These are some of the fastest accelerating SUVs you can buy today.
Fast SUVs used to be rare one-offs, vehicles like the GMC Typhoon and BMW X5 4.6is were exploratory attempts by manufacturers to test these unfamiliar waters. But whenever they did, they found that shoppers were quite excited about the idea of being able to blast past sports cars in a big 4x4. Nowadays just about every manufacturer offers a speedy SUV, even supercar manufacturers have got into the game. With many offering mega power outputs and complex AWD systems, the day of the super SUV has arrived. These are the fastest ones around.
We warm up with a BMW that straddles the line between a full M car and the standard models in the range. The X3 M40i is an all-new model that may trail the rest of the big hitters here with its 355-hp 3.0-liter turbocharged motor but it still manages a very quick 4.6-second 0-60 mph time. That level of performance would embarrass an E46 M3 and in the X3 you still have space for five adults and their luggage.
The GLE 63 S goes into battle against its arch nemesis, the X5 M with a 577-hp 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8, this means you can launch yourself to 60mph in 4.1 seconds. It too is available in the now popular coupe body style although as with most German cars you are still limited to 155 mph, but outside of an Autobahn that hardly seems to matter.
The 567-hp 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 packed under the hood of the current X5M may be down 10-hp on the GLE 63 S but it still gets to 60 mph a fraction quicker at 4.0-second. That is on par with some of the fastest sports cars around and you can also have the same engine in the X6 M coupe if you don’t mind giving up some rear seating and cargo space.
The Bentayga was a big risk for Bentley, the thought of introducing a sporty Bentley SUV seemed at odds with the very traditional and considered model range that had come before it. Clearly the fears were unfounded and this 608-hp 12-cylinder twin-turbo monster was, until the arrival of the Urus, the fastest SUV on the roads. Its 187-mph top speed is still mightily impressive though, as is its 4.0-second 0-60 mph time.
The brand-new Cayenne has just arrived and for now the top model is the 550-hp Turbo, the Turbo S variant will arrive later in the year. It doesn’t seem to want for more power though, as evidenced by its 3.9-second 0-60mph time and a 177mph top end. Still, it will be interesting to see what the more potent Turbo S will be capable of.
The Maserati Levante is a luxurious and accomplished SUV which has finally been given an engine to match its performance aspirations. In upcoming Trofeo trim it gets a 590-hp twin-turbo V8 and a number of suspension and chassis upgrades over the rest of the range. Maserati claims it will reach 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and head on up to over 187 mph.These numbers are sure to be tested once it becomes available.
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio features a Ferrari-derived 505-hp 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 and its all-wheel-drive traction gives it a searing 3.6-second 0-60 mph time that actually beats the lighter identically-powered RWD Giulia Quadrifoglio. No 155 mph top speed limit here, the Stelvio tops out at 176 mph.
The Grand Cherokee Trackhawk employs the age-old method of going quick, namely a massive engine with a supercharger bolted to it for good measure. The resultant 707 hp gets it to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds making it as fast as just about any European SUV and with a feral exhaust sound that few can match. Its price too is the lowest here, bang-for-buck you won’t find a better sporty SUV.
The latest addition to the super SUV crowd is the Lamborghini Urus. The 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 makes a serious 650 hp and it gets to 62 mph in 3.6 seconds (This means 3.5-seconds for the 0-60 mph benchmark) and at 190 mph, has the fastest top speed of any SUV ever. It may share some componentry with other VW Group SUVs, but it sure performs as a Lamborghini should.
The Tesla Model X P100D is currently the very fastest SUV on the planet. Its supercar-rivaling 0-60 mph time of 2.9 seconds demolishes everything else here but the launch process does take a little while to get right. Even if you get it wrong though, or attempt it with a half-full battery and passengers on board, you will still out drag most cars on the roads today. The 289-mile range is as good as any gas-powered cars too.
These super speedy SUVs are just the tip of the iceberg though as the new wave of high-riding performance 4x4s are being readied for production. Aston Martin has the Varekai, Rolls-Royce will build an ultra-luxurious SUV called the Cullinan and even Ferrari is getting in on the action with an upcoming model it calls an FUV. Whatever your opinions about these developments, one thing is for certain, super SUVs are here to stay.