These high-performance midsize SUVs are the ideal compromise if you can’t decide between an SUV and a sports car.
Most consumers who are in the market for a midsize SUV aren’t looking for a quick ride. The majority of buyers want a vehicle with pleasant seating, a roomy interior, and good off-road capabilities. However, high-performance SUVs are ideal if you’re not like other people and a little extra power piques your adrenaline spirit. They have most of an SUV’s features, but in a more athletic body and peppier engine. It’s not unusual to see high-performance SUVs racing past slower vehicles, such as sedans and even some sports cars, at speeds of over 150 mph.
While the GMC Typhoon may have sparked the performance SUV craze in the early ’90s, the Mercedes-Benz ML 55 AMG, released in 2001, is widely regarded as the first modern performance SUV with a body-on-frame construction. Its 6.3-second sprint to 60 miles per hour came courtesy of its naturally aspirated V-8’s ferocious 342 horsepower. Manufacturers like BMW, Porsche, and Lamborghini have pushed the envelope to give SUVs more power, completely changing the midsize SUV market. Some of the fastest SUVs available today, including some that appear on this list, are the result of intense competition between automakers, which has always been a hallmark of the SUV market.
2023 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392
Jeeps will forever be a part of our storied past. They were phenomenal in combat and successfully transferred their fierce competitiveness to the business world. In particular, the 2023 Rubicon 392 has excellent performance both on and off the road. A 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 engine, unique to the Rubicon 392, produces 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque.
With this engine, the 392 can sprint from zero to sixty miles per hour in 4.5 seconds when paired with the ZF 8HP75 eight-speed automatic transmission. The quarter mile can be completed in about 13 seconds. This Rubicon can reach speeds of 112 miles per hour if you give it some more gas. These are very respectable ratings for a midsize SUV designed for rougher terrain and weighing in at around 5,100 pounds.
2023 Ford Explorer ST
In 2019, Ford introduced the Ford Edge ST, marking the first time the ST “Sports Technologies” badge has appeared on one of the company’s SUVs. In 2023, Ford introduced the Ford Explorer ST, a model that combines high performance with a sporty exterior. A 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged V-6 powers this Explorer ST, producing around 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque.
The SUV can go from zero to sixty miles per hour in about 5.0 seconds thanks to the raw power of the efficient EcoBoost engine, cover the quarter mile in about 13.6 seconds, and reach a top speed of 143 miles per hour. A standard 10-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive deliver the power to the tires. It’s convenient paddle shifters add about $53,600 to the price.
2023 Lincoln Aviator
The Lincoln Aviator is a good choice because of its many strengths, including its luxurious interior, its spacious cabin, its quiet cabin, its smooth ride, and its strong performance. The performance of the 2023 Lincoln Aviator is competitive across the board, from the base Standard to the top-of-the-line Black Label. The Aviator’s 0-60 mph time drops to just 5.4 seconds thanks to its 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine’s 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque.
The Aviator completes the quarter mile in 14 seconds and reaches a top speed of 145 miles per hour thanks to an electronic limiter. A 10-speed automatic transmits power to the wheels, and rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive configurations are available. Although the performance of the various ICE Lincoln Aviator trims is identical, the price ranges from $54,735 to $71,585 due to the variations in exterior styling and interior amenities.
2023 Audi SQ7
When discussing top-tier performance vehicles, Audi is almost always mentioned. The Audi Q7 is Audi’s largest SUV, but the performance-oriented SQ7 model still helps the company make the cut. Amazing best describes the Audi SQ7 2023. It features a daring and sporty design, a functional and luxurious interior, and excellent performance. The SQ7 is powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine, which generates 500 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque and allows the vehicle to accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just 3.5 seconds and complete a quarter mile in 12 seconds.
Even though it tips the scales at over 5,300 pounds, the Audi SQ7 can still reach speeds of up to 155 miles per hour. The eight-speed automatic transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive system are standard features of its powertrain. You can get a versatile midsize SUV fit for both a family road trip today and a drag race with friends tomorrow for the low, low price of $91,990.
2019 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 63 S Coupe and SUV
The Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S is equipped with all the latest and greatest features found on high-end SUVs today. It’s an attractive family SUV with high performance thanks to its well-rounded design. 577 hp and 561 lb-ft of torque are produced at 5,500 and 1,750 rpm, respectively, by the 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine found in both the SUV and the Coupe.
The all-wheel-drive system and seven-speed automatic transmission help the SUV accelerate from zero to sixty miles per hour in 3.9 seconds and reach a maximum legal speed of 174 miles per hour. Incorporating EQ boost technology significantly increases the power numbers, but the results are essentially the same. You can expect to pay around $113,995 for an AMG GLLE 63 S.
2023 BMW X5 M & X6 M Competition
Even with SUVs, the M Competition trim levels of every BMW model never fail to impress with their performance. Both the “coupe” version and the “competition” version of the 2023 BMW X5 M show identical performance ratings. All-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission are standard, and the vehicle’s 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 generates 600 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque.
The X5 M and X6 M Competition, powered by this V-8 engine, can accelerate to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, run the quarter mile in 12.1 seconds, and reach top speeds of around 177 mph. Choose the SUV or the coupe version, and be prepared to spend between $109,895 and $114,695 depending on your preferences.
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