Audi Has Been Spending a Lot of Time at Nürburgring-Nordschleife

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Audi has been throwing a lot of vehicles at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife for late. Last month saw the RS 3 having achieved the fastest lap among the stock compact class. Days later, the automaker made another announcement that the RS Q8 Performance had achieved the same for SUVs.

The RS 3 was a pre-production of the updated model, setting a lap time of 7:33.123 minutes. Audi said this was a whopping five seconds quicker than the previous segment record. Driver Frank Stippler claimed it was the vehicle’s improved agility that made the difference.

“That was the key to our success. The new RS 3 turns in more willingly at corner entry thanks to fine-tuning — including brake torque vectoring — which allows the vehicle to be positioned earlier and better for corner exit from the apex, at the latest,” he said. “The result is a lower steering angle from apex to corner exit, which leads to less friction and earlier acceleration, allowing you to carry more momentum and speed onto each subsequent straight.”

Audi then used the remainder of the press release to hype the changes to RS, highlighting that the torque split is fully viable between the rear wheels. The vehicle in question likewise benefited from the optional adjective dampers, which all work in tandem with the latest stability control system. Apparently, a lot of code went into improving the vehicle’s lateral dynamics. But computer software is boring so Audi didn’t bother driving into the details.

Days later, the RS Q8 Performance set its own lap record of 7:36.698. While not as fast as the smaller Audi, this is still rather impressive and makes it the fastest production SUV ever to run the course.

“The RS Q8 performance owes its lap record to the interplay of the V8 engine and chassis components as well as the passion of the Audi Sport GmbH team for absolute performance,” claimed Audi Sport head Rolf Michl.

The Q8 also received lighter wheels as part of an update. However, Audi seemed more interested in promoting how good they look than citing the performance advantages they might offer. That’s all fine because it’s the upgraded powertrain that comes with the new Performance trim that’s doing all the heavy lifting.

In Europe, the new RS Q8 offers up 441 kW (600 PS) and 800 Nm of torque, the latter of which arrives between 2,200 and 4,500 rpm. But the twin-turbocharged eight-cylinder engine pushes those numbers up to 471 kW (640 PS) and 850 Nm of torque. Since I’m not a German engineer who wears a lab coat to bed, I have no clue what that actually means.

But my crude math has the more expensive RS Q8 enjoying roughly 37 more lb-ft of torque and about 40 more horsepower. That means the Performance is pushing 631 hp and 630 lb-ft all in. Audi said that the improvements take the standard RS Q8’s 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in just 3.8 seconds and shaves off two tenths.

Those differences obviously helped aid the vehicle in its quest to tackle the track. While that’s not always the most important thing for passenger vehicles, including those of a sporting nature, it’s nice to know that Audi still has a competitive mindset with its RS models and is conducting the kind of track testing that would warrant some bragging rights.

[Images: Audi]

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Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Bd2 Bd2 on Jul 01, 2024

    Do you plan on reporting on the Genesis X Gran Racer VGT?

  • Hans Shtick Hans Shtick on Jul 02, 2024

    "...benefited from the optional adjective dampers..."

    ALWAYS a good thing to keep reviews from excessive hyperbolic language.

  • FreedMike Not much to look at, but these were sweet to drive.
  • EBFlex Ford finally making a good decision although they should shut down their EV operations and investment all together. Why lose that money too?
  • Mike Lol. This is the king of suvs. And its made by GM.Why is everyone trashing it?Top of its its class for a quarter century.
  • Frank Drove past there last week, plant has a huge poster of a bronco on the outside. I was thinking "Is that where they build the new broncos?" I know they use to make the Edge and that other mundane SUV there but I believe both have been canned.
  • CanadaCraig Toyota saw this coming. So good for them for being courageous enough to say, "Wait a minute. Let's not rush into anything."