The UK’s top 10 fastest SUVs 2020
Need to get somewhere quickly, luxuriously and with plenty of space and tech? You need one of the fastest SUVs currently on sale in the UK.
The popularity of the SUV continues uninterrupted, so it’s unsurprising that so many of them have spawned super-fast performance variants. Chances are, most of the SUVs you can think of are either already available in this form, or there’s a version in the pipeline.
At one end of the scale you’ve got hot versions of mainstream family cars - like the Cupra Ateca and BMW X2 M35i - and at the other you’ve got six-figure luxury rocket ships like the Maserati Levante Trofeo and Aston Martin DBX. There will even be smaller fast SUVs soon; the Ford Puma ST and Hyundai Kona N are both in development at the time of writing.
Not all have ridiculously uneconomical petrol engines, as you’ll see from the list below. A lot of plug-in hybrids (like the Volvo XC60 T8 Twin Engine) and electric SUVs (such as the Jaguar I-Pace) offer eye-opening straight-line speed. Many of these cars aren’t just quick in a straight line - most use the latest technology to give surprising cornering ability too.
Read on for our rundown of the fastest SUVs you can buy in the UK.
If you want to launch from a standstill to licence-losing speeds as quickly as possible, you need electric power. More precisely, you need the Tesla Model X Performance, with a ‘Ludicrous’ driving mode that means 0-62mph takes just 2.7 seconds. That’s only a couple of tenths of a second slower than a Bugatti Chiron, but the Model X is a bulky seven-seat SUV capable of near-silent cruising. When you’re not using the full potential of the electric motors, Tesla promises a range of 301 miles between charges.
Not even Lamborghini can ignore the popularity of SUVs, and the Urus is already its bestselling model. It may have a higher ground clearance and more doors than typical Lamborghinis, but it’s still just as attention-grabbing - and just as fast. The VW Group’s ownership of Lamborghini means the Urus has the same 641bhp V8 engine as the Porsche Cayenne. Acceleration to 62mph takes a scant 3.6 seconds and it won’t stop it reaches 190mph.
If you prefer your super-fast SUV more American than Italian, the most powerful SUV in the world might be more appealing. With a 6.2-litre V8 engine from the Dodge Challenger Hellcat, the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk gets a mountainous 707bhp and a scarcely believable 3.7-second 0-62mph time - despite weighing 2.4 tonnes. Because it’s so heavy and has all that power, visits to fuel stations will be frequent and expensive. The Grand Cherokee is Jeep’s flagship SUV, pitched against cars like the Audi Q7 and BMW X5.
So far, Audi has only given the RS treatment to two of its SUVs, with one being the flagship Q8. As you’d expect, it’s suitably powerful; the 4.0-litre twin-turbo engine - shared with the Audi RS6 - kicks out 592bhp, which is sufficient for a 0-62mph-time of 3.8 seconds. If you spec the optional Dynamic Plus package, the top speed is raised from 155mph to 189mph - a whisker off the much costlier Urus. The RS Q8 isn’t cheap, though; all versions have six-figure price tags.
The Porsche Cayenne Coupe is a sleeker version of the Cayenne SUV and your choice will come down to the styling, as in many respects the two cars are identical. They both have a range-topping Turbo S E-Hybrid PHEV model, which offers a staggering amount of power. You get 671bhp, the ability to sprint from 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 183mph, plus most people’s commutes can be done on electric power if you keep the battery topped up. The Coupe is a little bit more expensive than the SUV, but it’s small change when you’re spending over £120,000.
The BMW X5 is now in its fourth generation, and it’s more practical but still manages to be an SUV for keen drivers. That’s especially true of the range-topping X5 M, with its 617bhp 4.4-litre V8. Four-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission allow the X5 M to exactly match the Cayenne Coupe, RS Q8 and Stelvio Quadrifoglio, and its 180mph top speed (removing the 155mph limiter is an option) is mightily impressive. BMW also offers a xDrive45e plug-in hybrid, which still hits 0-62mph in 5.6 seconds but can travel for up to 54 miles on electric power.
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is the company’s first SUV but it’s still almost as good to drive as any other Alfa. Even the standard Stelvio offers agility, responsive steering and little body roll, and the Quadrifoglio adds breathtaking performance to the recipe. Its Ferrari-developed 2.9-litre V6 may be the smallest engine in any of the cars on this list, but it produces 503bhp and a 0-62mph-time of just 3.8 seconds. The top speed is 176mph, while the styling and badge also add to the appeal.
Before the Audi RS Q8 came along, the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S claimed the Nurburgring lap record for the fastest SUV. That, and it’s faster than the quickest Porsche Macan, should tell you all about the GLC tree-topper. There are two versions with either 469bhp or 503bhp, and we expect most buyers to go for the latter. Both will struggle to hit 20mpg, but the 503bhp S version enables a 3.8-second 0-62mph sprint and a derestricted 174mph top speed. It also adds a racetrack pack and bigger wheels.
The Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S might be bigger and heavier than the AMG GLC, but an extra 100bhp means it’s just as fast, in terms of both acceleration and top speed. Other markets get a 563bhp ‘base’ version, but only the full-fat 603bhp S variant is coming to the UK. There may be a mild-hybrid system fitted, but don’t think the brawny GLE models will be in any way economical - driven carefully, you’ll manage around 24.5mpg.
Considering the Bentley Bentayga’s opulent image (and similarly opulent price tag), it’s fitting that it has one of the biggest engines on this list. The 6.0-litre W12 engine fitted in the flagship Bentayga Speed is a Bentley staple, and it’s no less effective in the two-and-a-half tonne SUV. It needs 3.9 seconds to hit 62mph from a standstill, and its 190mph top speed is a fraction higher than that of the Urus, making the Bentayga Speed the fastest SUV in the world.