A sporty SUV might seem like a redundant term, since SUV stands for "sport utility vehicle." But as they've become the dominant style of vehicle in recent years, drivers looking for some extra sportiness are seeking out specialty versions.
At Audi, models in the RS line offer the ultimate dose of both power and handling. Apply that formula to their flagship SUV the Q8, and you have the RS Q8.
A twin-turbo V8 makes 591 horsepower, and all-wheel drive gets that power to the pavement. Huge wheels, tires and brakes assure stable cornering and stopping, and it all happens amid luxury for the driver and all occupants of this two-row SUV.
Of course, ultimate Audi SUV performance comes with an ultimate Audi SUV price tag. The regular Q8 isn't cheap at nearly $75,000 to start. The SQ8, the next notch up on the performance ladder, starts in the mid-$90,000 range. But the RS Q8 blows past the six-figure mark in a big way, with a big base price of just over $125,000.
But there are obviously buyers looking to spend big bucks for big performance. Over the years, Mercedes-Benz has turned its AMG division loose on all manner of its SUVs, from small to large. And dealers can't keep them in stock.
If your tastes run to an American brand, the Dodge Durango SRTs are like a hot Charger or Challenger, with lots more people and cargo room. While those two passenger cars have been discontinued for 2024, the Durango SRT 392 and SRT Hellcat live on, at least for now.
Decades ago, when "sport sedans" first became a thing, a manufacturer would often just take a regular sedan, make improvements to the engine, suspension, and brakes, and you had a sport sedan. Today a modern crossover SUV, underneath, is very much like a sedan. So it's not a big stretch to apply sport sedan hardware to an SUV, basically.
And that's even easier when it comes to electric vehicles, since many share the same basic underpinnings. There's an EV relative to the Audi RS Q8 called the SQ8 e-tron. Fully electric and sporty at the same time.
Here too, you can stay all American with a high-performance EV. The hot model of Ford's Mustang Mach-E is the GT version, with quick acceleration to rival the V8-powered conventional Mustang, and chassis improvements worthy of the GT moniker.
In the sport utility vehicle world of today, you can get some extra thrills behind the wheel for some driving fun mixed with practicality.