As you’re about to see, the most powerful engine doesn’t always win the race. Yes, the twin-turbo V8 4.0-liter underneath the RS Q8’s hood is the strongest of the bunch, but the SUV weighs about as much as the moon. The folks over at Carwow pitted the beefy luxobarge against its kid brother, RS Q3, with the RS4 Avant being the only car at the start.
Before the actual drag race, all three contenders played their rather muted soundtracks due to the soft rev limiter forbidding the engines from going above 4,000 rpm in neutral. Europe’s stricter emissions regulations are the cause, the same reason why even gasoline-fueled cars now come with particulate filters.
It’s worth noting all have Quattro all-wheel drive and an automatic transmission with a launch control system, but only the RS Q3 has a dual-clutch setup. The high-performance wagon was the quickest off the line by a significant margin, and even though the bigger of the SUV gradually reduced the gap, the RS4 Avant ultimately took the win. As for the petite five-cylinder crossover, it didn’t stand a chance.
In the second drag race, the man behind the RS Q8 turned off the traction control system, hoping the super SUV would perform better at the start. However, he only made it worse. He blames the power delivery to the rear wheels, causing the vehicle to lose traction and thus slow it down.
It was a different situation in the roll race from 50 mph (80 km/h) where the large SUV managed to take the win thanks to its larger and more powerful engine. The weight penalty in such a duel is not as important compared to a quarter-mile drag race. That said, when the roll race was repeated with the gearboxes in manual mode, the RS Q8 and RS4 were neck and neck throughout the whole race.
The RS Q3 managed to win one duel thanks to its lower weight. We’re talking about the brake test from 70 mph (113 km/h). Some will be surprised to see the RS Q8 actually came in second despite weighing a lot more than the RS4 Avant, but just look at the size of those brakes to see why… By the way, the SUV had the optional carbon ceramic set judging by the red calipers. The upgrade obviously contributed to how the SUV performed in the brake test.
Regardless of winners, we know which of the three we would take home, and it wouldn’t be an SUV…