Ask any car lover what their ideal ride is and they will tell you about a properly balanced model with rear-wheel drive and manual transmission, low driving position and a decent amount of horsepower. From old Ferraris like the 360 or F355, most Porsche 911 generations, an original BMW M3 E30 or E46, or a Mazda MX-5/Miata – a lot of vehicles can be included here.
So, with those on our minds, how did we end up with so many crossovers and SUVs? Simple: people shifted their attention towards those, as they seem safer than the average family car and more spacious too. Every major player in the auto industry has expanded its offerings, and one of the biggest, the Volkswagen Group, has never had this many high-riding vehicles.
It’s easy to lose track of them, as they cover every class and niche. The latest comes from Audi Sport and is called the RS Q8. It was presented at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show and is the range-topping member of the Q8 family, rivaling the BMW X6 M and Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 Coupe.
The RS Q8 follows the latest trends in the market: low-slung profile – check, huge wheels – check, large grille and slender lights – double-check, high ground clearance – check. It also costs a fortune to buy – €127,000 (equal to $140,650) in Germany, although some would argue that it’s a lot of car for the money. Air suspension, rear-wheel steering, all-wheel drive, active anti-roll bars and a wide selection of luxury and technology features come standard.
Then you get the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 making 591 HP (600 PS / 441 kW) and 590 lb-ft (800 Nm) of torque, which rockets it to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 3.8 seconds, up to a top speed limited to 155 km/h (250 mph), or 190 mph (305 km/h) with the optional Dynamic package.
The sporty crossover has a cylinder deactivation system too that keeps fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in reasonable levels, and even specially developed tires that allow for the usual dune bashing and track driving, because, you know, every enthusiast wants to climb over sand dunes in a car that lacks a body-on-frame construction, long-travel suspension and low-range gearbox, and tackle circuits in it too.
Anyway, what you get for paying that steep sum is the same platform of the latest Volkswagen Touareg, with a different body on top of it, revised oily bits and a powerful engine. That’s the same recipe used by the Porsche Cayenne, Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus as well. Makes you wonder why people keep buying them instead of a proper sports/super car and SUV combo. If it’s one thing we learned, there’s no such thing as the perfect vehicle for every activity, yet it seems that most new car buyers beg to differ – or maybe they just don’t care.
Now, personal opinions aside, feel free to form your own by checking out a few walkaround videos of the RS Q8, shot before the official unveiling and posted online recently. These are far from being actual reviews, yet they do explain some of the characteristics of the car, focusing (mostly) on the super SUV’s strong points.