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SUVs get fast and luxurious

By raccars Published

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SUVs became popular as the practical family choice - but has that now changed?

'Sports Utility Vehicles' were for a long time used for neither of their stated purposes, but instead as the most comfortable and practical way in which to accomplish the school run, the family shop and other everyday family duties. However a new breed of fast and luxurious SUVs is creating a sub-sector.

Maserati Levante

The forthcoming Levante is a new departure for the sporting Italian brand and has met with equal amounts of anticipation and outrage. However, as a luxury car maker it makes perfect sense for Maserati to muscle in on the latest booming luxury sector, and the Levante is shaping up to be an exciting prospect. Even the entry level model promises 345bhp and the 'S' version reaches 62mph in a shade over five seconds. It will be going up against a number of other hot new SUVs as manufacturers finally cotton on to the fact that practicality, comfort, luxury and speed can all work together beautifully.

Porsche Cayenne Turbo S

Traditionally a manufacturer of low, sleek sports cars, Porsche caught on to the potential of luxury, high performance SUVs early in the game. Back in 2002 the public was sceptical but the Cayenne blew naysayers out of the water with its punchy performance, smart handling and cosseting cabin. The current Turbo S produces 570bhp from a 4.8 litre V8 and reaches 62mph in 4.5 seconds. It's unlikely you'll want to do much off-roading in it as the Cayenne definitely gives off a sports vibe rather than utility, but if you did it's surprisingly competent in the rough too. The Cayenne has recently been joined by the smaller but equally impressive Macan in Porsche's SUV line up.

Range Rover Sport

The Range Rover was for a long time a lone wolf as a luxury off-roader, but by 2005 its manufacturers took an obvious step by sticking a supercharged 4.2 litre V8 under the bonnet, offering the sort of performance that Land Rover and Range Rover buyers at the time were completely unused to. The RR Sport remains one of the best choices is its class, showing others just how luxury SUVs should be made.

Jaguar F-Pace

The Porsche Cayenne Turbo S and Range Rover Sport stalwarts of the luxury SUV market are now being joined by a group of new kids on the block, led by the much-anticipated Jaguar F-Pace. The excellent F-Pace is surprisingly affordable and looks set to catapult Jaguar firmly into premium mainstream status. It's very quick and agile despite its bulk, and rides as smoothly as you'd expect from a car bearing the Jaguar badge.

Bentley Bentayga

The development process has been long and somewhat tortured, but finally the Bentley Bentayga has been signed off for production. Not everyone approves of an off-roading Bentley but it's hard to argue with its performance statistics: 600bhp, 0-62mph in four seconds flat and a top speed of 187mph. Bentley is immodestly promising that this will be the fastest, most powerful and most luxurious SUV ever.

Tesla Model X

Soon to hit the market, the Model X could do for electric SUVs what the Model S did for the image of electric sports cars. With low running costs and a 257 mile range, it's relatively practical, but there's absolutely nothing sensible of family friendly about its staggering 3.2 second sprint to reach 60mph.

Lamborghini Urus

Not due to reach the market until 2018, the Urus is another SUV from an Italian company usually known for its sporting prowess. It's a novel venture for Lamborghini in many ways, using a V8 instead of the more familiar V10s and V12s. However the SUV format isn't entirely unknown to the firm, which has experimented with powerful off-roaders in the past, albeit with limited success.

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