Audi RSQ8 review - design

Audi Sport’s RSQ8 is its biggest and heaviest model yet, but the brand is on form recently so could this actually be an entertaining SUV?

Evo rating
Price
from £103,750
  • Deeply impressive powertrain, transmission calibration and response. Feels expensive and fully loaded
  • It can’t hide the extra 300kg it weighs over an RS6, yet it’s less practical and more expensive

Despite its SUV billing, no car in the current Audi line-up makes such a concerted effort to reference the Audi Quattro as does the Q8. Its hatchback rather than coupe-like roofline sits atop a thin glasshouse with elegant, clean junctions due to its frameless glass and crisp, square haunches. Unfortunately, the reality of the RSQ8 being an SUV means that these details sit on a chunky, high-sided body, with wheelarches capable of swallowing those silly wheels without looking caricature.

The typically open front end is less subtle, but the considerable airflow required to keep the V8 engine happy does influence the design. Thanks to the identical body-in-white, the RSQ8 does have more in common with its lesser siblings than most other RS models, but the large oval exhaust outlets (which aren’t physically connected to the actual pipes, but do shroud them at least), double-arch rear bar, rear wing and bespoke vent graphic under the rear lights are bespoke.

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> Bentley Bentayga Speed review: how does the world’s fastest SUV work on track?

Does it all work? In context, the RSQ8 is certainly the most handsome, if not totally inoffensive performance coupe-SUV, although it might be akin to being the prettiest hippo in its relative mud pool. The truth is plenty of consumers will like it, and for the sort of people this car appeals to, the RSQ8’s styling will be more of a draw than a hindrance.

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