The term fastest SUV used to be an oxymoron. Years ago, going 0 to 60 in five seconds or less was an area reserved for only the fastest of cars. Vipers, Porsches, AMG Mercedes-Benzes and other sports cars ruled this territory. Nowadays, this segment is becoming populated with sport utility vehicles. These monolithic SUVs all weigh more than two tons, but feature meaty V8s that shoot the vehicle to 60 in five seconds or less. These vehicles are not for the faint-at-heart or the thin-in-wallet, for the cheapest is more than $60,000. The most expensive can easily be twice that. However, with any of these SUVS, you will be able to leave a sports car in your dust.
The Porsche Cayenne Turbo goes from 0 to 60 in 4.4 seconds. It is propelled to a top speed of 172mph by a 500hp 4.8L twin-turbocharged V8 engine. It starts at $105,000, but can easily get more expensive with options. Adaptive suspension is standard, but another option called chassis control helps keep the vehicle more stable at higher speeds. Though it is heavier, much weight was cut on the newer model and it has the ability to shut off the engine during stops to conserve fuel. A Turbo S version is in the works. Like the former Turbo S, it will have around 500hp, and it may even break the 4 second barrier.
There are two high-performance models from BMW’s M Division: the X5 M and X6 M. These are similar SUVs with identical powertrains. They both feature a 4.4L twin-turbocharged V8 engine with 555hp. They both are claimed to sprint from 0 to 60 in 4.7 seconds. There are also many features available on these models, but the addition of the M packages on the X5 and X6 means the loss of almost all off-road capabilities. However, their road performance is great. Prices start in the mid to high $80,000s.
Another German SUV would be the $91,000 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG. With a 6.3L V8 engine that produces 503hp, this SUV goes from 0 to 60 in about 4.8 seconds. However, its top speed is only 155, far below that of the Porsche Cayenne. The AMG styling kit on this one hampers off-road performance, but gives the car a very high-performance and aggressive appearance. All of the standard Mercedes-Benz luxury is available on the ML63 AMG.
Another wicked-fast sport utility is the Infiniti FX50S. With a 5.0L V8 engine producing 390hp, it’s not so fast as others such as the Porsche Cayenne, but it still does 0 to 60 in 5 seconds flat. This model also has an adaptive suspension and a technology that improves handling by steering the rear wheels just slightly. Its exterior styling is the most striking of the bunch with 21-inch Enkei rims and functional side vents. An unnecessary aero package is available. Another interesting feature is the Around View monitor, which displays an image of the car top-down, helping with parking. The Infiniti is the cheapest of the bunch, at a mere $63,000.