Here it is: Audi’s very first RS-badged SUV. In years past such a thing wasn’t allowed, because dynamics, but the firm’s engineers have developed enough brute-force chassis solutions to make it possible at last.
Up front is a biturbo V8, 4.0-litres in size and packing heat. In standard tune it sits at 592bhp and 590lb ft of grunt; enough to launch it to 62mph in 3.8 seconds and on to an alarming 189.5mph (we’re happy enough calling that 190mph) if you add the optional RS carbon ceramic brakes. Naturally the power travels through the tried-and-tested eight-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox.
We know it’s quick around the Nurburgring, for all its tyre-torturing weight and inescapable pitch despite anti-roll stabilization. Drive flows to all four wheels aided by brake-based torque vectoring on both axles and a proper limited-slip diff on the rear. There’s also handling-boosting all-wheel steering in the same configuration as in existing VW Group models, counter-steering at low speeds for a decreased turning circle and co-steering on faster roads for greater lane-changing stability.
In case you’re taking a break from lapping famous circuits of the world, there are seven driving modes to choose from: Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, Allroad (a little bit bumpy), Offroad (properly bumpy) and two configurable RS modes called RS1 and RS2. It’s not yet clear whether they offer anything more aggressive than Dynamic mode, but using them you can pick and choose facets of the setup to suit you.
Inside it there are the usual Audi accoutrements like the virtual cockpit, MMI interface complete with displays for live output, g-forces, temperatures and tyre pressures. There’s also a shift indicator for when you’re paddling manually.
We know it’s going to be sold in the US and probably China as well. It may not make it to smaller countries where sales would be too low, but in the UK’s case there’s always Premiership football to consider. Surely there are a few sales waiting to be made there.
Expect the usual plethora of options-that-should-really-be-standard-on-a-car-this-expensive, like a head-up display. A three-seat rear bench will be standard though, and if you fold it down you get a whopping 1719 litres of space. Exact prices won’t be confirmed for a while, but we do at least know that it’s scheduled for arrival not before Spring 2020.