Audi’s RS models are developed by Audi Sport, the high-performance division of Audi AG. Apart from the R8 supercar, they add an extra level of performance to the garden variety of compacts, sedans, coupes, wagons and SUVs with the interlocking 4-ring badge. While the RS variants focus on performance, Audi Sport ensures their reliability and drivability and safety to serve as daily drivers.
Every new RS model undergoes development work at the famed Nürburgring track, with each logging at least 8,000 kilometers of testing. Through this, Audi Sport determines how RS models’ powertrain and suspension components perform under extreme conditions.
Take the RS Q8 as an example. In 2019, the RS Q8 lapped the Nürburgring’s North Loop in 7 minutes and 42.253 seconds—at present the fastest time set by a production SUV—proof of the immense dynamism of Audi Sport’s top Q model.
As an Audi Sport RS model, the RS Q8 is equipped with quattro permanent all-wheel drive, which receives the power of the 4.0 TFSI engine via an eight-speed tiptronic transmission. The quattro name represents sportiness, safe driving, technical expertise and peak performance in a competitive environment.
Standard to the RS Q8 is the RS adaptive air suspension sport which, with performance-specific damper tuning, can be set up toward dynamic handling even while retaining the model’s inherently comfortable and smooth ride. The system can also vary the RS Q8’s ride height by as much as 90 millimeters. Such capability for damper tuning means the RS Q8 can be equally at home on the racetrack, off-road trail or city streets.
Distinguishing the RS Q8 from the standard Q8 are its imposing octagonal “Singleframe”, the RS-specific radiator grille in high-gloss black, side air inlets, and the quattro blisters above the wheel arches. RS-specific trim strips further widen the RS Q8’s body by 10 millimeters in front and five millimeters in the rear, providing space for the more generous wheel track. Polishing up the look even more are the RS roof edge spoiler and rear skirt with a diffuser clip that provide increased downforce on the rear axle, and 23-inch sport alloy wheels.
In the cabin, the RS Q8 boasts of special RS displays and graphics in the Audi virtual cockpit and MMI, including a shift light. RS badges on the sport seats, illuminated door sill trims and flat-bottom leather steering wheel elevate the model. The RS Q8 also has a comprehensive range of over 30 assist systems that include adaptive cruise assist, efficiency assist, lane-change warning and 360-degree cameras.