2020 Audi RS Q8 is a practical and blazingly quick SUV

We’re no stranger to the magnificent 2020 Audi RS Q8. In fact, we had the utmost pleasure of testing out the new RS Q8 in December of last year. With Editor-in-chief Vincent Nguyen behind the helm, the RS Q8 unsurprisingly felt pretty much like the RS6 Avant and RS7 Sportback, and that’s a good thing.

However, speed and monstrous acceleration is only a small part of the story. What really astonishes is how the RS Q8 manages to behave like a normal Q8 if you’re not feeling playful. Audi recently announced pricing for the RS Q8, and it understandably costs a lot.

But similar to the RS6 Avant and RS7 Sportback, you’re getting a lot of car for the money.

Tell me more about that V8 engine, please

Most certainly! If you’re not familiar with the RS badge, it means Renn Sport or racing and is composed of Audi’s highest-performance road cars. Apparently, the RS Q8 is riding on the same platform as a normal Q8, but the engine is simply a masterpiece.

The 2020 Audi RS Q8 is equipped with a raucous 4.0-liter V8 producing 594-horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. Combined with an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox and Quattro all-wheel-drive, the RS Q8 rushes from 0 to 60 mph in 3.8-seconds – which is just as fast as the bonkers RS6 Avant and RS7 Sportback. Meanwhile, the standard 48V mild-hybrid assist system improves fuel economy by shutting down the V8 engine when coasting or cruising at a steady speed.

All of this allowed the RS Q8 to lap the Nurburgring with an official time of 7 minutes and 42.2-seconds, which effectively makes it the fastest production SUV to circle the famed racetrack.

Best of all, you get the proper shove of a rear-wheel drivetrain despite having all four wheels scratching the ground. In normal driving mode, the Quattro AWD system in the RS Q8 transfers 40:60 of engine torque between the front and rear wheels. But if you’re feeling frisky, the system can automatically redirect up to 70-percent to the front wheels and 60-percent of torque to the rear to offer superior traction, grip, and control.

And yeah, this also means the RS Q8 can be driven off-road. But with those gorgeous 21-inch or 22-inch wheels, why bother?

Is it really as practical as a standard Q8?

Don’t let the menacing fascia and sporty demeanor fool you. The RS Q8 may have an RS-specific honeycomb grille, larger air inlets, and bulging wheel arches; but it remains a family-friendly SUV. It offers adequate legroom, headroom, and shoulder room even for taller passengers while the boot has 21.4 cubic feet of room with the rear seats in the upright position. Of course, folding those seats down expands the cargo room to 62 cubic feet.

And since it’s an Audi, it has all the latest tech features expected from a premium SUV. The RS Q8 has standard HD matrix design LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, LED taillights with dynamic turn indicators, ventilated RS sport Valcona leather seats, a perforated RS leather steering wheel with aluminum shift paddles, and a stonking Bang & Olufsen audio system with 17-speakers and a 16-channel amplifier to deliver studio-quality sound. Audi’s virtual cockpit is also standard along with a dual-touchscreen MMI infotainment system.

How much is the 2020 Audi RS Q8?

Hold on to your wallet. The 2020 Audi RS Q8 starts at around $114,000 (including taxes and destination charges). That’s a lot of money for what is essentially a five-seat SUV, right? However, you need to look at it from a different perspective.

The RS Q8 is equipped with the same 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged engine as the Lamborghini Urus, albeit detuned to produce less power. But then again, the Urus is $100,000 more than the RS Q8 and is decidedly more usable in the real world.

If all of this is a bit excessive, maybe the Audi SQ8 with a lower-output 500-horsepower V8 is more to your liking.