10 Performance SUVs That Are More Fun To Drive Than Sports Cars


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Jun 03, 2023

10 Performance SUVs That Are More Fun To Drive Than Sports Cars

These are the most enjoyable, supercar-slaying high-performance SUVs in the

These are the most enjoyable, supercar-slaying high-performance SUVs in the American market.

SUVs and sports cars used to be polar opposites in terms of purpose and performance. Traditionally, SUVs have been rugged beasts with a 4-wheel drivetrain and a body-on-frame chassis. However, during the last two decades, the demand for SUVs has been rising exponentially around the globe and this has also resulted in more road-oriented performance SUVs being introduced. The Lamborghini LM002 a.k.a. the Rambo Lambo produced back in 1986 powered by the V12 engine of the Lamborghini Countach, can be considered the first super-SUV. However, it was a one-off experiment that was produced in paltry numbers.

Fast-forward to 2003, we saw the inception of the V8-powered Porsche Cayenne. This agile SUV not only aided the brand in achieving record sales numbers and profit but also paved the way for the myriad of super-SUVs that followed. However, as of now, most luxury performance brands manufacture super-SUVs as the demand for the same has risen drastically over the years. These high-performance SUVs are now able to destroy muscle cars in drag races and demolish sports cars around the track. Today have picked the best performance SUVs that are not just rockets on a straight-line, but also extremely impressive at corner-carving and delivering extreme driving ecstasy.

The younger sibling of the supercar-slaying Porsche Cayenne, the Porsche Macan is one of the least expensive Porsches you can buy. Even so, it isn't cheap or affordable by any means, but the enthralling performance this compact luxury SUV offers justifies its high price tag. The top-of-the-line Porsche Macan GTS houses a blazing heart under its hood as it is powered by a 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6.

The twin-turbo motor pushes out 434 horses and can rocket the Macan GTS off to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds. Porsche calls it "an SUV with sports car character" and that is exactly what it delivers with its unerring driving dynamics. Overall, the Porsche Macan GTS is one of the most enjoyable and exhilarating compact luxury SUVs available in the market now.

With a glorious 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 motor pumping 505 ponies to all four wheels via an all-wheel-drivetrain, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a svelte and debonair Italian SUV that is exceptionally fun to drive. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is underpinned by the same chassis that serves as the base of their swaggering sedan, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio.

The enrapturing twin-turbo V6 is also the same as the sedan counterpart and this Ferrari-derived powertrain is flawlessly integrated into the Italian mean machine. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio holds its grips profoundly onto the tarmac around corners and gallops to 60 mph in a stupendous time of 3.3 seconds. This Italian SUV is hands down the most versatile option among compact luxury performance SUVs in the American market.

RELATED: 2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Review: A Compact Family Hauler With Soul

Mercedes-Benz launched a coupe version of the GLE-Class along with the debut of its second-generation, back in 2016. It has then transcended into the best road-oriented performance SUV on the brand's lineup. Its topmost iteration is the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe that comes powered by an exalted 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 handcrafted by AMG that cranks out a whopping 603 horsepower.

The sloping roofline along with the sedan-on-stilts silhouette of the GLE 63 S Coupe make it more pliant, allowing it to be driven more dexterously and swagger a recorded 0–60 time of 3.4 seconds. The ride quality of this coupe SUV is velvety for a high-performance AMG and the powertrain is not just extraordinarily powerful but also silky smooth. All the vigor and extravaganza add up to an engaging yet extremely comfortable driving experience in this exuberant Mercedes SUV.

The OG of all coupe SUVs, the BMW X6 is the one that pioneered and catalyzed the triumph of this peculiar yet popular segment. While the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe is a bit more inclined towards opulence, the BMW X6 M Competition is a true Bimmer that comes with the cardinal intention of delivering "sheer driving pleasure."

The latest BMW X6 M features the Competition package as standard and is propelled by a 617-horsepower twin-turbo V8 engine augmented by a 48-volt mild hybrid system. Power is profuse and speed is superfluous in this coupe SUV, as it can sprint to 60 mph in 3.7 ticks. The BMW X6 M might be slower than the AMG 63 S Coupe, but it makes up for it with its more adroit handling and immense cornering grip that puts even sports cars to shame.

The first of the lot from the Volkswagen Auto Group super-SUVs on this list is the Audi RS Q8. This unassuming Audi SUV is a saner Lamborghini Urus with a milder exterior demeanor that blends in with the crowd. If you configure this high-performance SUV in an unostentatious shade, it will serve as a wolf in sheep's clothing and could be your daily driver or family car that can smoke sports cars with just a step on the throttle.

Under its hood, the Audi RS Q8 gets a 591-horsepower 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine paired with a 48-volt hybrid system that comes mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. 3.2 seconds is what this ritzy super-SUV takes to achieve 60 mph speeds, and it is also the second-fastest SUV to set a record around the hallowed Nürburgring racetrack.

RELATED: 2021 Audi RS Q8 Review: A 600hp Super SUV

Two decades ago, the auto world was flabbergasted by the fact that Porsche, an exquisite German brand renowned as a stringent sports car manufacturer started making an SUV. The newest iteration of the Porsche Cayenne Coupe is the Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT which houses a 631-hp twin-turbo V8 under its hood.

0-60 happens in just 2.8 seconds inside this supercar-annihilating SUV, and it currently holds the record as the fastest SUV around Nürburgring. The pace at which the Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT obliterates the racetrack elucidates how impressively this SUV sticks itself to the asphalt around corners. The Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT is easily the best road SUV you can get under the $200K mark both in terms of speed and driving dynamics.

The Bentley Bentayga Speed is one of the last vehicles to be powered by the breathtaking Bentley W12 engine and that makes it even more special. The humongous 6.0-liter W12 engine in the Bentayga Speed cranks out 626 horsepower and catapults this regal mammoth to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds. On the inside, the occupants are treated to world-class materials and every creature comfort you could imagine.

The Bentley Bentayga Speed is not the most spry-footed SUV among the chosen ten but it is definitely the most comfortable, most extravagant SUV that can be driven enthusiastically. This behemoth SUV is comparable to a Rolls-Royce Cullinan in terms of luxury and to the Porsche Cayenne in terms of driving dynamics hence making it the ultimate combination of sportiness and sumptuousness.

A splendiferous 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine sourced from Mercedes-AMG acts as the beating heart of the Aston Martin DBX 707, generating a colossal output of 697 horses. This magnificent SUV delivers the aesthetics and performance associated with Aston Martin supercars in a more practical package. 0-60 happens in a praiseworthy time of 3.1 seconds and the top speed is limited to a surplus of 193 mph.

Along with the horsepower bump, the DBX 707 also gets a bag of unique goodies to boost its performance. These include a wet-clutch pack for the 9-speed automatic transmission for faster shifts along with a Race Start launch-control feature. Also, standard in the Aston Martin DBX 707 is a set of exclusive carbon fiber ceramic brakes that makes sure to bring the SUV to a stop effectively.

RELATED: Watch The Rivian R1S, Aston Martin DBX 707, And Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Wage War On The Quarter-Mile

Now for the monarch that rules the high-performance SUV segment and the one that coined the term super-SUV. While the Porsche Cayenne impressed enthusiasts, the Lamborghini Urus was the one that blew our minds with its immense supercar appeal and thunderous performance. The latest, fastest, most evolved variant of this speed demon is the Lamborghini Urus Performante.

This Lamborghini SUV does not possess the bona fide Italian pedigree associated with the first Lambo SUV the LM002 as the Lamborghini Urus is actually an Audi RS Q8 decked out in a more aggressive skin. However, it is more lively and agile in the Lambo attire. The Urus Performante's 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 puts out an increased 657 horsepower and does 0–60 runs in three seconds flat while its Akrapovic exhaust emits a rhapsodic note.

Ferrari was the last among the most popular exotic car manufacturers to join the super-SUV squad. The Ferrari Purosangue has been on the cards for some time now finally launching for the 2024 model year. Even though the prancing horse is late to the arena, it has brought enough hellfire along with it to frighten and vanquish any of its early-bird competitors.

For starters, while the rest of the pack except the ultra-luxurious Bentley Bentayga Speed stuck to a V8 engine, the Ferrari Purosangue comes packing a Stentorian V12 engine under its hood. The sonorous 6.5-liter naturally aspirated V12 engine churns out a maximum of 715 horsepower and slingshots the seraphic SUV to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds. It also drives and handles like a true Ferrari and overall this Ferrari SUV is undoubtedly the most exquisite super-SUV money can buy now.

Amal Shaw is a Visual Communication graduate and automotive aficionado. He is curious and enthusiastic about everything automotive, ranging from motorcycles to sports cars and pickup trucks.