The world’s most powerful SUVs and pickup trucks

2022 Audi RS Q8 — 591 hp / 190 mph

Read our review of the Audi RS Q8

Read our review of the Audi RS Q8

The only Audi on this list is a hot little number, which we characterized as “an uncompromising option in a field of compromised options.” Powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 (which seems to be a popular format in this list), its 591 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque get it scootin’ to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds, and on to a top speed of 190 mph. It even has the bragging rights of holding the Nürburgring lap record for an SUV.

2020 Hennessey Performance Maximus 1000

© Hennessey Performance

If the idea of battery-powered performance utility vehicles is still too much to take, Hennessey Performance provides internal combustion salvation. The Maximus 1000 offers an off-road capable take on big power.

The Maximus 1000 is a Jeep Gladiator pickup truck, but fitted with the ubiquitous Hellcat supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V-8. Hennessey subjects it to substantial upgrades, pushing the power output to a wild 1,000 hp and 933 lb-ft hp of torque.

It also adds lifted suspension and a leather-lined interior, and even includes a three-year/36,000-mile warranty.

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2019 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid

© Porsche

Purists have seemingly long forgotten their complaints about the Porsche Cayenne, given the important role it has played in helping the company survive. That Porsche has also been creating ever quicker examples will have smoothed relations, too.

The most powerful version of the latest Cayenne is actually a plug-in hybrid. A 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine is matched with an electric motor, offering a combined output of 671 hp. A torque figure of 664 lb-ft is also considerable, and allows this plug-in machine to accelerate from 0-62 mph in 3.8 seconds.

The lithium-ion battery pack also means it can drive around town on electric power alone.

Bentley Bentayga Speed (635 hp)

Bentley’s spin on the concept of a high-power people-hauler is unique in that it relies on a mighty 6.0-liter W12 engine for power. Most of the other SUVs in our round-up are powered by a V8. Its top speed is pegged at 190mph but it wasn’t designed solely to drive flat-out in a straight line. An earlier variant of the Bentayga Speed claimed the SUV record at the 2018 edition of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, completing the course in 10min 49.9sec at an average speed of 66.5mph.

Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat (710 hp)

The most powerful production SUV on the market wasn’t trained on the German autobahn or born in Italy’s famed Motor Valley. Built in Detroit, the Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat is related to the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk but its supercharged, 6.2-liter V8 gets four additional brake-horsepower to earn the crown. Bigger brakes and an upgraded suspension system are part of the transformation. It was developed with track use in mind, it’s fitted with an upgraded cooling system and the 0-60mph sprint takes 3.5sec, yet it offers motorists a usable 8700lb (3955kg) towing capacity when property equipped.

Dodge will only make the SRT Hellcat for the 2021 model year, and every available build slot was spoken for in about three months. All told, about 2000 units of the king of SUVs will be let loose in America. It costs from $82,490.

4.Maserati Levante Trofeo

Armed with a 3.8-liter 590-hp V8, the Levante Trofeo is not only one of the most powerful SUVs, but it’s also one of the fastest. According to Car and Driver, the Levante Trofeo can accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds, and it has a top speed of 187 miles per hour. This incredible power will cost prospective drivers about $171,500.

2022 BMW X5 M Competition and X6 M Competition — 617 hp / 177 mph

Read our review of the BMW X5 M and X6 M

Read our review of the BMW X5 M and X6 M

We’ll lump these two SUVs together, as they’re basically the same vehicle with different trunk designs. They also share a common beating heart: a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 making 617 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. That’s 17 more ponies than the same M utes without the Competition package. They’ll do 0-60 in 3.7 seconds, and go on to a top speed of 177 miles per hour. The Competition package also includes special wheels with performance tires, a sport exhaust, sport seats and unique M-striped seatbelts, along with some other appearance upgrades.

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1. Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

The most powerful SUV on the market is a Jeep. It earns its place with a staggeringly powerful 6.2-liter 707-hp V8 monster of an engine lifted straight from a Dodge Hellcat. That Hellcat engine can push the Trackhawk from 0 to 60 miles per hour in a mere 3.5 seconds. It can also reach a max speed of 180 miles per hour.

Unlike the other SUVs on this list, the Trackhawk is relatively affordable, starting at about $87,695. That said, the Trackhawk is still a luxury SUV with similar features and amenities as the other SUVs on this list. 

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