The modern SUV has become the “car” of choice for the majority, and it is not difficult to understand why. The living room, cargo space and higher driving position are a given. Still, we think the growing popularity has more to do with how SUVs transformed from a standard everyday vehicle to a performance machine capable of outperforming a sports car. And it does so while still having five to seven seats, plenty of cargo space, and the off-road smarts of its older predecessors.
After exploring the fastest production cars in the Green Hell, we now pay homage to the fastest production SUVs at the Nürburgring.
#5. Porsche Cayenne Turbo S
- Time: 7:59.74
- Announced date: 2015
- Fun fact: The 2016 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S is the first production SUV to lap the Nurburgring in less than eight minutes.
The first-generation Porsche Cayenne that debuted in 2003 was a bold effort on the part of the German automaker. It drew criticism for its 911-inspired styling, but the Cayenne was an instant hit with its sporty performance, premium cabin, and powerful lineup of powertrain options. The second-generation Cayenne arrived in 2011, with Carrera GT-style cues and plenty of functional performance.
Professional racing driver Walter Röhrl, a man who is no stranger to setting lap records in a Porsche, entered the record books again while driving a 2016 Cayenne Turbo S. He lapped the Nürburgring in 7:59.74, making the Cayenne Turbo S in the world’s first production. SUV to go around the Ring in less than eight minutes.
#4. Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
- Time: 7:51.7
- Announced date: September 29, 2017
- Fun fact: The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio was eight seconds faster than the previous record holder, the 2016 Porsche Cayenne Turbo.
The Alfa Romeo name has been conquering the race tracks since the automaker’s founding in Milan, Italy, in 1910. Grand Tour’s Jeremy Clarkson (formerly of Top Gear) said you can’t be a true gas buff until you you’ve had an alpha , possibly a mild dig at the brand’s propensity for unreliability and shoddy build quality.
However, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a different type of Alfa. It’s a sporty-looking SUV to begin with, but with slick credentials. It has an all-aluminum 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 engine and an eight-speed automatic gearbox, pumping out 505 horsepower to all four wheels. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds and is one of the quickest SUVs you can buy.
Italian driver Fabio Francia took the Stelvio Quadrifoglio for a spin around the Nürburgring in September 2017. He lapped the 12.9-mile Nordschleife in seven minutes and 51.7 seconds, eight seconds faster than the previous record.
#3. Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S
- Time: 7:49.37
- Announced date: November 22, 2018
- Fun fact: The Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S is faster around the Nürburgring than the Ferrari F430, the Lamborghini Murcielago and the Mercedes-AMG SL65 Black Series.
The Germans know the Nürburgring, so it’s no surprise that the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S is on this list. It has a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with 503 horsepower, the same output as the V6 in the Stelvio Quadrifoglio. However, the Mercedes made its way around the ‘Ring’ two seconds faster than the Alfa, ending the reign of the Italian SUVs.
With Mercedes-AMG development engineer Markus Hofbauer at the helm, the GLC 63 S completed the 12.9-mile Nordschleife in seven minutes and 49.37 seconds. The AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive system (with variable torque distribution and a limited-slip differential on the rear axle), air suspension with adaptive variable damping, and ceramic compound brakes helped Hofbauer make the most of the V8’s power and torque.
#2. Audi RS Q8
- Time: 7:42.253
- Announced date: November 6, 2019
- Fun fact: The Lamborghini Urus had a lap time of 7:47. But since the lap wasn’t official, we can’t include the Urus on our list of the fastest production SUVs around the Nurburgring.
If the Lamborghini Urus, the corporate cousin of the Audi RS Q8, had officially went around the Nürburgring, his record would not have stood for long. In November 2019, professional driver Frank Stippler completed a lap of the Ring in seven minutes and 42 seconds (7:42.253), about five seconds faster than the Urus.
Under the hood of the Audi RS Q8 is a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with 591 horsepower and 590 lb-ft. of torque. It also has a four-wheel quattro transmission, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and a 48-volt hybrid system to save fuel. According to Audi, the RS Q8 can hit 60 mph from a standstill in 3.2 seconds and finish the quarter mile in 11.6 seconds.
#1: Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT
- Time: 7:38.925
- Announced date: June 14, 2021
- Fun fact: The Porsche Cayenne that holds the current Nürburgring lap record is a Cayenne Coupe, a variant of a standard Cayenne SUV.
It didn’t take long for Porsche to regain the lap record at the Nürburgring. In June 2021, with track temperatures of 114.8 Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius), professional driver Lars Kern went around the ‘Ring’ aboard a Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Coupe and broke the Audi record by a few three seconds. “This Cayenne model is a top performer,” said Stefan Weckbach, Vice President of Product Line Cayenne. “His record time on the Nordschleife confirms the dynamic capabilities of our new high-performance SUV.”
The 2021 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT’s 7:38.925 lap time at the Nurburgring is all the more impressive when you consider that the Lexus LFA, Ferrari 458 Italia and Chevy Corvette C6 ZR-1 have ring times of seven minutes and 38 seconds, and all of them are supercars. . But the Cayenne Turbo is a practical SUV, even though it packs a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 with 631 horsepower and 626 lb-ft. of torque, not bad for a daily driver.
“The wheels normally leave the ground on the ridges of Pflanzgarten I and II, but these sections felt smooth and quiet on this Cayenne. There’s plenty of wheel travel and the bodywork stays solid and controlled,” Kern said. “The powertrain makes a really strong impression. It offers power in every situation, as well as perfect gear changes.”
Sabine Schmitz: Queen of the Nurburgring
Did you know that the late Sabine Schmitz holds the record for driving the fastest seven-seat SUV on the Nordschleife? What’s more impressive is that she did it in an original Skoda Kodiaq RS, the fastest and most expensive Skoda you can buy. It featured Skoda’s most powerful diesel engine, a 2.0-litre twin-turbo unit making 237 horsepower and 369 pound-feet. paired Schmitz and the Skoda had a lap time of 9:29.0, a record that stands to this day.
rest in peaceSabina.
Alvin Reyes is a columnist for Automoblog and an expert on sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics and accounting in his youth and is still very much in love with his old Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.