With a whopping 591 horsepower under the hood, the 2021 Audi RS Q8 is the ultimate Audi SUV, borrowing elements from the outrageous Lamborghini Urus while still incorporating the German luxury brand’s signature styling. All models come with Quattro all-wheel drive as standard, and Audi says this beast can leap to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. The cabin is layered with premium materials—including nappa leather upholstery and your choice of either genuine carbon-fiber trim or wood accents. All of Audi’s latest tech gadgets are standard here, too, including the Virtual Cockpit digital gauge display and dual-screen infotainment system. Not into performance SUVs? Audi offers this same bonkers powertrain in the svelte RS6 Avant station wagon.
What’s New for 2021?
Audi has made no changes to the RS Q8 for 2021.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The RS Q8 comes with a six-figure price tag, but its performance, styling, and featured content are likely to be worth the investment. All RS Q8 models come with a standard adaptive air suspension system, 22-inch wheels, heated and ventilated front seats, and a 17-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo system.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The RS Q8 has a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 engine that produces 591 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. It pairs with the Quattro all-wheel-drive system and an eight-speed automatic, and there’s also a 48-volt hybrid system to improve fuel efficiency. Audi claims a zero-to-60-mph time of 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 189 mph. We’re looking forward to testing this claim at our test track when an RS Q8 visits our office for testing. In November 2019, Audi set a record at the Nürburgring race course with a camouflaged prototype of the RS Q8.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
EPA fuel-economy estimates for the RS Q8 are a dismal 13 mpg city and 19 mpg highway. That’s the price you pay for the RS Q8’s performance potential. We haven’t had a chance to test the RS Q8 on our 75-mph highway fuel economy test route, but when we do we will update this story with its test results.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The RS Q8’s five-seat cabin is mostly the same as the Q8’s, although it has some special trim pieces and sportier, more aggressively bolstered front seats to hold you in place while cornering. There are also RS logos sprinkled throughout. Passenger and cargo space carries over unchanged from the regular Q8 model, which means plenty of legroom and headroom for adults in both rows of seats. In our testing, the Q8 held eight carry-on suitcases behind its rear seat and 23 in total with the rear seat folded.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The Audi Virtual Cockpit digital gauge cluster and dual-touchscreen MMI interface have certain RS-specific displays that can show information such as torque and power output, lap times, and g-forces. Other than that, we expect the same technology offered in the Q8, including standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, navigation, and SiriusXM satellite radio.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has performed crash tests on the RS Q8, but the regular Q8 fared well in both agencies’ testing. Audi offers several driver-assistance systems on the RS Q8, but some of the most sought-after ones require adding an optional package. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Available lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Audi offers an average standard warranty that, when compared with other premium brands, looks pretty basic. Jaguar offers more value here, with longer warranties and five years of complimentary scheduled maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Complimentary scheduled maintenance is covered for one year or 10,000 miles
More Features and Specs