NEWS

2021 Audi RS Q8: The School Drop-Off Lane Just Got a Lot Cooler

Competes with: BMW X6 M, Lamborghini Urus, Mercedes-AMG GLE53

Looks like: The most badass SUV in your school’s drop-off lane

Powertrain: A twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 engine that makes 591 horsepower and 590 pounds-feet of torque; all-wheel drive; eight-speed automatic transmission

Hits dealerships: 2020

For years, Audi’s given plenty of coupes and sedans the RS treatment — amping the models with go-fast looks and the goods to back them up. Now for something a little different: At the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show, the automaker just unveiled an RS version of its new-for-2019 Q8 SUV — the first time Audi has given an SUV the RS treatment in the U.S.

Related: More 2019 L.A. Auto Show Coverage

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Exterior

With its sleek profile and fastback roofline, the Q8 has already earned a lot of style points, but the RS version builds on its already athletic design with extras like an RS-specific octagonal grille, gloss-black front air inlets and matte-aluminum exterior trim pieces. In back, it wears an RS roof-edge spoiler, which Audi says is not just cosmetic; it also provides downforce on the rear axle for improved balance at high speeds.

Interior

Inside, the five-seat SUV is dressed in black with red accents and wears plenty of badges. It has RS-specific seats and features extra RS displays in the Audi Virtual Cockpit and MMI screens that display information like output, G-forces, lap times, temperature, torque and tire pressure. A head-up display is optional and features several RS-specific graphics.

Engine and Transmission

Power comes from a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 engine that makes 591 horsepower and 590 pounds-feet of torque, up from the regular model’s turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6. It pairs with an eight-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive is standard, and Audi’s Quattro sport rear differential can distribute torque between the rear wheels as required to enhance traction and improve handling.

The automaker says the RS Q8 sprints from 0-62 mph in 3.8 seconds on its way to a top speed of 155.3 mph. It’s the fastest production SUV to lap the Nurburgring racetrack, Audi claims, with an official time of 7 minutes, 42.2 seconds.

Drivers can customize the ride in many ways. An adaptive air suspension and RS-specific damper tuning can alter ride height and comfort levels, and the standard Audi Drive Select system allows drivers to choose between seven different drive mode settings, including  Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, Allroad, Offroad and the individually configurable RS-specific modes, RS1 and RS2, which can be activated directly via the “‘RS-Mode” button on the steering wheel.

The 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show opens its doors to the public from Nov. 22 through Dec. 1.

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