Audi’s flagship sports SUV, prices for the RSQ8 aren’t for the fainthearted. That’s because prices start from a rather ridiculous £105,370, though you do get a long list of standard kit to help justify the price – including 22-inch alloy wheels, adaptive air suspension and HD Matrix LED headlights. Prices also rise to £123,170 for the Vorsprung version, though it does help to justify the price with an exceptionally long list of driver assistance technology, as well as a 17-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system and even doors that can close by themselves. 

At the time of writing, the RSQ8 hadn’t actually been on sale for that long, though even at a year old, vast discounts were already available. We saw a Vorsprung model with just 5,000 miles on the clock available for £103,000 –a £20,000 saving in only a year.

Looks and image

The RSQ8 is a car you’ll either love or hate the look of, but one thing that can’t be denied is just how bold it looks out on the road. Especially on the stealthier-looking Carbon Black and Vorsprung models, it gets giant alloy wheels and a grille so large it could scare children out of the way. The rest of the car is a sleeker affair, though, with its coupe-like styling and advanced LED lighting. A £100,000 plus SUV probably shouldn’t blend in, and it’s safe to say that this Audi doesn’t. 

Inside, the cabin of the RSQ8 is everything you’d expect from a car of this price, with a mix of technology and quality that’s hard to beat. Headed up by twin touchscreens – one controlling the media system and a second for the climate control, it’s a very modern affair that lives up to the RSQ8’s steep price. Though there are sports seats and bespoke performance readouts on the digital dials, some might hope for a few more features to distinguish it from the regular Q8. 

The RSQ8 is quite a remarkable feat of engineering, as despite its vast size and huge 2.4-tonne weight, it handles and behaves more like a hatchback behind the wheel. A big part of that is the seriously impressive adaptive air suspension setup that manages to keep the model’s body in check when heavy cornering, but also allows for a comfortable ride – a big achievement considering its huge 22-inch alloy wheels. The V8 engine is also superb – being loud and vocal when needed, but quiet and hushed when cruising. It’s a very solid all-rounder behind the wheel, for sure. 

Space and practicality

Unlike the mechanically similar Q7 – which gets seven seats – the Q8 is a strict five-seater, though space remains vast throughout this RS model’s interior. Despite the coupe-like styling, there’s plenty of headroom and three adults will have no trouble getting comfortable in the rear. Aside from slight intrusion of the sports seats, it’s just as practical as the standard Q8, too. 

The 605-litre boot is also vast, while an electric boot is handily included as standard to aid easy access. 

Engines

All RSQ8s feature the same 4.0-litre biturbo V8 engine, which produces a monstrous 592bhp and 800Nm of torque. That enables a rather rapid 0-60mph time of 3.6 seconds, while the top speed is electronically limited to 155mph. 

Quattro all-wheel-drive is also included, with power being delivered by an eight-speed automatic gearbox. 

Running costs

Perhaps the biggest disadvantage to the RSQ8 is its high running costs, though they’re to be expected on a car of this type and no worse than what you’d get from rivals. 

Audi claims it will return just 21.1mpg, while CO2 emissions of 301g/km are some of the highest of any new car on sale today. Road tax for the first five years after initial registration is £565, too, though it will drop to £145 thereafter. 

Things to look out for<

Given the RSQ8 is relatively new and rare, not a huge amount is known about its reliability. That said, we have little evidence to suggest it shouldn’t be dependable. As with any performance car of this status, maintenance and servicing needs to be followed rigorously, and can’t be neglected. 

Rivals

You might think the market for hugely powerful premium SUVs is narrow, but that is far from the case. Key rivalries come from BMW with its X6 M Competition and Mercedes-Benz with its AMG GLC 63 S. The Range Rover Sport SVR also puts up a good fight, while if you have more budget to blow, take a look at the Lamborghini Urus, Aston Martin DBX and Bentley Bentayga Speed. 

Depreciation

A model like the RSQ8 is a magnet for depreciation, and there are certainly huge savings to be had on nearly-new models. With five-figure discounts available on examples that are less than a year old. 

Which RSQ8 to pick

Cheapest to buy when new

RS Q8 TFSI Quattro 5dr Tiptronic Rs Q8

Most MPG

RS Q8 TFSI Quattro 5dr Tiptronic Rs Q8

Fastest model (0-60)

RS Q8 TFSI Quattro 5dr Tiptronic Rs Q8

Trims explained

Three trim levels are available on the RSQ8, with all benefiting from an impressive amount of kit. Equipment highlights and prices are as follows.

RSQ8

Standard equipment on the RSQ8 includes 22-inch alloy wheels, adaptive air suspension, all-wheel steering, HD Matrix LED headlights, an electric boot and heated and ventilated electric Valcona leather seats. You also get mutlicoloured LED interior lighting, two touchscreens, a large digital dial screen and a 10-speaker sound system. It also features keyless entry and start, a reversing camera, cruise control and autonomous emergency braking.

From £105,370

Carbon Black

If you want something that looks a bit stealthier, you should choose the Carbon Black, which as its name suggests, gets black carbon styling for the grille, side sills and door mirrors. Inside, it benefits from an extended leather and Alcantara pack, a leather flat-bottomed steering wheel and carbon interior inlays. You also get large 23-inch gloss black alloy wheels, gloss black badges and an RS sports exhaust system.

From £115,870

Vorsprung

At the top of the range of the Vorsprung, which features an exceptionally long list of features. Highlights included heated rear seats, a panoramic sunroof, electric closing doors, 23-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels and massaging front seats. It also features a black styling kit, a black Alcantara headlining, a head-up display and a Bang & Olufsen sound system. A huge list of driver assistance technology is also included such as a 360-degree camera system, park assist, rear cross traffic assist and adaptive cruise control to name just a few features.

From £123,170

Summary

  1. Audi’s flagship SUV
  2. Hugely powerful V8 engine
  3. Blistering performance…
  4. Accompanied by steep running costs
  5. Roomy interior
  6. Very good to drive
  7. Premium and luxurious interior
  8. Loads of standard equipment
  9. Hugely expensive to buy
  10. A worthy flagship for Audi

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