Audi's Q8 is approaching the midway point in its life cycle and in typical fashion the vehicle will be given an update.

Prototypes for updated versions of the regular Q8 have been spotted for more than a year, but now we have a look at a prototype for the high-performance RS Q8 developed by Audi Sport. Prototypes for the mid-range SQ8 are also out and about.

We know this latest prototype is for the RS Q8 due to its huge air intakes in the front fascia, upsized brakes and wheels, and the pair of oval exhaust tips at the rear—a signature trait of gas-powered vehicles bearing the RS badge.

The prototype suggests only minimal changes, at least to the outside of the RS Q8. There's a new grille design, a revised rear fascia, and tweaks to the light signatures at both ends. Interestingly, a yellow warning sticker on the window of the driver's door indicates the prototype may feature some form of heavy electrification. In other words, it may be a plug-in hybrid or have full electric power, though the engine note present in the spy video points to the former.

The RS Q8 is currently powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 rated at 591 hp. However, the same V-8 is paired with plug-in hybrid systems in vehicles from other Volkswagen Group brands, including the related Porsche Cayenne. In the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid, the V-8 plug-in hybrid setup is good for 680 hp.

The plug-in hybrid powertrain is set to be dropped into the Lamborghini Urus in the first half of 2024. Like the Porsche Cayenne, the Urus is a close relative of the Q8. This means it's possible we'll also see the plug-in hybrid powertrain in the updated RS Q8.

The updated Q8 range is currently expected to arrive early next year as a 2024 model. Some of the tweaks Audi is making are expected to better reflect elements found on the E-Tron electric SUV, which was updated for 2024 and rebranded the Q8 E-Tron in the process.

There have been rumors Audi may drop all gas-powered Q8s in the U.S. to focus on the Q8 E-Tron electric variant, though Audi is quiet on the matter. Eventually, the whole Q8 range will go the full-electric route as Audi plans to cease launching vehicles with internal-combustion engines after 2026.