The SUV is, first and foremost, designed to be practical. At the base level, they are neither fast nor fuel-efficient, leaving redeeming features of immense cargo spaces, towing capacity, and legroom as their focal selling points. But because Americans still prefer to have a little performance to go with all that practicality, automakers have found themselves cranking out some seriously beefed-up SUVs in recent years.
Many modern day, track-prepped SUVs offer sports-car spanking performance in an unassuming shell, and even though they may be quite costly, the thought of 550-horsepower soccer mom machines like the Range Rover Sport SVR we reviewed are a performance guy’s dream come true.
Sure, not everyone needs an extreme grocery-getter, but if you are going to be buying a V8-powered SUV anyway, you might as well go all-out and opt for the one that has the powerband of a tactical nuke. Running late is never fun, so having a car that can get you there faster than any minivan on the market is a great way to teach your kids that punctuality is a vital part of being a responsible adult.
Not surprisingly, the Germans have set a strong example of what punctuality and fast SUVs look like, as a huge portion of this list showcases their ability to build insanely swift automobiles, regardless of what size or shape they may be. So let’s cut to the chase. Here are twelve of the fastest SUVs you can buy straight off the showroom floor, ranked in order via their zero to sixty capabilities.
12. Ford Explorer Sport EcoBoost
The Ford Explorer Sport is an unusual entry on this list for a couple of reasons: Firstly, it doesn’t pack a throaty, demon-summoning V8 like most of the others. Secondly, it’s a Ford, so it doesn’t have the same panache one typically finds in a luxury-ridden people-mover. What it does have is a 365 horsepower, twin-turbo EcoBoost V6, the same engine found in the Taurus SHO and the F-150. This motor moves the Explorer from 0-60 in 5.9 seconds, and with aftermarket tuners building a slew of Explorer Sports for SEMA this year, you better believe this SUV is just going to get faster.
11. Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG
The Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG has two huge factors working against it: Weight (it easily tops 6,000 pounds), and having the aerodynamics of a shipping container. Starting at $135,700, the G63 AMG is one of Mercedes’ most expensive vehicles (at least here in the States), and with an engine like this we can see why. Numbers for this model may only be 18 horsepower more than the regular ML63, but those 536 ponies push this SUV to sixty in a scant 5.3 seconds thanks to help from 560 pound-feet of torque.
10. Audi SQ5
Like the Explorer, the Audi SQ5 makes do with a forced-induction V6. But unlike the Ford, this SUV is supercharged and lays out 354 horsepower, which allows the smaller SUV to sprint to 60 in just 5.1 seconds. Weighing in at 4,409 pounds doesn’t hurt either, as the SQ5 is lighter on its feet than both the Ford and the Mercedes previously listed. Equipped with Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system, and rocking driving mode adjustability, this machine is a great sleeper car, because aside from some different badges, sport exhaust tips, branded brakes, and a few aerodynamic tweaks, this SUV looks almost identical to its weaker Q5 sibling.
9. Land Rover Range Rover Sport
Land Rover is one of the top names in the luxury off-road business, but that wouldn’t be the case if it were not for the supercharged, 510 horsepower 5.0-liter V8 that moves the Range Rover Sport to sixty in five second flat. In addition to its muscular engine, this version offers an immense array of in-car technology, while remaining one of the best-handling off-road SUVs on the market today. It may start at $79,950 but for that much money you get a vehicle that hauls ass and isn’t an embarrassment to be seen in when it is time to pick the kids up from the pool.
8. Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG
The Mercedes GL63 AMG is the most powerful SUV from the brand in the U.S., churning out 557 horsepower, not just for fun, but primarily because it needs to since it is the largest vehicle in the Mercedes-Benz lineup and weighs in at over 5,500 pounds. However, the GL’s 5.5-liter Biturbo V8 is quite the beast, and can get the seven-passenger SUV up to sixty miles per hour in 4.9 seconds, putting it in the same league as many sports cars, while still offering far more versatility.
7. Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is no slouch, but the SRT version is the model to have if you’re looking for colon-punching power. This SUV’s 6.4-liter HEMI V8 churns out 475 horses, thus pegging a zero to sixty time of 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 160 without issue if the occasion should ever present itself. Starting at $64,895, it’s an expensive play on the Chrysler badge, but when compared to some of the other SUVs on today’s cheat sheet, this slice of Detroit muscle is one hell of a good bargain.
6. Porsche Macan Turbo
Consider this next SUV as a low calorie, Jenny Craig version of the ever popular Cayenne. The Porsche Macan Turbo boasts 400 horsepower, snags 164 miles per hour without issue, and can smash sixty in just 4.6 seconds. Naturally, you will have to pay for that privilege, as it starts at $73,900 which is just for the most base version, but who cares? Few people opt for base model Porsches anyways, because if they are going to be spending that much on a car in the first place, they might as well go all-in and get the gnarliest version imaginable.
5. Range Rover Sport SVR
Hitting sixty in just 4.5 seconds, and setting a world record for being the fastest SUV to ever go around the Nürburgring last year, the tuned-up SVR version of the aforementioned Range Rover Sport is an insanely good machine. Cranking out 550-horsepower via its supercharged, twin-intercooled V8 engine, this free-flowing automobile has got to be one of the coolest cars you can buy for $111,350. Just be sure to save some money for clean underpants, because you’re going to need them.
4. Mercedes-Benz GLE63 AMG
$97,250 may not buy you Mercedes-Benz’s most expensive SUV, but it will buy you the GLE63 AMG and all of its 577 unbridled ponies. Sporting a 5.5-liter, turbocharged V8, and slapping sixty in just 4.2 seconds, this aggressive-looking Benz is a real Corvette killer when the chips are down. Sure, a throaty V8 growl and a seven-speed transmission may make all four AMG wheels lunge off the line lickety-split, but it is the top speed of 155 miles per hour that is guaranteed to get your adrenaline jumping.
3. Bentley Bentayga
With 600 horsepower, zero to sixty times of four seconds flat, an engine that is bigger than most compact cars, and a price tag that is even more imposing, the Bentley Bentayga is now officially available for pre-ordering. Larger than life, and opulent beyond compare, this polarizing slice of extravagance is a car that you don’t just drive, it drives you.
2. BMW X6 M
BMW’s X6 M is one of those vehicles that tries to straddle segments with mixed results. BMW calls it a “Sports Activity Coupe,” but what it really comes down to is that this is an X5-sized behemoth with 567-horsepower under the hood. This translates to a 155 mile per hour top speed and a zero to sixty time of 4 seconds, which lands it in our number two spot today. At $102,200 the X6 M is way cheaper than our final contender, all while offering comparable performance numbers, but sadly its trunk space remains one of the most unusable aspects of the vehicle.
1. Porsche Cayenne Turbo
Our big winner comes to us incarnated in the form of a Porsche Cayenne Turbo S. A SUV that handles sixty in a supercar stomping 3.8 seconds, rocks a 570 horsepower twin-turbo V8 engine, and can manage 175 miles per hour at full-tilt without question. Not surprisingly, it commands a very Porsche-like price point of $157,300, but what would you expect from what is essentially a Carrera SUV designed to haul both kids and ass at a moment’s notice?