Drag race | Audi R8 vs RSQ8

Audi R8 vs RSQ8. Image: Youtube
Audi R8 vs RSQ8. Image: Youtube

• Audi flagship drag race - RSQ8 vs R8. 

• The RSQ8 is Ingolstadt's flagship performance SUV. 

• It uses the latest VW Group 4.0-litre twin turbocharged engine with 440kW and 800Nm.

Four years after the second generation Audi R8 was launched in South Africa the Ingolstadt-based company launched its flagship performance SUV, the RSQ8. 

Audi's SUV portfolio has grown significantly in the last few years and the Q8 on which the RSQ8 is based, sits at the top of the chain. The four-wheel drive SUV uses the latest technology to provide outstanding performance while offering a daily drive that is comfortable and luxurious. 

They have done this by powering the RSQ8 with a 4.0-litre twin turbocharged engine that uses a mild-hybrid system to eradicate turbo lag. The RSQ8 uses a air suspension to make sure the ride is as serene as a Cape Town sunset. 

The R8 on the other hand is a raw, naturally-aspirated powered sports car that shows off its sharp looks and V10 engine noise in a striking package. And it's on the drag strip where the two flagship cars meet to see who can out run the other. 

First, let's take a closer look at the RSQ8's numbers. 


The flagship SUV is powered by a 4.0-litre V8 TFSI with 440kW and 800Nm, which will move the performance SUV from standstill to 100km/h in a very impressive 3.8 seconds. 

As per the gentleman's agreement, the RSQ8 has a governed top speed of 250km/h. The V8 bi-turbo also leans on the mild-hybrid system (MHEV) that uses a 48-volt main electrical system as its basis.

The core of the MHEV is a belt alternator-starter connected to the crankshaft. Audi says during deceleration and braking, it can recover up to 12kW of power and store it in the compact lithium-ion battery.


Available in South Africa since 2016, the R8 is powered by a 5.2-litre V10 engine that accelerates the two-door sports car from 0 to 100km/h in just 3.5 seconds, and onto a top speed of 320km/h.

This particular R8 used in the drag race pushes out 397kW/540Nm, albeit it has been tweaked with a stage 1 tune. Positioned behind the V10 is a seven-speed S tronic gearbox. The dual-clutch transmission sends power to the quattro drive system with an electro-hydraulically activated multi-plate clutch at the front axle.

This tuned R8's power figures are similar to that of the Plus version, with 447kW and 580Nm. The R8's chassis features aluminium double wishbone suspensions and electronically controlled shock absorbers (Audi magnetic ride). 

Let's see how they fare in this drag race, but bear in mind that the RSQ8 weighs 600kg more than the R8 at 2400kg. Ouch. At least we know the R8 will always sound better than a blown V8. 

Carwow says: "As we all know, the R8 is the top sports car that Audi produces. We may not have the latest R8 V10 Plus here with us today (we've got the previous generation), but thanks to it having a stage 1 tune, it’ll produce identical stats to the Plus - 447kW and 580Nm! 

"As for the RSQ8, it's the top-of-the-range Audi SUV, and it'll produce 440kW and 800Nm of torque from its 4-litre twin-turbo V8! But given that it weighs over 600kg MORE than the R8, is the result a foregone conclusion? Or will Mat's experience in drag races prove to be the deciding factor?!"

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