2020 Audi RS Q8 first drive evaluate: Do-it-all SUV was a decade within the making
“The Audi RS Q8 skillfully blends efficiency, know-how, and luxury.”
- Good, user-friendly know-how
- Fast V8 engine
- Surprisingly sharp dealing with
- Low-feedback steering
- Fingerprint-prone touchscreen
The hybrid automobile phase was woefully bland firstly of the last decade that’s about to come back to an in depth. Gasoline-electric know-how was usually a science truthful project-like compilation of elements that saved gas whereas making a boring automobile even much less thrilling. As 2020 nears, carmakers from everywhere in the automotive spectrum have turned the definition of a hybrid on its head with compelling fashions which are greater than the sum of their drivetrain’s elements. The 2020 Audi RS Q8 is certainly one of them.
The RS Q8 is a sportier evolution of the Q8 that’s positioned on the prime of Audi Sport’s SUV vary. Launched on the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Present, it’s nonetheless a number of months away from its market introduction, so the German agency hasn’t finalized pricing, trim ranges, and different market-specific particulars but. We don’t know the way a lot it would price, however take into account that the common Q8 carries a base worth of $68,200, so pricing will virtually actually begin above the six-digit mark. That’s simply an estimate; full particulars will floor within the weeks main as much as its on-sale date within the U.S.
What makes the RS Q8 a hybrid?
I believed you’d by no means ask. Let’s get one factor out of the best way: This isn’t a fuel-sipping hatchback like a Toyota Prius, and it’s unable to maneuver if its engine is turned off just like the plug-in Q5 TFSI E can. Its major supply of energy is a mighty, 4.0-liter V8 engine twin-turbocharged to 600 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. The eight spins the 4 wheels through an eight-speed automated transmission and the most recent evolution of Audi’s time-tested Quattro all-wheel drive system. In the event you’re experiencing déjà vu, that’s possible as a result of the identical drivetrain powers the second-generation RS 7 Sportback, a automobile so fast it gave my telephone wings once I drove it for the primary time. The RS 6 Avant that’s lastly headed to America makes use of it, too.
The hybrid system toils away within the background with out drawing pointless consideration to itself, and the motive force by no means wants to consider it.
Thus far, so good, besides it doesn’t sound like a hybrid, does it? Hold studying the specs sheet and also you’ll find out about a belt-driven, 48-volt alternator-starter that begins the V8 in a flash after it stops at a light-weight to save lots of gas, and powers most of the onboard electronics. The delicate hybrid system is surprisingly compact, so the elements that make it up don’t problem the occupants or their baggage for area within the cabin. You don’t even discover it’s there; it silently toils away within the background with out drawing pointless consideration to itself, and the motive force by no means wants to consider the system.
Audi’s engineers added one other string to the RS Q8’s bow. Its cylinder-on-demand know-how does precisely what you assume it does. It’s not a part of the hybrid system, to be clear, but it surely turns the V8 right into a frugal V4 by shutting down 4 cylinders when further energy isn’t wanted. In the event you’re racing to the shop to purchase dinner earlier than your in-laws arrive, you’ll need to summon the V8’s full output. In the event you’re cruising alongside, barely touching the throttle, you received’t even discover 4 cylinders are sleeping.
How does it stability tech and luxury?
The RS Q8 performs the hybrid sport beneath the radar, but it surely’s happy with the Audi emblem on its nostril. Sit behind the steering wheel, and also you’re surrounded by supplies which are good to take a look at and to the touch. The cockpit’s primary format is similar to the common Q8’s, and to what you discover in different latest additions to the corporate’s vary, just like the A7 fastback and the A6 sedan. Within the driver’s seat, you face a digital instrument cluster that’s configurable utilizing buttons on the steering wheel. The driving force can select to have the map stretch practically your entire width of the 12.3-inch display, or go for a sportier, RS-specific format, for instance.
If the automobile is off, it appears to be like like there’s no touchscreen for the infotainment system; that’s as a result of it blends into the black panel on the dashboard. Turning on the ignition (which is a quarter-sized button subsequent to the stubby gear selector) wakes up the display and boots up Audi’s MMI Contact Response infotainment system. The RS Q8’s powertrain illustrates how far hybrid know-how has are available 10 quick years, and its infotainment system proves in-car connectivity has develop into much more superior throughout the identical time interval. Fortunately so, as a result of early techniques universally sucked; it’s no marvel Apple CarPlay and Android Auto grew to become vastly in style as turnkey alternate options to the native software program packed in new vehicles.
MMI Contact Response’s major interface is smartphone-like within the sense that the house menu consists of clearly labeled icons logically organized in rows
Displayed on a 10.1-inch touchscreen, MMI Contact Response’s major interface is smartphone-like within the sense that the house menu consists of clearly labeled icons logically organized in rows. I like being able to maneuver them round — once more, like on a telephone. The graphics are sharp and color-coded when wanted, which makes the software program intuitive to make use of regardless of the wealth of data it incorporates. There’s a second, 8.6-inch display with different features proper under it. It replaces the cumbersome dials, knobs, and sliders usually used to regulate the local weather management settings, and handwriting recognition know-how lets customers manually write an tackle into the infotainment system. I can’t even learn my very own handwriting, and the system understood what I used to be telling it, so I’m keen to wager it would learn yours. The catch is that, in case you’re left-handed, you’ll have to awkwardly attain throughout to make use of this function. It’s higher to ask your passenger to do the writing or use voice instructions.
There’s a wi-fi telephone charger beneath the central armrest, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility come normal. I’ve been within the Android camp since I acquired my first smartphone, a Samsung Galaxy S II, in 2011, so I can’t touch upon how CarPlay appears to be like, however booting up Android Auto is as easy and simple as you’d anticipate. Plug it in, watch for the automobile and the telephone to speak to one another, and also you’re good to go. The system appears to be like sharp on Audi’s touchscreen. Talking of, it’s a good suggestion to hold a microfiber fabric, as a result of fingerprints seem on the display after a couple of hours of use.
The Q8 isn’t Audi’s greatest SUV, that honor goes to the Q7, but it surely’s large enough and correspondingly spacious. I’m 5-foot, 11-inches, and I can sit behind myself with out touching the motive force’s seat. The rear bench is roomy sufficient for 3 average-sized adults, and the trunk presents 30.5 cubic toes of area in your gear. Folding down the rear seats unlocks a complete of 60.7 cubes.
Horsepower vs. kilos
That 60.7-cubic toes of trunk area is sweet information in case you’re planning a tenting journey, but it surely’s not what you need to hear in case you’re an engineer requested to create a efficiency automobile. Horsepower and torque assist offset weight, so the RS Q8 has a variety of each. Consider 600 hp and 590 lb.-ft. of torque had been figures reserved for supercars up till a couple of 12 months in the past. Ground the accelerator pedal, and the V8 overcomes a touch of turbo lag to ship the RS Q8 from Zero to 62 mph from a cease in 3.Eight seconds. It feels as fast because it sounds. The eight-cylinder doesn’t cease accelerating till the speedometer signifies 189 mph, a determine I wasn’t in a position to confirm on the twisty roads of the Spanish island of Tenerife, the place I acquired my first style of Audi’s highest-performance SUV.
As I pointed the RS Q8 towards a 12,200-foot volcano named Mount Teide, I discovered tech isn’t restricted to the screens embedded into the dashboard
As I pointed the RS Q8 towards Mount Teide, a 12,200-foot volcano in the midst of the island, I discovered tech isn’t restricted to the screens embedded into the dashboard. There’s a ton of chassis wizardry taking place behind the scenes. The usual four-wheel steering system turns the rear wheels in the wrong way of the entrance wheels at low speeds, like in parking heaps or when going round a pointy bend, and in the identical route at larger speeds, equivalent to when touring on the freeway. Observe an RS Q8 up a mountain cross, maintain your eyes locked on the rear axle, and you’ll see it taking place. It’s actually cool to observe, however that’s not the purpose. The system makes the Q8 much more nimble by lowering its turning radius. It’s not TT-like, but it surely feels markedly smaller than you’d anticipate contemplating its plus-sized exterior dimensions.
The adaptive air suspension frantically multitasks to ship buttoned-down dealing with when wanted, a snug trip when the event requires it, or something in between. There’s additionally a driving mode labeled Off-Street that lifts the physique to clear small obstacles, like volcanic boulders that might fortunately depart a foul gash within the oil pan the primary likelihood they get. This mode allowed me to fastidiously enterprise about 20 yards off the crushed path for a beautiful picture opp, and briskly return to the asphalt after realizing I’d summoned a darkish cloud of disapproval from a walkie-talkie-wielding park ranger. Oops.
On-road it’s, then. With extra twisty sections forward, I ended looking for an idyllic picture spot and targeted on how the RS Q8 behaves. The suspension does an admirable job of retaining physique lean in test, and the shift paddles mounted behind the steering wheel have interaction the following gear up or down in a break up second, which makes sprinting out of a flip easy. The 22-inch alloys (which, by the best way, are the largest alloys Audi has ever supplied as normal) disguise brakes greater than the metal wheels on my 1972 Mini, so the RS Q8 slows down as shortly because it accelerates. One side I’d change is the steering, which lacks really feel. It’s not a lot the load — it’s lots agency in Dynamic mode — however I want the system extra precisely conveyed what the entrance wheels are doing. It felt somewhat disconnected all through your entire drive, and a automobile like this deserves higher steering.
My time behind the wheel was too quick to precisely measure real-world gas financial system. The U.S. Environmental Safety Company (EPA) hasn’t examined the automobile but, however numbers will probably be accessible by the point the RS Q8 goes on sale.
Peace of thoughts
Equally, the Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Security Administration (NHTSA) hasn’t crash-tested the RS Q8 but. The usual Q8 obtained a five-star total score, and the RS mannequin is basically the identical, so we anticipate equally good outcomes. The record of accessible digital driving aids will embrace adaptive cruise management (which works as marketed), a 360-degree digital camera that provides the motive force a transparent view of what’s across the automobile, and a blind spot monitoring system. It’s affordable to imagine that, like different Audi fashions, the RS Q8 will carry a four-year, 50,000-mile guarantee.
Efficiency, tech, and area. Ten years in the past, you needed to choose two. Loads of vehicles had been roomy and comparatively good, however they had been as thrilling as a United Airways meal. Driving those that had been sporty and high-tech usually felt like stepping on one thing you’d discover in Goal’s toy aisle. The RS Q8 is a part of a brand new breed that blends all three, and it’s a well-rounded package deal. It’s not for everybody — not each motorist wants a 600-hp SUV of their life, however those that do received’t be upset.