The 600-HP 2020 Audi RS Q8 Gets Brutal Performance To Match Its Looks

Photos: Audi

The 2020 Audi RS Q8 is basically a science project for the latest technology in preserving as much energy as possible for maximum efficiency in a car that also happens to have a 600 horsepower turbocharged V8.

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And look at this green:

What a good green. Anyway, when the Q8 concept and production version hit the scene, a lot of people (including myself) didn’t love the way it looked. I stand by my opinion that the regular Q8 with the grey mouthguard accent is one of the chunkiest, tackiest things I’ve seen in some time.

But by Neptune’s beard, I have to admit this RS looks pretty tough, I can’t explain it. It’s like the visual aesthetic equivalent of the satisfaction of sniffing a permanent marker, if that makes any sense.

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Regardless, this is the RS Q8, the top performer of the bourgeois crossover, and it sure will perform. It features a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 making 600 HP and 590 lb-ft of torque, coupled to a 48-volt mild hybrid system.

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That means a belt-driven alternator at the front of the engine feeds energy into a lithium-ion battery, which can either be converted for use with the car’s traditional 12-volt electrical system, or it can be used to manage the start-stop system and shut down the engine for coasting for up to 40 seconds at a time, improving efficiency.

There’s also an optional electromechanical active roll stabilization (EAWS) which uses an electric motor between the stabilizers on both axles that can twist the stabilizers in opposite directions during cornering reducing vehicle lean. The motors can also recover energy and feed it back into the 48-volt system.

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On the performance side, Audi claims the RS can go from 0 to 62 mph in 3.8 seconds and hit 124.3 mph (200 km/h) in 13.7 seconds. The limited 155 mph top speed can be increased to 189.5 with selection of the optional dynamic package, which basically throws in the EAWS and some upgraded brakes to help you stay alive at unreasonable speeds. Meanwhile, on the tame side of things, the V8 can achieve a combined 19.4 mpg.

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The RS also notably gets adaptive air suspension, standard all-wheel steering, standard 22-inch wheels with optional 23-inchers (Audi promises that’s as big as its wheels will get, but we’ll see), and optional tinted LED matrix headlights.

It goes on sale in Germany early next year for 127,000 Euros, which translates to roughly just over $140,000, though pricing could be significantly different in the U.S. when it’s announced later.

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(Correction: The name of the car in this post has been updated to “Audi RS Q8,” which is how Audi spells it, instead of “Audi Q8 RS,” despite violating the trends of basic English, and despite other models, like the Audi TT, being “TT RS.” But whatever, you pedants have won. Have your correction. Branding is dumb and your car’s badge will mean nothing when you leave this gassy marble.)

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