Hot on the heels of last week’s reveal of the new Audi Q8 comes the first sighting of a prototype for a high-performance RS Q8 from the Audi Sport division.
Audi has previously been spotted testing an SQ8 but we know the latest tester is for an RS Q8 because of the enlarged intakes in the front fascia, massive cross-drilled brake rotors, and the two large oval-shaped exhaust tips. The latter is a signature Audi Sport design trait.
There have been lots of hints that an RS Q8 is coming. It was discovered last summer that Audi had filed trademark protection for the RS Q8 name, and the automaker also used the 2017 Geneva auto show to roll out the Q8 Sport concept, which hints at the aggressive styling we can expect.
Audi Sport is looking to almost double within the next two years the number of cars it offers, and it is SUVs that will take priority. Right now the only Audi Sport SUV is the RS Q3, but this RS Q8 plus an RS Q5 is also in the pipeline.
While the standard Q8 targets mid-size coupe-like SUVs such as the BMW X6, Land Rover Range Rover Sport and Mercedes-Benz GLE, the RS Q8 will rival high-performance versions of those vehicles, i.e. the X6 M, Range Rover Sport SVR and Mercedes-AMG GLE63, respectively.
Unfortunately there aren’t any specs out, though the current thinking is that under the hood will sit a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 with around 600 horsepower, the same one found in the Porsche Panamera and Cayenne Turbo models. Such an output would make any RS Q8 significantly more powerful than its aforementioned rivals whose outputs lie closer to the 550-hp mark.
Another possibility is pairing a V-8 with an electric motor. Such a combo already features in sister brand Porsche’s Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid and is good for 680 hp. Porsche will eventually add this powertrain to the Cayenne, whose platform is the same used for the Q8, so we could see it picked up by Audi for the RS Q8.
Look for a debut of the RS Q8 in early to mid 2019.