SPIED: Audi RS Q8 caught testing on Nurburgring

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Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen a few spy photos of the upcoming Audi SQ8, which will be faster and sportier than the standard car. It’s also said to come with two powertrains, one diesel for Europe and one petrol for North America. Now, though, we’re seeing some spy photos of the upcoming Audi RS Q8, which will be the fastest, sportiest, most extreme Q8 variant of them all. (We don’t own the photos but check them out at Motor1)

This car caught testing at the Nurburgring is very clearly an Audi RS Q8 and not some standard variant, despite what badge it wears on its trunk. There are a few dead giveaways, such as the big, oval exhaust tips out back, a design cue only worn by proper Audi Sport ‘RS’ models. It’s also riding on much lower suspension than the standard Q8 or even the SQ8. Plus, the wheels it’s riding on are much sportier than anything else we’ve seen on Q8 variants.

Audi SQ8

The Audi RS Q8 will compete with the BMW X6 M, Lamborghini Urus (which is ironically a sibling of the RS Q8) and the Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S. We’re hearing that the RS Q8 will be powered by a 4.0 liter twin-turbocharged V8 paired with an electric motor, making it a plug-in hybrid. If that’s the case, it’s the same powertrain used in the Porsche Panamera Turbo E S Hybrid and it makes 670 hp. That would make it one of the absolute most powerful SUVs on the planet.

We do wonder if it makes sense to use a hybrid powertrain. It does from an image and marketing perspective, as Audi needs to “green-up” its image, even among performance cars. But it could easily use the same 4.0 liter twin-turbo V8 used in the Lamborghini Urus, which actually uses an Audi V8 itself and makes 641 hp, as the it’s the fastest petrol-powered SUV in the world.

Either way, though, the Audi RS Q8 will be one of the most powerful and exciting SUVs in the world. We can’t wait to see it.