Update: We’ve added live images from the LA Auto Show floor in the gallery
Sitting atop Audi’s Q family of SUVs, the RS Q8 is powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 pumping out 591 HP (441kW / 600 PS) and 590 lb-ft (800 Nm) of torque between 2,200 rpm and 4,500 rpm. Audi quotes a 0-100 km/h (62 mph) time of just 3.8 seconds while the sprint to 200 km/h (124.3 mph) is dealt with in 13.7 seconds. The RS Q8 will continue to accelerate through to a 250 km/h (155 mph) electronically limited top speed, but should customers opt for the Dynamic package, that figure rises to 305 km/h (190 mph).
Like the engine used by the latest Audi RS6 Avant, the RS Q8’s powertrain is based on a 48-volt main electrical system and is therefore a mild-hybrid. During deceleration and braking, the powertrain can recover up to 12 kW of power and store it in its compact lithium-ion battery. Should the driver take their foot off the accelerator between speeds of 55 km/h (34.2 mph) and 160 km/h (99.4 mph), the car will decide whether to shut off the engine and coast or recuperate energy under engine braking.
To aid in the powertrain’s efficiency, there is a cylinder on demand system that deactivates cylinders 2, 3, 5, and 8 at low to intermediate load and rpm in the upper gears. There is also a start-stop system.
Power is sent through a quattro performance all-wheel drive system mated to an eight-speed tiptronic transmission that usually distributes power in a 40:60 ratio to the front and rear axles, though if needed, up to 70 per cent of power can be directed to the front wheels and up to 85 per cent to the rear wheels. Audi has also developed an optional quattro sport differential for the SUV to distribute torque between the rear wheels as required to improve handling.
Included as standard with the Audi RS Q8 is an adaptive air suspension system that can vary the ride height by 90 mm (3.5 inches). There is also an electromechanical active roll stabilization system to minimize body roll during fast cornering. Eight different driving modes are available; Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, Efficiency, Allroad, Offroad, and the individually configurable RS1 and RS2. Braking is provided by 420 mm front and 370 mm rear discs. Optional carbon ceramic brake discs measuring 440 mm up front and 370 mm at the rear are also available.
The exterior design of the RS Q8 is much more aggressive than lesser variants. For example, 22-inch aluminum wheels with a 10-spoke design come standard and should customers wish, larger 23-inch rims are also offered. At the front, the new SUV adopts a menacing new fascia with enlarged air intakes and gloss black accents while at the rear there are Audi Sport’s familiar oval-shaped tailpipes. Customers can choose between two different LED headlight configurations, including optionally tinted RS Matrix LED headlights.
In the cabin, it sports with a headliner in lunar silver cloth, Alcantara lunar silver, and Alcantara black. There are specific RS displays in the Audi virtual cockpit and central MMI display, while a Head-Up Display is optional. Audi has also developed new sports seats finished in a combination of Nappa leather and Alcantara.
The new Audi RS Q8 will arrive in dealerships worldwide during the first quarter of 2020, with prices in Germany starting at 127,000 euros ($140,650). Audi hasn’t said yet if it will be marketed as a 2020MY or 2021MY in North America nor has it announced pricing yet.