New RS Q8 Performance becomes Audi's most powerful ICE car

The Audi RS Q8 has received a new range-topping Performance variant, which becomes the brand’s most powerful ICE car yet, with 631bhp from a snarling twin-turbocharged petrol V8.

The 39bhp boost over the standard 592bhp RS Q8 means the new super-SUV narrowly outpunches the 621bhp Audi RS6 Avant Performance estate and is only 10bhp shy of the closely related pure-V8 Lamborghini Urus, which will retire this year.

A supercar-baiting 3.6sec 0-62mph time is the result, 0.2sec quicker than the standard car, while the 155mph speed limiter is removed to allow the Performance to surge on to 190mph.

As in the standard Audi Q8, power is sent to all four wheels through a Tiptronic eight-speed automatic gearbox. 

Audi has eked out the Performance’s extra muscle with a freer-flowing exhaust system, which as well as reducing back pressure creates a “sportier, more evocative sound”.

The Performance adopts the same self-locking central differential as the RS Q8, which helps to reduce understeer and increase cornering precision and speed.

As with sibling RS models, adaptive air suspension and a launch control system are also fitted as standard.

The Performance arrives as part of an update for the RS Q8. This follows the standard Q8, Audi’s flagship SUV, which was refreshed at the end of last year.

Visually, the new RS Q8 Performance and RS Q8 are identical, setting themselves apart from the Q8 with bulkier bodies, a new honeycomb grille and lighty restyled front and rear ends. Both are fitted with matrix LED headlights and customisable OLED rear lights.

A large rear diffuser, fearsome oval tailpipes, new matte gold 22in alloy wheels and RS badging also mark them out from the standard SUV.

Inside, Audi has upgraded the 12.3in digital instrument cluster to feature a gearchange indicator for optimal shifts when in manual mode.

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