Sport Utility Vehicles, or SUVs, are (still) very much in vogue, for various reasons: Whether it’s the commanding presence from being higher up than everybody else on the road, the ample storage space for road trips, the ability to tackle any road condition with all-wheel drive, or all of the above — it all just goes to show that bigger is often better on the road.
More and more luxury marques are making high-performance, sporty SUVs, which are as ready for a mountain adventure as they are for a trip to your nearest shopping mall. SUVs are particularly well suited for Hong Kong’s hilly roads, whether you’re navigating through the countryside or around steep city roads. If you’re looking to become the proud new owner of an SUV this year, these are the beauties you’ll want to keep an eye on in 2018.
Of course, one of our top picks is the exclusive Bentley Bentayga. Turning heads with its coach-built Mulliner special edition last year, the Bentayga has been refitted with a brand new 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine, just freshly landed in Hong Kong. There’s a luxury tailoring bent in every Bentley interior, and this one is no exception, with new stylings featuring a wood and hide steering wheel, and a high-gloss, carbon-fibre interior panel finish replacing the previous veneer surfaces (a new leather in rich red, named Cricket Ball, is also available). Despite weighing a hefty 5,291lbs, the Bentayga can go from 0–100km/h in just 4.5 seconds.
Launching in Hong Kong in early December last year, the latest in BMW’s X series is technically an SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle), a mid-sized, athletic and super-confident addition that rewrites the marque’s existing repertoire. The X3 M40i in particular is the first M performance model (the M stands for Motorsport) of the X3 series, blasting away from 0–100km/h in just 4.8 seconds with its 3.0-litre, six-cylinder inline engine, giving a maximum output of 355hp. The inside of the car exudes luxury with a new Vernesca leather upholstery and touchscreen navigation.
From HK$629,900 at BMW; Don’t miss it at the BMW Motorshow on 13-14 January, 11am–8:30pm, Exhibition Hall, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, 3-27 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
The Urus — named after the majestic and brawny beast of a bull of the same name — is the fastest SUV available on the market at the moment (in hot competition with the Porsche Cayenne Turbo), and like its namesake, the Urus is a force to behold. Calling itself the world’s first Super Sport Utility Vehicle, this fiery addition to the Lambo DNA packs a ton of power, with a 4.0-litre, twin-turbo V8 engine delivering 650 hp and 850 Nm of torque — allowing it to sprint at 0–km/h in 3.6 seconds flat. Very much a Lambo, it’s low-slung, with a coupé-like, animalistic presence.
Price TBA at Lamborghini
The best chef in the world reportedly drives one, so why wouldn’t you be swayed? The Maserati Levante was launched in 2016, bringing Italian flair to the sporty SUV market. The new 2018 model now features electromechanical power steering instead of hydraulic, as well as two trim options: GranLusso (luxury) and GranSport (performance), although only the latter is available in Hong Kong. With its powerful twin-turbo, 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine, the car is able to hurtle from 1–100 km/h in 5.2 seconds, no sweat, while the new electric steering enables more torque for precision at lower speeds. With the extra Zegna silk inserts on the seats (otherwise, it’s Poltrona Frau leather upholstery), you’ll be revving through the roads in the lap of luxury — and who doesn’t want that?
From HK$1,488,000 at Auto Italia
Mercedes’s AMG GLC 63 S 4Matic+ may be a mouthful, but the AMG badge (synonymous with speed) is all you really need to pay attention to. The most recently launched crossover performance SUV model uses a 4.0-litre eight cylinder biturbo engine that’s a stalwart in many AMG GT sports cars. It may be smaller, but the ensuing compact engine design allows for optimal response and low emissions, meaning you get a super-efficient, highly responsive road experience without compromising on racing attitude. The new GLC also features the eponymous all-wheel-drive system as well as the AMG Speedshift MCT 9-Speed transmission that’s been used in the AMG E-Class. The look of the vehicle echoes its links with Mercedes-AMG sports cars, such as its wider AMG Panamericana grille.
HK$1,458,000 at Mercedes-Benz
Compared to many marques clambering onto the SUV bandwagon, Audi’s one of the names that’s been making them for years. While we wait for Audi’s upcoming releases in its SUV family (the Q8 and Q4 — slated to arrive by 2019), we can admire the second-gen reworking of the German marque’s Q5. Exuding sportiness with its crisp, tapered lines, it’s no wonder it’s one of the most popular SUVs in Hong Kong. Sized comfortably between the Q3 and Q7, it may even look smaller to the naked eye, but inside it’s a great deal roomier and with greater luggage capacity than its predecessor — even after shaving off 90kg. With its 2.0-litre, TFSI turbocharged engine, and a redeveloped transmission system, on top of clever features that up the Q5’s grip strength, balance, and shock absorption, the Q5 demonstrates fantastic strength and stability in all types of terrains.
From HK$519,900 at Audi