Refreshed Audi RS Q8 levels up with Performance trim

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As happened with the 2025 Audi E-Tron GT, the quattro-loving automaker has sharpened the RS Q8 with a new Performance trim that makes the SUV the most powerful internal-combustion-engined SUV to come from Ingolstadt. In European spec, the RS Q8 Performance makes 631 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque from its twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8. That's 40 ponies and 36 twists more than is available on today's RS Q8, 10 horses over the RS 6 Avant Performance, as well as being just 26 horses below the non-hybrid 2024 Lamborghini Urus S that the RS Q8 shares its engine with. The muscle-up comes from a freer exhaust with less back pressure, a secondary benefit being a better sound than the standard RS Q8. Buyers who want a bigger boom out the back can upgrade to an RS Sport exhaust.

Audi says the new SUV gets to 62 miles per hour 0.2 seconds quicker than the RS Q8, in 3.6 seconds. Bigger gains happen on the go, development driver Frank Stippler ripping off a 7:36.698 lap of the Nurburgring, giving the RS Q8 Performance the title of fastest SUV around The Green Hell. That means the same driver beat the time he set in a 2020 RS Q8 by just under 16 seconds, which was the previous record. The Urus hasn't run a publicized timed lap.

Exclusive add-ons for the RS Q8 Performance include new 23-inch forged and milled wheels in three finishes, the quartet cutting about 44 total pounds compared to the standard 22-inch wheels. Matte gray accents around the exterior in places like the front lip spoiler and mirror caps separate it from the RS Q8, which wears black accents, and the Performance can go even more upscale with matte carbon accents. The RS ceramic braking system with 10-piston front calipers comes standard, a useful pairing with an optional performance package that raises top speed to about 190 miles per hour. Inside, this one applies Dinamica microfiber to the steering wheels, shifter, and sides of the center console, and the Virtual Cockpit here gets a shift indicator light when driven in manual mode.

Below the new Performance spec, the RS Q8 continues with the same 591 hp and 590 lb-ft on tap now. Both trims show off minor cosmetic tweaks, with more depth in the honeycomb grille, larger side intakes, a race-inspired red vertical reflector in the diffuser, and new standard matte gold 22-inch wheel designs with 23-inchers available in four finishes. An updated color palette adds three metallic options: Ascari Blue, Chili Red and Sakhir Gold. The RS Design Package that puts more Dinamica microfiber around the passenger quarters comes in blue, gray or red, the chosen color then used for contrast stitching around the cockpit, the blue package going extra with Ocean Blue seat belts. An adaptive suspension comes with the package, the electromechanical active roll stabilization (eAWS) suspension working its way through Audi and Porsche lineups an option.

We'll find out about U.S. spec when Audi announces our version. Expect healthy jumps from the $127,000 starting price of today's RS Q8.

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