Brute in a Suit
The RSQ8 is Audi’s biggest and heaviest RS model ever. But is this light-footed heavy athlete still an RS?
Come on. Is that for real? A mighty SUV with supercar performance? A bi-turbo V8 with 600hp. Audi, I acknowledge your E-tron electrification activities, but this is Sparta. More than 5m long and almost 2.2m wide, weighing 2.4 tons.
I recently experienced both the Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 and the Range Rover Sport SVR. The Bavarian Urus is even more powerful. 3.8 seconds from 0 to 100km/h, 13.7 seconds to 200km/h. In a box. Well, an extremely attractive one for that matter. Especially in Orca black. And while the normally chromed Audi rings look quite civilized in the mighty grille, the optional blacked-out package turns the face of the RSQ8 into Darth Vader. Pure menace.
And Audi did an amazing job in creating a baby RSQ8 with the RSQ3. So if you want to impress at entry level RS SUV performance, and save a not quite inconsiderate amount of money, go for the smaller sibling. From a distance it looks very much like the RSQ8. You can almost hear latter breathing through the blacked-out grille: Look, I am your father.
Back to the Audi RSQ8
Up until now I didn’t even know, that you can have 23inch wheels on an SUV. With 10inch red calipers, weighing about 50kgs each. Guess how much those optional RS ceramic brakes with brake calipers in blue are setting you back? R202 000. Still a bargain compared to its Italian brother, the Urus.
But can the RSQ8 do off road. I am reluctant. But then I remember something. By scrolling and swiping through the menu, I rediscover off road mode in Audi Drive Select, just above all road. I push the button and the RSQ8 lifts off the tarmac. 50mm to be exact. Well, that looks much more like a 4x4 now. Let’s hit the dirt. And after a while you forget about the 23inch wheels and the base price of almost R2.4 mil. You’re just having fun with the Quattro.
Back on tar, when you exceed the speed beyond 30km/h the car automatically lowers itself again. Beyond 160km/h a full 40mm, compared to normal ride height. So yes, there is a 90mm ride height difference with air suspension.
In food terms this Bavarian Urus is very much a crispy pork knuckle, also known as Eisbein in South Africa. Not only is it the staple diet in Audi’s homeland, it also appears as if you won’t be able to cope with it. But if you take it apart and reconstruct it, like Peter does on Clarence Drive with the substantial Eisbein Burger he is preparing there at his food stand, you can persevere. You get used to it, embrace it.
Considering the purchase price most RSQ8 customers will be a little bit older and might encounter a bit of a struggle getting into Audi’s fastest car, the R8 or even second fastest, the RS6 Avant. Then this easily accessible monster SUV with super sportscar performance is the sensible choice.
3.7-l. six-cylinder turbo, paired with an 8-speed auto PDK
4.0-l. twin-turbo V8, paired with an 8-speed tiptronic
441kW & 800Nm
in 3.8 seconds
from R2 354 500 (as driven R2 744 280)
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