Rocket SUVs

BY Azfar Hashim

We’ve been seeing powerful SUVs appear on our market — here are some that caught our attention and made us pray for instant fortune...

The past year was probably one we drove a whole list of SUVs, of various classes. But of course, Burnpavement being Burnpavement, we give extra attention towards models that have a tinge of screaming horsepower and sprinkles of handling finesse – we love this sort as it makes driving less, well, dull and boring.

Here are the models that caught our attention:

Range Rover Velar HSE R-Dynamic - Range Rovers are generally renown for its off-roading capability and prowess, which was why we weren’t expecting their new Velar to impress us much, much further with its secret sporty intent. Honestly, you can’t imagine this SUV having it all, which should impress ‘hot-hatch upgraders’ — if you’re looking for something British and unique, this is the one.

A 3.0-litre supercharged V6 married to an 8-speed ‘box gives this particular Velar here an — excuse the language — ass-whooping 375 bhp and 450 Nm of torque. Standstill to 100km/h is executed in a 5.7 seconds. Remember how all these numbers were reserved exclusively for sports sedans?

It handles respectably. Ok to be honest there is that pronounced body-roll as, after all, it stands at 1,665 mm tall. But the fact that you still get positive steering feedback, predictable handling when you’re out having fun, great anchors and lovely exhaust note, you can’t help but go, “Woaaah Nelly!” Price: SGD$387,999 (with COE)

Mercedes-Benz GLC43 Coupe AMG - Mercedes had been busy ramping up their AMG line of products since the start of 2017, trying their best to win over Singaporean consumers. And while some may consider their effort of ‘eating’ into the SUV segment a vain one, you need to experience this M-sized monster to truly feel what it has to offer.

Under the hood is a potent 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 lump. Matched to a 9-speed automatic, there’s a potent 367 bhp and 520 Nm for you to exploit whenever the occasion calls for it — great at surprising unsuspecting tail-gaters. Oh, and in case you’re secretly wondering, this GLC43 here needs only 4.9 seconds to reach 100 km/h — literally, you could wave goodbye to the rest of traffic.

If you’re the sort who loves attacking corners, then you should be glad to know this 1,602 mm tall coupe-SUV/SUV-coupe/4-door SUV coupe (pick your own appropriate title here) feels assuring even close to its limits. Understeer is a distant worry, steering highly direct and it would give hot-hatches a very, very tough time…Price: SGD$334,888 (with COE)

Porsche Macan Turbo Performance Package - If you’re looking specifically at the Macan, we reckon you should just skip everything else and go straight for the Turbo Performance Package.

Simply because this souped-up-when-it-is-already-fast Porsche whips out 434 bhp and 600 Nm (!!!) worth of torque all thanks to some sorcery done to its twin-turbo V6 powerplant — a stock standard Macan Turbo gives you 400 bhp and only 550 Nm. And the answer to the question of ‘how long does it take to do 0-100 km/h?’ is a diabolical 4.4 seconds. In the SUV category, we really can’t think of any other faster way to lose your driving license. Oh, it also comes with intoxicating exhaust note as standard…

This is perhaps the ultimate rocket SUV money can buy right now, that also gets respectable handling character — you can turn it from a livable cruiser to nuke mode all at the touch of a button. And Porsche being Porsche, it has the most satisfying steering next to the rest of the SUVs highlighted in this article. Price: SGD$463,010 (with COE)

Audi SQ5 TFSI - If you are big - pun intended - on subtlety and class, Audi’s SQ5 should be right up your alley. At a glance you cannot tell, at all, this thing packs a punch. There are no telling signs to let the rest of traffic know that (insert German accent) ‘I can outrun you at a blink of an eye, yah’.

You have 349 bhp and 500 Nm of torque at your disposal via your right foot, all thanks to a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine paired to an 8-speed Tiptronic transmission. It goes from zero to hero in just 5.4 seconds; and perhaps only 20 seconds to get you from Changi to Tuas. And like any proper ‘S’ cars in Audi’s line up, the SQ5 really shoves you into your seat the moment you floor the accelerator. Heck, the word ‘mad’ sounded like an understatement…

Audi’s well-marketed Quattro all-wheel drive system ensures this SQ5 has the handling capability to match its performance. While we love it for its complete package (lets not forget the brilliant braking power), we do think the optional large 21-inch wheels and low-profile tyres have to go, to better balance the comfort bit. Price: SGD$316,080 (with COE)