SUVs have been outselling passenger cars now for a number of years, but despite their popularity, there are SUVs and then there are SUVs. Here we take a good look at some of the best luxury SUVs the market has to offer and find out why, if you have the means, they should make it to your shopping list.
Rolls Royce Cullinan:
Literally, the Rolls Royce of SUVs. The Cullinan is the ultimate in luxury motoring and at around $660,000 (plus options and on road costs – realistically around $750,000), it’s also the most expensive way to own an SUV.
For the money, though, you get one of the nicest and most plush interiors money can buy with an insane 12-cylinder 6.7-litre engine that has more power and torque than some supercars.
The only problem is, the Cullinan is best enjoyed from the back seat and you look like the driver and not the owner when behind the wheel, so perhaps tick the options box for Alfred when ordering.
Now here is an SUV that is definitely worth considering if luxury is your number one requirement. With prices starting in the mid-300s (and going to the mid $400,000s), the Bentayga is almost half the price of the Cullinan but certainly not half the car. In fact, it presents an interior that is almost on-par with the Rolls Royce and you certainly feel right at home in the driver’s seat, because it’s actually a driver’s car rather than a chauffeur mobile.
Additionally, the Bentley SUV can be had in a V8 or V12 powertrain and has proven itself to be a reliable and reputable option in the ultra-luxury SUV segment. The Volkswagen-owned British brand has just released a major update to their SUV which sees even more refinement inside and a far better-looking rear end.
This SUV makes no sense. It’s one of the fastest vehicles on the planet, it just happens to be an SUV. It very much lives up to its Lamborghini heritage by providing a ballistic missile dressed up in the form of a practical family mover. Thankfully, it actually looks like a Lamborghini too, so it’s easy to tell you have lost your mind and bought a car with 640 horsepower.
No kid in the world will ever complain about being dropped to school in a Lamborghini Urus, although it’s fair to say no parent in the world has ever bought a Urus just for the kids, because if you love to go fast and you need something practical, there is literally nothing that ticks those two boxes as eloquently as the Urus. Expect to pay around $400,000 for the one you want and a further few thousand for the lawyers to help you keep your licence.
Aston Martin DBX
Who doesn’t want to own an Aston Martin? Now with the introduction of an SUV, the British brand has brought all its class, sophistication and sheer presence to the masses with the super practical and very plush DBX.
Powered by a German V8, the Brits have left most of the mechanical engineering to Mercedes-AMG, but they have truly nailed all the bits that make this Aston Martin one of the finest SUVs money can buy right now. Unfortunately, it has proven so popular that if you were to order one today, you may be waiting a little while.
Range Rover SV Autobiography LWB
Not to be mistaken with the plebeian Range Rover Sport, the SV Autobiography long wheelbase is befitting of the Queen of England and anyone else that can afford its $400,000+ price tag. It’s as close to a 5-star hotel as you can get on the inside while still looking rather subtle on the outside.
In fact, that is really the main reason the full-size Range Rovers are so popular, for those that want to have most of the luxuries offered by the likes of Bentley and Rolls Royce, while perhaps trying to keep it a little under the radar. Not a bad idea.
Maserati Levante Trofeo
If the Lamborghini is too ostentatious and the Bentley is a little too dull. The Maserati Levante Trofeo is the one to go for. Powered by a Ferrari-derived V8 engine matched to looks that certainly scream fast, the Levante Trofeo is the most fun you can have in a modern Maserati with the kids.
It’s let down by its poor infotainment technology and relatively ordinary interior (compared to cars mentioned above), but it makes up for it with noise and character when on the go.
The only problem the $330,000 Levante Trofeo has is that you can find yourself in a regular Levante for as little as $125,000, which is great for those that don’t want to the big Italian V8 but not so good if you want to show-off your Maserati from the crowd.
Tesla Model X Performance
So perhaps the kids have been telling you to stop polluting with your big thirsty SUV and you have run out of breath trying to explain that, in Australia at least, the electricity that powers electric cars comes from coal.
Nonetheless, an electric car is still a step in the right environmental direction and although the Model X has been around for a little while now, Elon Musk’s large SUV with its gullwing doors and vegan leather interior is still a showstopper that judges all the other SUV owners just by its electrifying presence.
At about $180,000, it’s also blisteringly fast – perhaps only slower than the Lamborghini Urus in this list (and even then, not by much) and it does it all in perfect silence.
Mercedes Benz GLS 63 AMG
The big daddy of the Mercedes-Benz GLS top-luxury SUV range. Unless you are after an ultra-rare and ultra-expensive GLS 600 Maybach, the GLS 63 is the one to go for at around $220,000. Its big, fast and full of technology. It’s hard not to love.
The once-default choice and benchmark of performance SUVs has been very much a staple of the German brand’s model range for many years. It presents a very clean and luxury option in the SUV market that blends German-interpretation of luxury with the finest engineering money can buy, but given its popularity it has lost a fair bit of its exclusivity over the years. Great if you want to blend in.
The $210,000 Audi RSQ8 is the Lamborghini Urus for those that don’t want to buy one. The RSQ8, the Bentley Bentayga, the Urus and the Porsche Cayenne are all based on the same underpinnings as the Volkswagen Touareg, so with the Audi, you get most of the benefits of the more prestigious brands for a lot less coin.
The RSQ8 uses the same motor as the Urus but detuned (so that Lamborghini buyers don’t complain about having to spend an extra $200k for nothing) and if you look closely, it actually very much resembles its Italian cousin also.
It’s a superb car that will leave you smiling even in traffic. Nonetheless, it’s drowned in an ocean of other Audi models that take away it exclusivity.
Last but not least, the BMW X7 is the default go to choice if you are after a big, safe, luxury SUV but can compromise a tad on brand and performance. It’s not as quick as its ultra-high performance X5 M sibling, but it offers proper seating for seven (or six, in a really cool 2+2+2 configuration to keep the kids from fighting with each other).
The American-built BMW is also a lot of car for its roughly $130,000 starting price. You can’t go wrong with one of these for the coin.