Audi’s high-performance RS brand has expanded to include crossovers and SUVs as consumers continue to favor the larger vehicles. The effort has resulted in the Audi RS Q8, the automaker’s potent family hauler capable of illegal speeds and blistering starts from a stop, and the Archie Hamilton Racing YouTube channel has decided to pit it against the equally hot Audi RS6 Avant. Both are four-door family vehicles sharing the same powertrain, though how does that translate to the track?
Both the Audi RS6 Avant and the Audi RS Q8 use the automaker’s twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8. The channel hosts don’t dive into either of the vehicles’ performance, but both should be producing 591 horsepower (440 kilowatts) and 590 pound-feet (800 Newton-meters) of torque. Both feature Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system, giving them sound footing on the wet and rainy tarmac.
The first race shows just how closely matched the two Audis are, with the RS6 Avant winning by a headlight. The second race has the RS Q8 getting a better start off the line, though the RS6 is able to overtake the Audi SUV before the finish line, winning its second race. The third race from a 30-mph (48-kph) rolling start ends with similar results. The wagon slowly pulls away from the SUV before crossing the finish line first to complete its hat trick.
The RS Q8 could not beat its stablemate, though it did have a remarkable showing against the RS6 Avant. SUVs and crossovers are no longer the boring family vehicles of yesteryear. Automakers like Audi have translated their performance expertise onto larger and larger canvasses to great effect, creating powerful four-door machines capable of keeping up with or beating supercars on the track. The RS Q8 is but one example of what’s possible for high-performance SUVs, and wagons and sedans should be on the lookout.