For a number of decades, the Range Rover long stood out as the only real luxury off-roader you could buy. Now, though, the market has expanded greatly with the best luxury SUVs on sale originating from an increasingly broad number of brands.
The Urus isn’t the first Lamborghini SUV, but it’s the most important car the brand has launched in years, designed to inject the sort of cash-flow into the company that Porsche has seen since introducing the Cayenne.
With Lamborghini part of the VW Group, the Urus is based on the same platform as its Porsche developed sibling. It uses an engine found in the Cayenne and Bentley Bentayga too – a turbocharged 4.0-litre V8, developing a whopping 641bhp.
It means that the Urus is one of the fastest SUVs in the world, capable of reeling off the sprint to 62mph from standstill in just 3.6 seconds, while top speed comes in at 190mph. And this supercar worrying performance comes with a bit of off-road ability too.
Nothing quite captures what a top-end SUV should be quite like the Range Rover. It’s the original posh off-roader and still one of the most desirable luxury cars out there with an air of obtainability.
A new model will go on sale later this year, but despite being older than many other cars on this list, the outgoing Range Rover is still a hugely convincing proposition. Few off-roaders are more capable when the going gets tough, while on-road, the Range Rover’s refinement and ride leave little to be desired, thanks to extensive insulation and standard air suspension.
For buyers after a large luxury SUV with some sporting pedigree, Porsche has the answer with the Cayenne. It has quickly established itself as one of the brand’s most popular models across three generations, and the current model is the best yet.
It’s difficult to really call a car as large and as heavy as the Cayenne (especially in plug-in hybrid guise) sporty. But, in a class of cars with no real dynamism the Porsche is the closest thing you’ll get to a large luxury SUV that’s fun to hustle at speed, Lamborghini Urus excluded.
The range-topping Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid packs 671bhp and is capable of 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds. That’s true supercar-baiting territory, but even the entry-level 335bhp Cayenne still manages the benchmark sprint in 6.2 seconds and a top speed of 152mph. What’s more, the Cayenne is a lesson in luxury inside, tastefully applying some911-inspired touches in a spacious, well-made environment.
The Bentayga has been a huge success for Bentley and in a very short timeframe has become the Brit brand’s best-selling car. In fact, it currently accounts for nearly half of all Bentleys leaving showrooms around the world.
Sharing the same basic underpinnings as the Porsche Cayenne, the finished product is very different in the metal. The Bentayga features the sort of interior craftsmanship you’d expect in the Flying Spur and Continental GT, and buyers can opt for bespoke personalisation through Bentley’s Mulliner division – something you can’t do with a Range Rover.
Mercedes’ top-of-the-line SUV, the reimagined G-Class, is a pricey purchase even judged among the not-inexpensive company amongst which it’s mixing here. And yet for its boxily enigmatic design appeal, its uncompromising offroad ability and its new and improved credentials as a luxury conveyance, you could easily decide that a near-£100,000 sum would be worth paying.
Few SUVs have as much naked Tonka toy kerbside allure as this one. Mercedes’ latest update for the car kept true to the car’s set-square aesthetic, and stirred in some wonderful design details; but totally overhauled the car’s chassis, suspension and interior – to the point where existing G-Wagen owners would recognise the handling manners, refinement and quality fittings of the new one.