Sports cars are becoming less popular today, thanks in part to SUVs. SUVs, which stands for Sports Utility Vehicles, are seeing a massive resurgence in sales and interest. The question is whether the SUV craze will last for long or join its ’90s predecessors like the Eddie Bauer Ford Explorers before it. According to It Still Runs, the public perception of SUVs is long rooted in their off-roading capabilities and storage space catered for families. On the other side of the coin, there have always been sports cars, best known for performance.
Updated April 2022: If you’re looking for a fast SUV to replace your sports car, you’ll be happy to know that we’ve updated this article with more details and today’s prices.
But over the past few years, the SUV has gotten sportier. Part of this is due to the fact that SUV performance has improved. Now, the paradigm has shifted with SUV sales now dominating the market. Could sports cars soon become a rare and endangered species in the automotive world? While many would rue the day the sports car goes extinct—or else niche for only rich car enthusiasts—the reality is that SUVs are here to stay. Since the market is now saturated with them, it’s worth separating the sportier SUVs from the rest. In fact, the SUVs on this list are legitimate substitutes for many sports cars on the road today.
16 Lamborghini Urus
The Lamborghini Urus has an eye-popping design that’s sure to cause many a double take. It’s not just a pretty sight after all either. Sporting what’s believed to be 600 hp, according to Review it Online, it’s able to reach 60 mph in about 4 seconds.
If that doesn’t tempt sports cars owners to take the dive on a new SUV, we don’t know what will. There’s a limited number of these things on the road though, so that’s either good or bad news. What’s sure to be good news is the fact that it’s a high-performance SUV.
15 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
There’s a lot to like about the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio when it comes to performance. It finds itself among plenty of other small crossovers with decent cargo space and acceptable MPG. Where the Stelvio Quadrifoglio differs from the rest is its power.
According to U.S. News, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio has a twin-turbo V6 capable of 505 hp. With an engine like that, it doesn’t have a problem reaching 60 mph in an astounding 4 seconds. With this kind of performance, car enthusiasts are pining for the Stelvio Quadrifoglio. The only thing that’ll scare potential owners away is the $87,000 price tag.
14 Audi SQ5
Embracing the new performance trend among SUVs, Audi builds on their legacy with their Audi SQ5 crossover. With 354 hp by way of a 3.0-liter V6, as Autotrader reports, this smaller SUV may lure prospective buyers away from a new sports car.
Due to the 8-speed automatic transmission, the SQ5 has no problems with going from 0 to 60 in about 5 seconds. Not that it needed it necessarily, but it’s even an improvement over the previous years’ model. Some are sure to quip over how meager the SQ5’s room is behind the rear seats though.
13 Bentley Bentayga
Powerful engines are what set these SUVs apart, giving them a closer feel to what sports cars owners experience. Plus, there are all the added benefits of an SUV. The Bentley Bentayga is going to meet all those needs: it’s a high performing luxury SUV.
But according to Carbuyer, the Bentley Bentayga doesn’t come cheap. The outlet reports that with the cost of getting a Bentayga, a consumer could buy three Porsche Cayennes and still have extra cash. The Bentayga just needs 4 seconds to reach 60 mph, which is as much time we needed to realize how much we wanted one.
12 Porsche Macan Turbo
Again, Porsche gets in on the SUV game. This time though they introduced the smaller Macan, down from their midsize Cayenne. The Turbo, which can go 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds according to Autobytel, has a 3.6-liter V6. This little crossover is able to do 400 hp as a result.
As Car Buying Strategies notes, the base model gets good MPG. But where’s the fun in that? For those who’re wishing for the feel of a sports car, look no further than the Turbo model. That one is sure to please when it comes to power.
11 Maserati Levante S GranSport
Again, similar to the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, the Maserati Levante S GranSport has more in common with a sports car than it does a luxury SUV. According to Motor Trend, the Levante S GranSport impresses while off-roading. Even though the Stelvio is a worthy (and cheaper) alternative to the Levante S GranSport, its maneuverability makes this a fun car to drive.
Supporting the car’s relevance are the positive sales in the U.S. Motor Trend reports that is accounts for almost 40% of Maserati’s sales in America. This stat comes from the first half of 2016. It’s likely the model will be around for years to come.
10 Acura RDX
Most of the SUVs on this list don’t have as much heft on the road compared with sports cars. Whats remarkable about them, however, is how much power they have in the first place considering what they’re made for.
The Acura RDX is an affordable crossover that keeps the family together. But that doesn’t mean it has to sacrifice on performance. According to Autobytel, it’s got a 3.5-liter V6 that’s capable of 279 hp. Not bad for a smaller SUV, especially when one factors in the $40,000 price tag. Like the Subaru Forester 2.0XT, this crossover gets the best of both worlds.
9 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S
Porsche is breaking into the SUV market more. But it all started with their Cayenne. According to Autotrader, it’s now their midsize model. Detailed in another entry on this list is Porsche’s other SUV, the smaller Macan.
Every Cayenne model packs a lot of power, with the base carrying a 3.6-liter V6. But the turbocharged version is what we’re really interested in. But it’s going to cost a pretty penny, the Turbo models start at $130,000. It may not be a sports car, but it’ll certainly satisfy one’s need for speed.
8 BMW X5 M
BMW’s SUVs have garnered a reputation for their high performance. In fact, there are a few SUVs out there who can haul like their X5 platforms. According to Autotrader, the V8 engine packs a wallop with 567 hp. That means these SUVs can reach 60 mph in 4 seconds. It’s rare you find a car as tall as the X5 that can go that fast.
Plus, for those interested in the hybrid version, it comes with a feature called iPerformance. That means there’s an ion battery helping to power an electric motor that works alongside the combustion engine.
7 Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG
It’s got a steep price, but some are going to turn heads at this premium model. There’s no doubt about it, Mercedes-Benz made the GL63 AMG with families in mind. It gets good MPG and stays quiet on the drive. It also packs an unexpected punch when it comes to power.
As Autotrader reports, the 5.5-liter V8 engine also has 550 hp. What does that look like exactly as far as acceleration goes? It hits 60 mph in 5 seconds, which is enough to fulfill our inner speed demons. Start saving up though because that steep price we mentioned is $135,000.
6 Ford Explorer Sport
Ford Explorers have been a go-to SUV for years, benefiting families who want to tackle tougher terrains and have a lot of space at the same time. With features like all-wheel drive, this SUV is especially perfect for snowy or desert climates. The Ford Explorer Sport comes stacked with plenty of cool gadgets and tech according to Autotrader.
It’s got a remote starter, which comes in handy for those cooler climates when you want to get the heater going before you get in.
5 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD R-Design
The design for these Volvos is simple. But don’t judge a book by its cover. Underneath the hood of an XC60 T6 AWD R-Design, Autobytel reports there’s a 3.0-liter that capable of 325 horsepower. Plus, you know you’re in good hands behind the wheel of a Volvo. The company prides itself on putting safety first.
Of course, the T6 R-Design is the highest performing model of XC60s. We haven’t forgotten though about the family. It’s got automatic braking and heated mirrors for when conditions on the road get dicey. This model is about what you’d expect when it comes to pricing, starting at $53,000.
4 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR
The Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR is no trifling plaything. Don’t underestimate this SUV’s power. Like all the SUVs on this list, their scales vary depending on price, performance and how good of an actual luxury crossover it is. The Range Rover Sport SVR is all in when it comes to performance.
With a 5.0-Liter V8 engine, this makes it a powerhouse vehicle for sports cars to reckon with. According to Car Buying Strategies, the ability to do 575 hp is what makes this stand apart. Just give it slightly over 4 seconds, and it’ll get reach 60 mph.
3 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT
Looking for something that can appease your need for speed while still serving the family? That’s what Jeep had in mind with the Grand Cherokee SRT. Really, it’s the concept behind all these sportier SUVs.
Autotrader reports that the SRT comes equipped with a 6.4-liter V8 engine with 475 hp. Not bad for an SUV, considering it can go from 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. But like most things in life, it doesn’t come cheap. The SRT starts at $66K. It’s sure to tempt some though with its performance lacking in modesty.
2 BMW X3
Starting at $44,000, the BMW X3 is a worthy SUV to own, especially for those looking for more power. According to U.S. News, it not only fulfills the speed freaks but those looking for a high-quality family car. The source reports that it’s got a safety rating of 9.7, which is no surprise considering the high-quality BMW strives for.
With a 2.0-liter that can do 240 hp, it’s no pushover. Plus, if you want even more heft, there’s a 3.0-liter version that can do 300 hp instead.
1 Jaguar F-Pace
Many of these SUVs defy what should be possible. They all manage to find a balance between sports cars and family SUVs. The Jaguar F-Pace fits nicely on this list with fulfilling the best of both worlds. According to U.S. News, the F-Pace can go from 0 to 60 mph in a little over 5 seconds.
The price range is about what you’d expect, starting at $51,000. Though there are other models that can set you back closer to a steep $100,000. Although it’s not as fast as some of the other performers on this list, it makes up for any lack of speed with a roomy interior.
Sources: Autotrader, Motortrend, Car and Driver
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About The Author
David Schmidt (247 Articles Published)
News Editor and small business owner, David has been writing for HotCars since 2018 and can remember sitting on his father’s lap in the driver’s seat of his family’s Ford Maverick thinking he was the one steering into the driveway. David’s real love for cars began in high school while working on various projects at his friend’s house, including on one occasion banging out the dent in a fender he had made to his parent’s Altima. His tastes have changed over the years from loving ‘90s JDMs to appreciating a reliable SUV for his family. Today, he almost gets as much of a thrill haggling over the price of a car at a dealership as he does driving a sports car. Aside from keeping up and reporting on the latest news in the auto world, David loves to fish, watch movies, and spend time with family and friends where he currently resides in Southern California.