With so many new S models getting diesel engines in Europe, it is understandable why many fans of Ingolstadt’s go-faster division are disappointed with Audi Sport’s releases so far this year. As the saying goes, the best is yet to come as a total of six RS models will be revealed until the end of 2019, with the RS6 Avant likely to lead the way taking into account it’s been teased ahead of a September debut.
Here we have the big daddy of SUVs, the Audi Q8, caught in RS attire while undergoing final testing at the Nürburgring. A step above the recently launched SQ8, the flagship SUV from the Four Rings was seen tackling the numerous corners of the Green Hell while flaunting its oval exhaust tips. The brawny prototype had a roll cage, but it goes without saying it’ll be removed on the production model.
The sound you’re hearing is definitely not generated by a diesel engine, but a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 likely with a mild hybrid arrangement for extra low-end boost and better efficiency. Expect somewhere in the region of 600 horsepower and a mountain-moving amount of torque to enable the luxobarge move swiftly from 0 to 62 mph (100 kph) in less than the 4.8 seconds needed by the aforementioned SQ8. Who knows, maybe it will drop below the 4-second mark, which would be a massive achievement given the SUV’s size and weight.
Should that not be enough, the rumor mill indicates Audi will spice up the RS Q8 later in the life cycle with a plug-in hybrid powertrain adapted from the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid, which debuted a few days ago with a whopping 670 hp. Meanwhile, the standard RS Q8 will debut in the months to come along with quite possibly five other models: RS Q3, RS Q3 Sportback, RS4 Avant facelift, RS6 Avant, and the RS7 Sportback.