The automotive market is now infested with SUVs due to the popular buy from customers. Part of the reason is that they are high riding vehicles which are more spacious and practical. Car manufacturers have seen the perfect opportunity to introduce performance SUVs for those who want the best of both worlds with quickness and versatility. There are many fast SUVs to choose from if you’re looking to smoke an average hot hatchback at the red light and looking like a boss while doing it.
When a car accelerates, it is determined by the direct throttle response going to the engine and hoping that it is not induced by turbo lag but that is something that automakers were able to solve. The powertrain needs to be efficient enough at delivering all that power to the differential, the wheel axles, and then to the wheels. It depends on the drive wheel layout but usually, four-wheel drive is the best option at achieving an instant launch off the line. SUVs are big and heavy so a lot of power and torque is required to make them quick.
I have compiled the fastest accelerating SUVs that are currently on sale. Please note that the sprint time mentioned is claimed by the manufacturers and is in metric measurement meaning it’s “0-100 km/h”.
- Bentley Bentayga Speed: 0-100 km/h in 3.9 Seconds
Who would’ve thought that a big, luxurious SUV from a British carmaker that values style and quilted leather can be such a beast? This Bentley SUV is no slouch at all and even the trim model name “Speed” says it all. The 6.0 litre twin-turbocharged W12 produces 626 hp (466 kW) and 900 Nm of torque. Even though it weighs 2 500 kg, it can still do 306 km/h flat out making it one of the fastest SUVs in the world by top speed. It has an 8-Speed ZF automatic and a 48-volt Dynamic Ride System to reduce body roll. The base price of this titanic enchantress is R4 595 000.
- Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S & GLE 63 S, BMW X5 M & X6 M, Audi RS Q8, Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-hybrid: 0-100 km/h in 3.8 Seconds
Sitting at a cool number 4 is the Germans because they basically make the same car. The Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S and GLE 63 S use the same 4.0-litre Twin-Turbocharged V8 born from the “one man, one engine” philosophy. In the GLC it makes 503 hp (375 kW) & 700 Nm of torque and in the GLE is 603 hp (450 kW) and 850 Nm of torque. The BMW X5 M and X6 M are basically the same and perform the same. They use a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine with 625 hp (460 kW) & 750 Nm of torque on the competition models. They have the M xDrive all-wheel drive system, an 8-Speed Automatic torque converter and a top speed of 290 km/h.
The cousins from VAG share the same engine, a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine but with different power outputs. The Ingolstadt-born Audi RS Q8 produces 592 hp (441 kW) and 800 Nm of torque with a top speed of 306 km/h and it is the fastest SUV around the Nurburgring. The long name Porsche is a hybrid meaning it has 541 hp (403 kW) V8 engine and a 134 hp (100 kW) electric motor, together they produce 675 hp (503 kW) in order to make this heavy SUV quick.
- Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT-8 Trackhawk: 0-100 km/h in 3.7 Seconds
This SUV is the definition of more power, more speed. Jeep decided to go all out and fitted a 6.2-litre supercharged V8 engine from the Challenger Hellcat and it produces a ridiculous 707 hp (523 kW) and 881 Nm of torque making it the most powerful SUV on this list. Just like any other performance SUV, it has launch control and four-wheel drive. The power is shifted on an 8-Speed TorqueFlite Automatic and Jeep has also slapped in a limited-slip differential. The price of this car is not bad, only R2.2 million considering the power you getting.
- Lamborghini Urus: 0-100 km/h in 3.6 Seconds
The SUV that has created a new category, the “Super-Sport Utility Vehicle”. This is a track monster because it’s a Lamborghini but a rather shy type as it doesn’t look as flamboyant as a Lambo should be. It is powered by a borrowed 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine from Audi and has been tweaked to produce 641 hp (478 kW) and 850 Nm of torque with a top speed of 305 km/h. It is also offered with an off-road package so that you can go explore the wilderness in your Lambo. Base price? It’s R3 495 000.
- Tesla Model X P100D: 0-100 km/h in 3.1 Seconds, 2.8 Seconds in Ludicrous Mode
The Model X definitely deserves the number one spot and surprisingly it was released in 2016 but it is still the quickest car against 2019-2020 performance SUVs on this list. It is all-electric, has rear falcon doors like on the Mercedes-AMG SLS, and has a huge price tag. It is powered by a 100-kWh battery and has two electric motors and one is for each axle making it all-wheel drive. It produces 605 hp (451 kW) and 967 Nm of torque. The Model X P100D can maintain a range of 425 km on a single charge and has a top speed of 250 km/h. It is so amazing that a clean, silent, 7 seater family SUV mops the floor with these internal combustion engines on the acceleration aspect and produces no carbon emissions while doing that. It shows how awesome electric vehicles are and how they will shape the future for the better.