Suv That Drives Like A Sports Car – With exhilarating performance, decent dynamic capability and practical SUV bodywork, a sporty 4×4 may be an acquired taste, but here’s our list of the 10 best cars for the money
Performance SUVs are among the most divisive cars on sale. They are strong and heavy, and often of a shape that would make aerodynamicists cringe.
Suv That Drives Like A Sports Car
But they are also efficient, combining the speed of a sports car and the practicality of a large car with the – to some – modern image of an SUV.
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As this list of 10 cars shows, they are all quite unusual and make this class one of the most eclectic in the new car market today. These cars are for those who want it all: luxury, performance, space, appeal, lots of four-wheel drive and lots of driver appeal. Does everyone have to be so stubborn in their refusal to compromise?
When Jaguar started making SUVs, it was a very lucrative possibility that they would one day make a performance SUV. On race day he showed many of his faster German rivals where they were wrong by launching a fast 4×4 full of speed and sporting capability but more relaxed than most in its dynamic nature.
The F-Pace SVR is a sports car for those who want to use a car for commuting, school trips and weekend errands – not one so rigid it feels like a giant, rolling contradictory car. Its supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine provides all the speed and drama a car of this size needs, and its determined handling is exhilarating, but its utilitarian cabin and boot and practical chassis setup also make it fit for the real world.
The 2021 facelift helped push the excellent F-Pace SVR to the top of the list. Its body is now more aerodynamic. A new torque converter automatic gearbox carried directly from Project 8 can now handle all of the V8’s 516 lb ft in all gears. Suspension changes make the model rounder and more usable without compromising on dynamics. The interior and infotainment system have also been updated. Make no mistake, this is some really impressive kit.
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A car like this is widely praised, but certainly not so loved. For some, the blatant thirst, weight, cost, and comfort-limiting excess are definitely unnecessary. For others, more is more – and the hottest Range Sport offers unparalleled service.
After all, a diesel V8 is fast enough. However, this is a matter of taste, not quality. The fan base of the niche super SUV is large and growing, and they earn their fair share, recognizing the excellent prospects of many.
When Porsche recently revived its best-selling model – nearly 100,000 Macans were sold in 2017 alone – it chose to keep the exterior design largely unchanged.
Don’t assume it’s resting on its laurels just yet. The Porsche Cayenne’s little brother is already the best-handling car in its class, and mechanical tweaks only take its precision and composure to the next level.
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It’s a really rewarding car that can be driven at almost any speed. Under the guise of GTS branding, it’s powered by the same 434bhp 2.9-litre turbocharged V6 as the old Macan Turbo, so it’s generally a fast, nimble and purposeful proposition
With standard air suspension, the Macan GTS has a more refined character on the highway than any hot hatchback of comparable speed. At other times, it can lower itself onto the axles in a height-adjustable fashion and turn like a modern Subaru Impreza wagon – a phenomenon well worth seeing.
It’s not as practical as many of the cars here, but it’s arguably more impressive than any of the others.
Alfa Romeo’s first SUV needs little introduction. The chassis of this car bears the signature of the man who brought you the wheel of the famed Ferrari 458 Speciale. It also has a turbocharged V6 derived from the Maranello V8, itself from the maker of some of Europe’s most respected sports saloons and coupes, revived after a hiatus.
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In recent years, these elements have combined to stunning effect. In short, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is one of the sharpest, most engaging performance SUVs on the market today, with excellent body vertical control and steering response that belies its bulk and silhouette.
A mid-2020 update helped fix some perceived quality issues in the cabin, but even so, it’s still not the flashiest fast SUV you can buy. As before, it is also one of the most uncompromising members of its class when it comes to driving refinement and everyday usability.
But if driving pleasure is your main concern, this might be the sporty SUV for you.
In fact, it’s the fastest SUV you can get. Thanks to excellent visibility and a highly efficient chassis, the Cayenne Turbo can get from one point to another faster than most cars in all weather conditions.
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However, in its third-generation guise, the Cayenne has lost some of the rear-wheel drive poise and poise that made its predecessor such an impressive performance SUV. Make no mistake: the 2.3-tonne SUV’s directional prowess is still phenomenal, but the Cayenne Turbo was cranky back then, as if it had stepped back from being a more livable and engaging fast SUV than before.
The SQ7 initially stood out as a fast, efficient and impressively practical SUV in a slightly different way than most of its rivals. At its heart is the twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 diesel engine, an engine that not only gives the SQ7 some pretty impressive speed, but decent fuel economy too – at least in the context of the other cars on this list.
For 2020, however, Audi has abandoned the oil burner in favor of a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged petrol V8, which can be found on everything from Audi’s RS models to Bentleys and Porsches. It puts out 500 horsepower and 568 lb ft here – all to impressive effect.
It’s an impressive car, this one – fast, refined and supremely comfortable, with plenty of room for seven people. It also handles well for its size – although it can’t match the direct involvement of the driver of a Porsche, Alfa Romeo or Jaguar. While the new petrol V8 is a remarkable engine in its own right, it’s not as unusual as the old diesel.
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The GLC 63 Coupé’s biggest enemy is its five-door sibling, as the car shares the same performance with an equally heady V8 engine.
But if you like the coupe’s distinctive, distinctive styling, then the car’s popularity is almost unparalleled. It has the luxurious cabin quality you’d expect from a Mercedes-AMG, and it also beats the Porsche Macan Turbo to 60 mph by half a second – although it can’t match that car’s dynamic prowess.
Its firm, boisterous ride will limit its appeal to less enthusiastic drivers. However, keeping the moody V8 petrol engine in a mid-performance SUV will be enough to entice some people to buy the GLC 63 Coupé when some rivals move to the six-cylinder.
BMW is a newcomer to the line of manufacturers making hot SUVs for the smaller segment of the market. Although the X5 M and X6 M have been around for years, this is the first time the car has been offered in a smaller variant.
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They are unusually serious, tight-lipped colleagues. The X3 M and X4 M use fixed height steel coil suspension rather than air suspension, and are designed to emulate the dynamic character of the more luxurious M3 and M4 rather than the luxury all-round performance-style SUV with firm handling. , six-cylinder engine options are shifting quickly and seem keen to regain some sporting credibility in an effort many believe was doomed.
Both cars share the same axle and chassis setup and use the same four-wheel drive system derived from the M5, which combine to provide surprisingly high levels of grip and sharp cornering balance. Still, they’re not the easiest cars to push to the limit – nor do they offer the broadest dynamics manual in their class.
The V8 Power Defender is back, with the 5.0-liter supercharged engine elsewhere on this list (i.e., significantly higher). It wasn’t designed by the Special Operations Vehicles Division, but it has many of those cars’ hallmarks: 22-inch wheels, over 500 horsepower, and a fruity exhaust note to match.
On the road it’s smooth, refined and unnervingly fast, and while it doesn’t act like an F-Type SVR or a Cayenne Turbo (how can it?), it’s powerful and satisfying. All in all, not a sensible car at all, but very nice.
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Other SUVs are more luxurious and even better suited for high speeds, but the Levante offers a lot of range