Driven: Audi RSQ8

Welcome to the meanest, mightiest super SUV in Audi’s stable. Enter the Audi RSQ8

What is it?
Well, it’s the tippy top of Quattro’s most ostentatious interpretation. A style-on-top-of-substance beast featuring bulges and flares, aero and airdams. So looks to kill for sure, but with the performance to back it up. It’s been murdered out too, black on black – an imposing look on what is already a behemoth with immeasurable degrees of curbside presence. I refer also to the massive 23″ inch hoops in each gaping archway and that ebony visage designed to fill rearview mirrors of lesser whips. Visually, it is reminiscent of the Lamborghini Urus to which it is closely related, but more on that later.

Hop Inside and the black theme continues in what is a tech-laden cabin. There is a total tally of three screens, including a racy instrument panel, the massive centre screen for satnav, media, vehicle settings and the obligatory plethora of smartphone mirroring and connectivity options. This is including but not limited to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The materials are sumptuous, the seats uber grippy, and then there are the RS badges littered throughout. There’s also a Bang & Olufsen sound system, for any budding DJs to exploit.

How does it go, and how loudly
Naturally, it comes with a bunch of driving modes such as Eco, Comfort but if its all the same with you, I’m just going to leave it in Dynamic. It’s the best way to appreciate all the grunt, all the noise, and all that drama. It has a top speed of 250kph or as in the case of our test car with its optional driver’s pack, 280kph. Gear changes can be operated with the paddles behind the steering wheel, but you’re not going to do a better job than its AI brain so I tend to let the RSQ8 take care of it while I hang on for dear life. This leaves me to enjoy the dynamic handling, and flat suspension whilst my ears are filled with deeply baritone engine noises. This brings me to that other premium soundtrack on offer here – in this wonderfully appointed cabin.

I call this car the Dark Knight. No, not because it looks like Batman’s weekend ride, but because of that movie’s Hans Zimmer soundtrack. You know that bwaaaaaaah sound that every action movie since employs when they want to add drama to their trailers? This car has that, and what’s best is you can control how intense it is with the pedal on the right. What does it do, well, besides catapult you into the horizon, it also revs up that eight-cylinder orchestra under the steeply raked black bonnet. I refer to the biturbo 4 litre V8, good for a gratuitous 441kW of power and 800Nm of torque. To put that into perspective, the Lamborghini Urus I drove last year, which is this car’s half-sister, in case you didn’t know, is only 0.2 seconds quicker from zero to hundred. And that makes 37kW more than the Audi. In fact, forget half-sister – these cars are non-identical twins.

The RSQ8 can rise to almost any occasion. I mean it can entertain the driver as well as its occupants even if you don’t have access to a club DJ. But then, it’s no cheap thrill either. That Bang and Olufsen sound system alone is an R80,000 option, bringing the total price of my test car to R2.7mil – that’s almost R400k options on a R2.3 mil car. But you could argue that just makes it that much more exclusive. And that’s precisely what the RSQ8 is – rarified and glorious.

Watch my video review here: 

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