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Source: Autocar

Top 10 best super-SUVs 2022

September 22nd, 2022

Super-SUVs combine performance, luxury and high-riding appeal - and these are the best of the breed

Super-SUVs appear to have it all: interiors that rival the very best luxury cars; performance that competes with the best super-saloons; that all important high-riding driving position.

This most extravagant breed of SUV, which barely existed a decade ago, also carries a price of entry that ensures they are among the most exclusive cars on our roads.

We think the 10 cars below are some of the best of their kind, or are set to shake up the segment once they arrive.

1.†Aston Martin†DBX†707

The Aston Martin DBX has arguably been one of the British brand's†most significant new arrivals. So much of the† marque's future success rests on its shoulders, and so far this newest addition to the ever-expanding super SUV class has done nothing but impress. And the Aston's appeal has only been enhanced†by the addition of the 707, which as the name suggests packs a mighty 707 metric horsepower (that's 697bhp in old money).†

Crucially, it drives like an Aston should - albeit one that weighs in at 2.3 tonnes and stands some 1.68m tall. Its AMG-sourced 4.0-litre V8 provides thundering performance and an appealingly devilish soundtrack, while its capability as a long-distance tourer are fairly outstanding. It can go offroad, too.

Yet it's on the road that the Aston really struts its stuff, handling with a poise, precision and fluidity that's barely credible for a car that's this tall and weighty. There's geniune driver engagement and even a dollop of adjustibility on offer, and before long you'll be hustling it with almost as much abandon as a hot hatch.†Dare we say it, but this could be the best car the firm makes.

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2.†Bentley Bentayga

The Bentayga is the first true 'luxury' SUV worthy of comparison with†the market's most luxurious limousines. It adds greater capability and usability to Bentley's range than the firm has hitherto offered, only falling short of the ride isolation offered by those more traditional luxury offerings.

Though it may still not quite be an attractive car, a recent facelift more successfully aligned the Bentayga's exterior design with those of the new Continental GT and Flying Spur. New infotainment systems also replace the ageing tech that appeared in the original, too.

While the Bentayga lacks the outright speed and agility of the very quickest SUVs, the fact that it can be compared with them while offering vastly more grandeur emphasises its accomplishment. In the fairest of terms, it must simply be acknowledged as one of the most complete and compelling luxury products in the world.

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3.†Porsche Cayenne Coupe GT

It was only a matter of time before Porsche's Motorsport megaminds turned their attention to the Cayenne, giving the firm's high-riding flagship the same track-focussed treatment as the 911 GT3. The result is one of the fastest off-roaders†you can buy - one that has smashed the SUV lap record at the Nurburgring, should you need to know.†

As you'd expect there's more power, with the familiar twin-turbo V8's wick now turned up to 631bhp for an outrageous 0-62mph time of 3.3 seconds. Crucially, the chassis has been uprated in kind, with a 17mm drop in ride height over the Turbo S, suspension†that is 15 percent stiffer in Sport mode and a wider front track with more aggressive camber. It all adds up to a curiously satisfying steer, the Porsche feeling fast, tied-down and agile - so much so that you occassionally forget it weighs 2.2 tonnes. No, the world doesn't need the Cayenne GT, but it does†exist and it's actually rather good.

4.†Range Rover P530

It's all change at the top of the Range Rover tree, the arrival of an all-new version signalling the depature of the old car's dependable supercharged V8 and the installation of a BMW-sourced replacement. Essentially the same twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre unit already seen in models such as the M550i, in the Rangie it develops 523bhp, which is enough for an emergency start 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds. Refined and with bottomless reserves of urge, it gives the big Brit an†effortless elastic energy.

The rest of the car is essentially the same as any other Range Rover, which means imperious looks, a lavish interior and a driving experience that melds sybaritic smoothness and comfort with suprisingly wieldy handling for something so large it should by rights have its own postcode. And of course, it still remains unrivalled as the luxury car that can reach parts others can't. In short, the best just got better.

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5. Lamborghini Urus

Lamborghini's first large-scale foray (so that excludes the LM002) into the world of SUVs just so happens to be with the segment's most extreme model yet. Powered by a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, the four-wheel-drive Urus will hit 62mph in 3.6sec and has a top speed of 190mph. When we put it through the full Autocar road test, it proved to be every bit as quick as those numbers suggest.

While the hardcore Lambo SUV has one of the most divisive designs in motoring,†it unequivocally answers the question as to whether a high-riding car weighing more than two tonnes can be made to handle like a proper Lamborghini. Put briefly, it sure can. A Performante version is just around the corner too, so we're†preparing to have our minds boggled once again.

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6.†Bowler Bulldog V8

Derbyshire-based Bowler Motorsport has made a name for itself developing ultra-specialised rally-raid versions of various Land Rover models. The Bulldog is its latest ware, but don't be fooled by the aestehtic: with an entirely new chassis designed in-house and bespoke bodywork, this is more of a silhouette racer with licence plates.

Unexpectedly good on the road, the 5.0-litre V8-powered Bulldog is simply sublime off it, where its suspension absorbs topography with clinical ease. What's more, Bowler is now building a luxuriously upholstered version, and what a prospect that is.

7. Mercedes-AMG G 63

Mercedes' reimaginging of the G-Wagen - now formally known as the G-Class - has to be regarded as a success. It retains the rich character and off-road ability of the much-loved original but thanks for a new front suspension architecture and steering, its now handles in a fashion†more friendly than frightening.

And, of course, there's still a ludricous AMG offering with a hefty price-tag and far more power than you'd ever need in this sort of car. In fact, for all the cabin refinement Mercedes has introduced in the revitalised G-Class, the 63 AMG model is still defined by its shouty†V8 engine, in this case the same twin-turbo 4.0-litre unit found in the AMG GT sports cars.

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8. Rolls-Royce Cullinan

Rolls-Royce's entry into the SUV segment uses a developed version of the Phantom's 6.8-litre V12 engine, making it one of the market's most powerful off-roaders. It also sits at the top of the tree in terms of outright luxury, and undoubtedly prefers to be driven in a more laid-back, stately fashion than the likes of the Aston Martin DBX or Bentley Bentayga.

Don't think that this Rolls doesn't justify its raised ride-height, though. The Cullinan boasts good wading depth and impression axle articulation, even if it does ultimately fall short of the standards set by the Range Rover. Of course, very little of this matters if you can't bring yourself to like the way this car looks, and for £250,000 before options, we'd certainly expect something a bit easier on the eye.

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9. BMW iX

It's fair to say that when the BMW iX first appeared it turned as many stomachs as it did heads. Yet the curious thing is, with† increased exposure to the German firm's all-electric SUV you find your views on its looks softening somewhat. That means you can instead concentrate more fully on the driving experience, which is really rather good - so much so that you can pretty much discard the usual caveats that surround a 2.5 ton electrified SUV.

It's the comfort and rolling refinement you notice first, the iX's air suspension soaking up imperfections while the combination of near-silent electric propulsion and excellent insulation from the outside world serving-up serious serentity. Yet this is a car†that can be hustled too, its well-paced steering and clever active anti-roll technology providing a precision and tenacity you don't expect from such a vast machine. In fact, the biggest compliment you can pay the iX is that feels just like a BMW. And with all that instant electric urge it's might quick as well, with the twin motor 610bhp M60 good for a claimed 3.8 second 0-62mph dash, while the†523bhp M50 we ran figres in needed just 4.4 seconds for our 0-60mph test.†

10. Mercedes-AMG GLS 63

Mercedes has long billed the GLS as the Mercedes S-Class of SUVs. But while the current version of Stuttgart's largest model might fall slightly short of that strap-line in terms of outride ride comfort and interior plushness, in full-fat AMG guise it can't be accused of lacking any character.

Power comes from a 603bhp version of Affalterbach's twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8, which allows this 2.5 tonne SUV to hit 62mph from a standstill in a ludicrous 4.2sec. And despite being absolutely massive, it's surprisingly agile on tighter, twistier roads too. Chances are it'll be ever so slightly more popular in North America than the UK, mind.

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