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If you’ve ever been to a kid’s soccer game, you’ve probably seen a Dodge Durango in the parking lot. A mainstay for drivers everywhere, especially for families, the Dodge Durango has been a go-to vehicle for years. 

This year, Dodge made headlines when marrying the Durango’s dependability and the insanely powerful Hellcat engine. Thus, the American automaker birthed arguably the most powerful SUV on the market. 

Conversely, the BMW X5 M is the epitome of luxury when it comes to SUVs. BMW put its full weight behind the X5 M, equipping it with all the stately and supple designs and amenities one comes to expect from the brand. When drivers think of buying a BMW, they automatically think of race-inspired performance and high-end quality, and the X5 M is no exception. 

The 2021 Dodge Durango Hellcat and the BMW X5 M are headliners in their own right. Each vehicle is sensational, bringing very specific and different amenities to the table for consumers. So this begs the question, which one of these stand-out SUVs is the more sensible purchase, and does either model deliver anything more than gimmicks? 

The 2021 Dodge Durango Hellcat: The king of performance 

A silver and black 2021 Dodge Durango Hellcat driving on a track
The 2021 Dodge Durango Hellcat in action | Photo via Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Dodge’s high-octane SUV is a once-in-a-lifetime vehicle – quite literally. The Dodge Durango Hellcat is limited to the 2021 model year, after which production will cease. This special-edition Durango doesn’t run cheap either, as it has a starting MSRP of $80,995. Pre-orders are now open, but the SUV isn’t expected to arrive on dealer lots until early 2021.

Like the Dodge Challenger Hellcat and Charger Hellcat, this performance-born SUV delivers outrageous power. Its 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine kicks out 710 hp and 645 lb-ft of torque. Plus, the 2021 Dodge Durango Hellcat sprints from 0-60 MPH in only 3.5 seconds, and it has a top speed of 180 MPH.

How does the 2021 BMW X5 M compare in terms of power? It doesn’t come close. The 2021 X5 M’s 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 produces just 600 hp. Admittedly, that’s a ton more horsepower than drivers will ever need, but we’re talking about SUVs that were built to test the limits of engineering. The BMW X5 M fares better in its acceleration time, going from 0-60 MPH in 3.8 seconds.

Adding the Competition Package to the X5 M gives it a 17-hp boost, along with style and performance enhancements. However, it costs an extra $9,000, which may be too much when comparing it to the more reasonably priced 2021 Dodge Durango Hellcat.

The 2021 BMW X5 M: The epitome of style and substance

A blue 2021 BMW X5 M Competition on display
The 2021 BMW X5 M Competition on display | Photo via BMW

High-end luxury performance vehicles command a high price. That’s why it’s not surprising that the 2021 BMW X5 M is much more expensive than the limited-edition 2021 Dodge Durango Hellcat. The X5 M has a starting MSRP of $105,100, but it’s easy to identify why spending those extra bucks might be worth it.

The 2021 BMW X5 M is outfitted with premium-grade materials, such as carbon-fiber trim, a leather dashboard, and Merino leather upholstery. Meanwhile, it comes standard with cutting-edge technologies that you’ll likely make use of daily. These include wireless device charging, a real-time traffic information system with on-street parking info in select cities, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Meanwhile, the 2021 Dodge Durango Hellcat has a more performance-focused interior. It has niceties like race-inspired leather seats that help the driver stay in place while cornering. Plus, it comes with a premium 19-speaker sound system and a 10.1-inch touchscreen display. However, it doesn’t quite offer the same level of amenities as the 2021 BMW X5 M. After all, Dodge makes muscle cars, not luxury vehicles.

The final verdict: which SUV reigns supreme? 

The SUV market is highly competitive, so automakers have had to become exceedingly creative to have a breakout model in the division. Dodge and BMW have succeeded in breaking the mold when it comes to the 2021 Durango Hellcat and 2021 X5 M. Each SUV stands out in its own right but for very different reasons. 

When it all comes down to it for most drivers, price is everything. A car can be phenomenal, but if it’s not in the budget, it’s not going to work for you. This is an area where the 2021 Dodge Durango outshines its BMW competitor. At a staggeringly lower cost, the Durango Hellcat outperforms and outmatches the BMW X5 M in horsepower and straight-line speed. Additionally, since the Durango Hellcat is limited edition, it likely won’t depreciate as much over the years, making your investment even more savvy in the long run.

However, if you’re thirsty for power but still want to be treated like royalty, the 2021 BMW X5 M is the better bet. It costs more upfront, but that’ll pay dividends with all the added luxuries you’d expect from BMW.


BMW X5 and X6 M Competition First Edition Variants Limited to 250 Each