Normally, the dual purpose nature of an SUV (sport utility vehicle) refers to its ability to go both on and off road, but the recent launches by Maserati and BMW and other models on offer by Porsche, Lamborghini, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Jaguar, Jeep, Bentley, Alfa Romeo and Aston Martin have added the ability to go really fast to that description.
Maserati last month launched its Uber-SUV, the Ferrari-engined Levante Trofeo, while BMW introduced the M-versions of its X5 and X6, in Competition guise no less, at the same time.
Levante Trofeo: From R3 790 000
As is traditional for this brand, the Levante Trofeo is first recognised by its sonorous soundtrack and then the design. Four exhausts, additional carbon fibre trim, 21”wheels, a new bonnet design and larger air dams distinguish it from lesser models.
The Levante Trofeo SUV delivers 440 kW and 730 Nm to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The engine is a 3.8 litre V8 built for them by Ferrari. The 0-100 km/h run for this two-tonne beast is dealt with in just 3.9 seconds and top speed is 304 km/h.
BMW added the M emblem to its original X5 and the luxurious M6, with both models making their local debut in July.
BMW X5 M: From R2 605 900 and BMW X6 M: From R2 707 200
This is the third generation of these beasts from Bavaria. Both models are equipped with BMW’s proven 4.4 litre V8, which delivers 460 kW and 750 Nm through an eight speed gearbox to all four wheels, albeit with a rear-wheel bias. BMW says that this is a healthy 37 kW more than its predecessor.
In Competition spec, both models have all the best M-parts fitted, including M-spec steering, suspension, differential and Dynamic Stability Control. Acceleration is pegged at 3.8 seconds to 100 km/h, while top speed is governed to 250 km/h.
Kia’s Picanto underwent a mid-life refreshment and in the process added a new range topper, called the Picanto X-Line, with distinct new crossover styling.
Audi launched its V8 diesel versions in sporty disguise called the SQ7 and the SQ8 in the in the high-performance SUV segment.
The Hyundai Motor Company started the year on a winning streak, announcing its win of four accolades at the 2020 Good Design awards late last year.