Best Performance SUV: Guide for 2022
SUVs from the old era were dull because they lacked power. Despite their large capacity and comfort, they were unappealing owing to their outdated looks. Crossovers and SUVs, on the other hand, have become increasingly popular on the automotive market over the last few years, making them more appropriate for both off-road and paved surfaces.
Over a decade ago, discussing cars with 600 horsepower meant creating one of the best ” thoroughbreds” in the business. However, the car industry’s evolution is unstoppable. Today, SUV models that can drive off the pavement while still exceeding 600 horsepower exist.
The SUV models on this list provide a good illustration. All of them feature gasoline engines that produce tremendous power. These SUVs, along with efficient all-wheel-drive systems, give performance comparable to that of a supercar. So we’ve made it easy for you by putting them in order and letting you choose your favorite.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk was the most powerful SUV ever created when it debuted in 2018. Today, there isn’t much of a difference. It has a starting price of $89,940 and is one of the least expensive SUVs on this list. A supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V-8 with an eight-speed automatic gearbox sits behind its hood.
It’s still the same iron-block, pushrod V-8 with two valves per cylinder that has powered the Dodge Charger and Challenger Hellcats since 2015. It’s rated at 707 horsepower and 645 pound-feet of torque in the five-passenger Grand Cherokee, just as it is in the Charger. That’s more than a second and a half faster to 60 mph in the 5.7-liter Hemi-powered Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8. The Trackhawk hit 60 mph in 3.4 seconds in our testing, which is considerably quicker than the 475-hp Grand Cherokee SRT. The Jeep’s top speed is said to be 180 mph.
Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat
The Dodge Durango comes with a 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 that produces 475 horsepower, which is the same engine as found in the Challenger Scat Pack (675 hp). However, Dodge hasn’t exactly made its biggest SUV wait for power. The Durango SRT gets a naturally aspirated 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 from the Challenger Scat Pack (475 hp), but it’s only available in the three-row. The Durango SRT Hellcat, shown above at a tire barbecue, packs a 710-hp supercharged V-8. It has almost as much torque as nine Mitsubishi Mirages (903 lb-ft). We achieved 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds, which is exactly how long it takes the 797-hp Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye we tested. In addition, it can tow up to 8700 pounds.
Jaguar F-Pace SVR
It’s been a long time coming, but the world has finally seen the birth of the 2019 Jaguar F-Pace SVR. After taking its first steps into SUV territory in 2000 with the X-type and following it up with more SUVs over many years, it was only a matter of time before we saw a performance model from one of our favorite British brands. The day that happened, rivals like Porsche and Audi realized they’d been going wrong for decades by producing fast 4x4s brimming with speed and sporting flair, yet also laid back in their dynamic personalities than many others.
The F-Pace SVR is the sports vehicle for those who require a car for use on the daily commute and school run, as well as weekend errands – not one so rigidly suspended that it feels like a huge, rolling vehicle contradiction. It offers all of the speed and drama a car of this size could desire with its snarling 5.0-litre supercharged V8, and its purposeful handling is thrilling, but it’s useful interior and boot space, as well as sensible underpinnings tuning, make it ideal for everyday driving.
The limited-slip rear differential and more sophisticated dampers helped the fantastic F-Pace SVR take first place in this category. The aerodynamics of the new generation have been improved, with a 0.1 percent improvement in area to improve flow underneath and around the vehicle. The long-travel suspension has also undergone an upgrade that should eliminate body roll while cornering (and perhaps enhance ride quality). The model has also been made better rounded and easier to use, without sacrificing its dynamism. The inside and infotainment have also been updated. Make no mistake: this is a superb machine.
Range Rover Sport SVR
A vehicle such as this may be greatly appreciated, but it will almost certainly not be universally adored. Its flagrant thirst, weight, price, and uncomfortable excess all scream “necessity” to others. Others see more as simply more – and the most powerful Range Sport does excess like few other vehicles.
After all, a diesel V8 is plenty quick. However, this is a question of personal preference rather than quality. Adherents of the super-SUV niche – and there are many and increasing – deserve an unfettered opinion that recognizes the outstanding potential among the competition.
There’s no competition that combines such deftness in the handling, off-road skill, and an SUV-esque sense of luxury and comfort.
Porsche Macan GTS
Porsche recently revamped its most popular model, with nearly 100,000 Macans sold in 2017 alone. The company chose to keep the exterior design mostly unaltered when it revitalized it.
Don’t expect it to have taken a break. The Porsche Cayenne S younger brother was already the best-handling vehicle of its kind, and a mechanical refresh has only raised its sky-high standards of precision and composure.
This automobile is enjoyable to drive at nearly any speed. It’s powered by the same 434bhp 2.9-litre turbo V6 found in the previous Macan Turbo, making it a typically quick, agile, and purposeful machine in GTS-badged form.
The Macan GTS features a more elegant appearance than any hot hatch with comparable performance on the motorway journeys. It’s also able to squat down on its suspension in height-adjustable mode, and turn like a contemporary Subaru Impreza wagon – a fact that’s truly amazing to see. It’s not as practical as many of the vehicles here, but it is undeniably more dynamically stunning than any of them.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
The Alfa Romeo first performance SUV hardly needs an introduction. It’s the vehicle whose chassis was approved by the man who previously developed the 458 Speciale’s excellent handling. It also uses a turbo V6 engine designed from a Maranello V8, and it comes from a maker of some of Europe’s most renowned sports sedans and coupés, one that has returned to form after something of a lull.
These elements have come together to stunning effect for the previous few years. Simply put, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is one of the sharpest and most engaging performance SUVs on sale, with superb vertical body control and rapier steering feedback that belies its mass and body shape.
In 2020, a mid-life update helped to alleviate some concerns regarding quality in the cabin, but even so, this isn’t the most comfy fast SUV that a reasonable amount of money can buy. It’s also one of the more demanding members of its class when it comes to ride smoothness and practicality.
If you’re looking for a vehicle that can provide both driving excitement and utility, the Triton is likely the sports SUV for you.
Porsche Cayenne Turbo
This is the fastest real-world SUV accessible. A Cayenne Turbo’s excellent visibility and strong architecture allow it to travel from point to point and in every condition faster than most automobiles.
The Cayenne has lost a touch of incisiveness and rear-driven poise in third-generation guise, which is a shame. The energy with which this 2.3-tonne SUV turns around is still very impressive, but the Cayenne Turbo’s previously passionate temperament has been dialed back a notch to make it a more liveable, widely appealing fast SUV than it was before.
Because it went about the job of being a quick, efficient, and stunningly simple SUV in a unique approach from the majority of its rivals, the SQ7 initially rose to attention because it offered one of the most powerful diesel engines ever seen in an SUV. The 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged diesel V8 was at the heart of this, a powerplant that not only gave the SQ7 tremendous speed but also excellent fuel efficiency – at least when compared to other vehicles on this list.
In 2020, Audi ditched the oil-burner and replaced it with a 4.0-litre twin-turbo petrol V8 that may be found in everything from Audi’s own RS models to Bentleys and Porsches. It produces 500bhp and 568lb ft, all of which is put to good use.
The new Audi Q5 is a stunning vehicle, with a powerful engine and excellent fuel economy. It’s fast, refined, and very comfortable yet has enough cabin space for seven people. Given its size, it performs well too – although it can’t quite compare to Porsche, Alfa Romeo, or Jaguar when it comes to driving engagement. And while the new petrol V8 is an impressive motor in its own right, it isn’t as distinctive as the old diesel.
X4 M Competition and BMW X3 M Competition
The BMW X4 Coupe is the first in a new generation of hot SUVs from the German manufacturer. While there have been several generations of X5 M and X6 M automobiles for many years, this is the first time those vehicles have had smaller siblings.
Unlike the regular FWD 4 Series, which is more comfy and composed on smooth roads, the X3 M and X4 M are much more serious. Rather of air suspension, they feature a fixed-height steel coil suspension, as well as efforts to develop dynamic personalities as high-rising successors of the M3 and M4 rather than every-occasion luxury SUVs with a performance flavor. The X3 M and X4 M are firm-riding, eager-revving six-cylinder alternatives that seem intent on regaining some sporting legitimacy in an industry where many would contend it was already lost.
The two automobiles have the same axles and chassis, which is good because it means they have comparable M5-based four-wheel drive systems that provide surprisingly high grip levels and excellent cornering balance. Even so, they aren’t the easiest vehicles to drive on the limit – and neither does either one of them give you a large range of dynamic possibilities.
Land Rover Defender 90 V8
The V8-powered Defender is back, with a supercharged 5.0-liter engine (located higher on this list) that’s similar to the one found in other vehicles. It isn’t produced by Special Vehicle Operations, however it does have many of the characteristics of such cars: 22-inch wheels, more than 500 horsepower, and a sufficiently fruity exhaust note.
It’s a near-luxury SUV with front-mids and three rows, but it deviates in two primary ways. It looks like no other vehicle on the road and performs like nothing else. The opportunity to compete against established brands for potential new buyers is one of those deviations that leads to rapid growth. On the whole, not a particularly sensible car, but one that people love nevertheless.
Maserati Levante Trofeo
As world anticipation builds for Ferrari’s first crossover, Maserati introduces the Levante Trofeo. It isn’t Italy’s most powerful SUV, but it makes up for that by bringing some significant statistics to the table. In fact, there are two big-power variants of Maserati’s first-ever SUV: a twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V-8 with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The Levante GTS has a 560 horsepower V-8, while the Levante Trofeo packs a 590 hp punch. The engine in the Levante Trofeo is boosted to 590 horses. In our testing, the GTS achieved 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, whereas the Trofeo took 3.5 seconds.
Last year, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, the company’s first SUV, placed 10th on this list. The 6.7-liter twin-turbo V-12 borrowed from the newest Phantom sedan produces 563 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque. However, this year, Rolls has made things a bit more exciting with the Cullinan Black Badge, a more powerful and range-topping variant of the world’s most regal SUV. The V-12’s engine control unit is updated in the Black Badge to produce 600 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. The Cullinan is also the heaviest SUV on this list with suicide doors. During previous testing, the Cullinan tipped the scales at 6086 pounds and achieved 60 mph in 4.5 seconds.
Bentley Bentayga Speed
Bentley’s bug-eyed Bentayga is one of the most expensive SUVs on this list, coming in at around $250,000. The 6.0-liter W-12 twin-turbocharged engine paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission drives the Bentayga, which is rated at 600 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque.The 2013 Bentley Bentayga Speed’s 626-hp twin-turbo W12 engine charges to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, according to our testing (we managed 3.3 seconds with the 542-hp V-8). The engine of the Bentley Bentayga Speed is boosted to 626 horsepower, lowering its claimed zero-to-60 mph time to a conservative 3.8 seconds and raising the SUV’s top speed to 190 mph.
Lamborghini’s first SUV in decades is also the most powerful, and it’s made by Volkswagen. Lambo is part of the VW group, as are Audi, Bentley, and Porsche, and the Urus has a lot in common with the Audi Q8. The radically designed super-SUV is also the only Lambo with fewer than 10 cylinders. The Urus is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 that produces 641 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque, which is coupled to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The Urus is the quickest production SUV we’ve ever tested, with a 3.1-second 0–60 mph time and a quarter-mile elapsed time of 11.3 seconds at 121 mph. The Lamborghini Urus boasts a top speed of 190 miles per hour.