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New Audi RS Q8 facelift gets up to 631bhp to take on hot-SUV rivals

Audi’s super SUV is due to go on sale later this week with up to 632bhp and optional new RS sport exhaust 

The Audi RS Q8 has been given a mid-life refresh to keep pace with some of the biggest, baddest and most powerful SUVs money can buy, such as the BMW X5 M, Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT and Range Rover Sport SV.

Changes to the front end include a revised grille with new honeycomb pattern, Audi’s recently updated four-ring logo and its latest matrix LED headlights, plus a more aggressive bumper and side air intakes. 

The tail-lights now use OLED technology and have five different signatures, while the rear bumper features the same honeycomb grille pattern, large oval exhaust pipes and a small reflector in between. 

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The Audi RS Q8 also gets 22-inch alloy wheels as standard, with 23-inch rims available optionally, including a light-alloy set with a 5-Y design that’s designed for optimal brake cooling. Each of these new wheels weighs around five kilograms less than standard, reducing unsprung mass.

The RS Q8’s twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine is now available in two states of tune: the standard version delivers 591bhp and 800Nm of torque, available between 2,200 and 4,500rpm. The 0-62mph dash takes 3.8 seconds and top speed is 174mph, or 190mph with the limiter removed. The RS Q8 performance ups the ante by increasing the power output to 632bhp and 850Nm, simultaneously slashing two tenths off the 0-62mph time. 

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A newly developed and lighter exhaust system is partly responsible for the extra power, and gives the RS Q8 performance a more evocative soundtrack. If you really want to annoy the neighbours though, an RS sport exhaust system with gloss black tips will also be offered.

Both versions of the RS Q8 feature Quattro permanent all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission, which can shift faster than the unit in the regular Audi Q8. A mechanical centre differential distributes the power to the front and rear axle at a ratio of 40:60, with the ability to send up to 85 per cent to the rear in certain situations.

Adaptive air suspension with controlled damping is tuned specifically for the RS Q8, while the all-wheel steering is designed to improve stability at high speeds, as well as help with agility, significantly reducing the turning circle around town. Meanwhile, the optional electromechanical active-roll stabilisation system works to reduce body roll on uneven roads and when cornering.

The standard-fit braking system includes 10-piston calipers and massive 420mm discs up front, and 370mm discs at the rear. But a ceramic setup will be available, featuring even larger 440mm discs for the front axle.

Red, grey, or blue colour schemes are offered for the interior. Onboard you’ll find perforated sports seats, an Alacantara-wrapped steering wheel, and the 12.3-inch ‘Virtual Cockpit Plus’ digital driver’s display.

The new Audi RS Q8 is due to go on sale on 27 June and we’re likely to see an increase on the outgoing model’s £112,935 starting price.

Click here for our list of the fastest accelerating cars in the world...

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News reporter

As our news reporter, Ellis is responsible for covering everything new and exciting in the motoring world, from quirky quadricycles to luxury MPVs. He was previously the content editor for DrivingElectric and won the Newspress Automotive Journalist Rising Star award in 2022.

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