Do you recall the uproar back in 2003 when Porsche unleashed the Cayenne upon the world, and it seemed like everyone lost their minds? The cries of “How dare they!” and “Porsche should stick to sports cars!” echoed far and wide. Some even prophesied the apocalypse, threatening to cancel their subscriptions in protest. However, much to everyone’s surprise, Porsche not only weathered the storm but thrived. They continued producing the beloved Boxster and an array of impressive 911s, proving that the world didn’t come crashing down.
Fast forward to the present, and the new reality in the automotive realm is crystal clear – profitability is the name of the game for survival. Even revered sports car manufacturers have had to adapt. In a market dominated by crossovers, SUVs, and pickup trucks, the unwritten rule is that everyone, sports car makers included, must dip their toes into the SUV waters to stay afloat.
Surprisingly, this shift in focus has yielded unexpected benefits, especially in the upper echelons of the market. Most of these SUVs, born from the necessity of staying competitive, not only offer practicality but also deliver an exhilarating driving experience. Face it, you can’t haul lumber or participate in the carpool lane in a sleek 911. So, dive into the choices available and find an SUV that not only serves your daily needs but also brings a smile to your face every time you hit the road.
Unveiling the Top 10 Luxury SUV Cars in the world
1) Aston Martin DBX $176,900
Aston Martin has gracefully entered the luxury SUV arena with its latest offering, the DBX, and what an entrance it is. Riding on a distinctive all-aluminum platform, this SUV is propelled by its own iteration of the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 seen in the DB11 and Vantage. Packing a punch, it boasts 542 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, achieving a swift 0-60 time of 4.3 seconds and a top speed of 181 mph – figures befitting the Aston Martin legacy. However, it’s the additional specs that add a delightful twist to the equation, including a robust 5,940-pound towing capacity and a ground clearance of 9.25 inches at its maximum ride height. It’s a contradiction of practicality and luxury, beautifully embodied in the DBX.
In a landscape where many SUVs settle for mundane exteriors, the DBX stands out as a paragon of elegance, arguably holding the title until the arrival of the Ferrari Purosangue in 2022.
Having had the opportunity to test drive a U.S.-spec DBX in California recently, I navigated a 76-mile loop encompassing winding mountain roads, uneven off-road terrain, and even a stretch of the Interstate. While the DBX handled the off-road challenges with technical prowess, the 22-inch wheels fitted with Pirelli P Zeros (285/40 in front and 325/35 rear) indicated their true comfort zone on the pavement. On asphalt, it cornered with the agility of a sports car, reminiscent of the Lamborghini Urus. The DBX’s 48-volt active anti-roll bars, sourced from AMG, maintained a lean angle of no more than one degree, lending it a hyper-robotic feel behind the wheel – an adjustment akin to transitioning from a super-sports car to an SUV.
Once accustomed to the lack of roll and the immediate responsiveness of the steering, your lap times in the DBX are likely to plummet faster than your credit rating if you’ve stretched your finances to own one. Aston Martin, like other supercar manufacturers, recognized the necessity of venturing into the SUV realm, a move underscored by Porsche’s success with the Cayenne two decades ago. The DBX project, initiated in 2015 under the leadership of then-CEO Andy Palmer, has benefited substantially from Aston Martin’s collaboration with AMG. While the German influence and the infusion of funds from new chairman Lawrence Stroll may be pivotal in securing Aston Martin’s financial viability, it is undoubtedly the SUV, epitomized by the DBX, that holds the key to rescuing this iconic supercar manufacturer.
2) 2022 Ferrari Purosangue $350,000
If the Porsche Cayenne raised eyebrows among sports purists back in 2003, the notion of a Ferrari SUV is akin to vehicular sacrilege. Perhaps we should collectively seek confession for such automotive heresy. After our penance, it might be prudent to postpone any grand decisions regarding ultra-luxury SUV purchases until the anticipated arrival of this crimson marvel in 2022. Although details are currently sparse, a recent Autocar interview with Ferrari’s chief technical officer, Michael Leiters, shed some light on the matter. Admittedly, the information wasn’t neatly packaged, leaving us to assemble the puzzle pieces of this enigmatic SUV. However, given the timeline, it’s safe to assume that the speculative chatter will have faded into obscurity by the time 2022 rolls around.
The forthcoming Ferrari SUV will be crafted on a novel platform designed to underpin all GT cars, particularly those with front-mounted engines. The engine options are tantalizingly diverse, ranging from a V6, V8, V12, to a hybrid electric drivetrain. Autocar’s educated guess leans toward a turbocharged V6 currently in development, yet the adaptable platform could potentially accommodate a robust V12 in the future. There’s even speculation that this prancing horse might surpass the prowess of existing contenders like the Bentley Bentayga Speed, boasting 626 horsepower, a 0-60 sprint in 3.8 seconds, and a top speed of 190 mph. The anticipation is palpable; 2022 can’t come soon enough for enthusiasts eager to witness Ferrari’s foray into the SUV realm.
3) Lamborghini Urus $222,004
Once deemed as improbable as a Ferrari Purosangue, a Lamborghini SUV now stands before us. Thanks to the ownership by Audi/VW, the realization of a Lamborghini SUV was a comparatively straightforward endeavor. Utilizing a partially shared platform found beneath the Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7, and Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini incorporated the section from the A-Pillar forward, laying the groundwork for their masterpiece. This foundation allows Lamborghini to harness the power of the formidable 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, producing an awe-inspiring 641 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque, placing it among the most potent in its class.
The engine’s might is channeled through an eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission, seamlessly connecting to a four-wheel-drive system comprising an integrated front differential, Torsen center differential, and an active torque-vectoring rear. The result? An acceleration to 62 mph in a mere 3.6 seconds – a remarkable feat for an SUV weighing 4844 pounds, and notably quicker than the Aston Martin DBX. The Urus boasts a top speed of 190 mph, surpassing the DBX once again. However, this performance comes at a price, starting at a hefty $222,004, a testament to the sheer power and prowess encapsulated in this Lamborghini SUV.
Having had the privilege of lapping the Vallelunga Circuit outside Rome in the Urus, I can attest that it felt akin to a taller Huracan. The Urus seamlessly combines practicality with nearly as much performance as Lamborghini’s more conventionally styled sports cars, making it a stellar option for those seeking both power and functionality in a luxury SUV.
4) Rolls-Royce Cullinan $330,000
When Rolls-Royce throws its hat into the SUV ring, you can be sure the automotive cycle has come full circle. Unsurprisingly, the Cullinan stands as a pinnacle of luxury engineering. Built on a variant of the “architecture of luxury” that lies beneath the iconic Phantom, the Cullinan boasts dimensions that set it apart. Despite being shorter than the Phantom, it stands tall at six feet, stretches over 17 and a half feet in length, and spans more than seven feet in width. In the heavyweight category, it outdoes the Bentayga, being longer, taller, and 500 pounds heavier, even with an all-aluminum construction.
Under the hood, the Cullinan is powered by a BMW-based 6.75-liter V12, churning out 627 horsepower and 563 lb-ft of torque. This powerhouse propels the 5,864-pound behemoth from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds. Despite its substantial weight, the Cullinan maintains the plush luxury ride synonymous with the Phantom. An electronically controlled suspension system adeptly adjusts for factors like body roll, acceleration, steering inputs, and even road imperfections, ensuring a ride as smooth as it is opulent.
The Cullinan offers more than just a sumptuous ride; it surprises with better handling than one might anticipate and a distinctive aesthetic that sets it apart unmistakably. However, this pinnacle of luxury comes at a price – more than twice that of even the Bentley Bentayga.
5) Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic Black Edition $211,000
While you can enter the world of Range Rover with a standard model starting at $92,000, if I were to nudge you towards a more lavish choice, the Range Rover SVAutobiography would be my recommendation. This opulent variant is propelled by a robust 5.0-liter V8, reminiscent of the classic Mustang, delivering a formidable 557 horsepower.
This power catapults the SVAutobiography to 60 mph in just 5.2 seconds, boasting a top speed of 130 mph. Granted, the price tag sits at $211,000, but for that investment, you receive what Range Rover claims to be “revised suspension geometry and chassis calibrations,” promising the epitome of performance and comfort. While I haven’t had the pleasure of test-driving it yet, the SVAutobiography certainly exudes luxury and refinement, as evident in the enticing videos showcasing its allure.
6) Bentley Bentayga $166,425
The 2020 Bentley Bentayga seamlessly blends practicality with performance, offering versatility to suit your preferences. This luxury SUV can be configured as a two-row four-seater or transformed into a family-friendly seven-seat three-row model. The powertrain options range from a 443-horsepower V6 hybrid to a potent V8, with the flagship Bentayga Speed boasting the mighty 626-horsepower W12 engine. The price spectrum spans from the $166,425 entry-level hybrid to the $246,825 Bentayga Speed.
Having experienced the Bentayga Speed firsthand a few months ago, I discovered its exceptional speed, courtesy of the 626-hp 6.0-liter W12 engine. Surprisingly, the versatility extended beyond its performance capabilities – I could fold down the rear seats and utilize it for practical tasks like transporting lumber from Home Depot, showcasing its everyday utility. Navigating twisty roads, the Bentayga’s 48-volt anti-roll bars ensured it cornered with the grace of a sports car, minimizing body roll. Adapting to the initially disorienting lack of roll took a few turns, but once acclimated, piloting this 5,379-pound luxury SUV became a pleasure.
It’s worth noting that the abundance of electronic controls, while diminishing some of the tactile feedback cherished by sports car enthusiasts, exemplifies the trade-offs inherent in a vehicle that seamlessly combines power, practicality, and a refined driving experience.
7) Porsche Cayenne from $67,500
The Cayenne model lineup offers a plethora of choices, with Porsche presenting 12 distinct versions of this SUV. Starting with the base-model “Cayenne,” sans any suffixes or letters, comes in at just above $67,500. For this, you’ll enjoy 335 turbocharged horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque, propelling the 4,582-pound vehicle from 0-60 in 5.9 seconds, with a top speed of 152 mph. Beyond this, there are 11 additional Cayennes, including hybrids, S models, and Turbos. The apex, both in terms of performance and price, is the $166,200 Turbo S E-Hybrid Coupe, which intriguingly features four doors despite the “Coupe” moniker. The subtle distinction lies in the roofline.
The most rapid and powerful offerings in the lineup are the two Turbo SE Hybrids, boasting an impressive 670 horsepower. The Turbo SE Hybrid outshines as the best performer, reaching 0-60 in 3.6 seconds, a tenth quicker than its Coupe counterpart and available at a slightly lower price of $166,200. Navigate through the extensive Cayenne catalog to find the model that aligns with your preferences. Rest assured, regardless of your choice, disappointment is not in the equation.
8) Maserati Levante $77,185
While enduring the almost two-year wait for the Ferrari Purosangue, why not indulge in one of these Italian marvels to satiate your automotive desires? With a starting point at a reasonable $77,185 for the base model, featuring a 345-horsepower 3.0-liter V6, the range extends to my recent favorite—the 590-horsepower 3.8-liter Levante Trofeo. The name Trofeo, aptly translating to “trophy,” signifies the accolades this model rightfully deserves. Undeniably, such excellence comes at a price, with the Trofeo beginning at $171,475 before customization. But really, what else would you spend your hard-earned cash on? College tuition for the kids? Prioritize, my friend!
Need more guidance? Long-press the sport corsa button for an even more spirited and corsa-like driving experience. Throttle response sharpens, exhaust valves enthusiastically open, gears shift with heightened speed, the ride height drops by an inch, and the Skyhook damping firms up. Simultaneously, the Intelligent Q4 all-wheel drive reaches optimal performance, while the ESP and traction control ease up. Your life is bound to become significantly more gratifying and thrilling, all while enjoying an increase in cargo capacity.
9) Fisker Ocean $37,499
No, there’s no missing digit in that price. In its latest pricing update on April 13, Fisker confidently sets the sticker for its all-electric Ocean SUV at $37,499. In the tech-savvy landscapes of Silicon Valley, Seattle, Portland, and perhaps even in the bustling cities of LA and San Diego, where eco-conscious trendsetters vie to outshine each other in the realm of eco-friendly chic, the Fisker Ocean, with its relatively affordable price tag, could reign supreme, offering unparalleled value. Fisker asserts that the SUV is on course for production initiation by the end of the upcoming year, with high-volume escalation and customer deliveries scheduled for the latter half of 2022. It might hit the streets before the Ferrari makes its grand entrance.
The Fisker Ocean comes with a commitment of 250-300 miles of range, and for the adventure seekers, there’s the Force-E “extreme off-road package,” exclusively available in all-wheel drive, promising substantial torque and an estimated 300 horsepower. Anticipation builds for the prospect of getting behind the wheel of this innovative electric SUV.
10) 2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S Sport Turismo $195,000
No, it doesn’t fall into the SUV category, and yes, it won’t hit the roads until early next year, but let me make my case. Let’s face it; how many people actually take their SUVs off-road, especially in the higher echelons of the automotive stratosphere? So, why not approach your SUV purchase with a different perspective? If you’re looking for an on-road experience with the practicality of an SUV and have $195,000 to spare, may I introduce the 2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S Sport Turismo?
This marvel boasts 620 horsepower, comfortable seating for five, ample cargo space, and the ability to accelerate from 0-60 in a mere 2.9 seconds! It achieves a top speed of 196 mph, and who knows, with a slight lean forward and hunch over the steering wheel, you might just breach the 200 mph mark. Shift the drive mode selector to Sport Plus, lock it in place, and not only will you be meeting all your responsible-adult requirements, but you’ll also be having more fun than any other practical vehicle has ever offered. Give it some thought, won’t you? Thank you.
In conclusion, our exploration of the Top 10 Luxury SUV Cars in the world has illuminated a realm where opulence meets performance. These automotive marvels redefine the driving experience, seamlessly blending sophistication, power, and cutting-edge technology. From the sleek lines of design to the powerhouse engines that propel them, each SUV on this prestigious list represents the epitome of automotive luxury.
These vehicles not only offer a mode of transportation but serve as status symbols, showcasing the fusion of comfort and performance. Whether it’s the breathtaking acceleration, the meticulously crafted interiors, or the state-of-the-art features, each luxury SUV on this list is a testament to the craftsmanship and innovation prevalent in the automotive industry.
As we conclude this journey, one can’t help but be captivated by the harmonious marriage of elegance and utility that defines these top-tier SUVs. Whether navigating urban landscapes or embarking on cross-country adventures, these luxury SUVs stand as a testament to the pinnacle of automotive engineering. As you consider your next automotive indulgence, let this guide be your compass in navigating the world of luxury SUVs, where every drive is an opulent celebration of refinement and performance.