PERFORMANCE SUV; two simple words that still offend the more sensitive motoring purists out there. The rest of the world has wholeheartedly embraced the concept of powerful, high-riding wagons, but there remain some enthusiasts who consider them too compromised to be truly entertaining as cars for keen drivers. Why not just buy a fast sedan or a coupe instead?
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The thing is, less people are shopping for those sorts of vehicles these days. Regular consumers are relatively progressive and open-minded. More and more of them want SUVs. They want practical cars they can use every day, but they don’t want to neglect performance.
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A lot of automotive engineers are enthusiasts on some level, and as this trend has emerged they’ve worked feverishly to make the faster versions of these family haulers drive like normal cars.
One such SUV is this; the Mercedes-AMG GLC63 S – a popular mid-sizer with room for five people and their luggage that now has a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 producing 375kW and 700Nm wedged between its forequarters. With all-wheel-drive grip this 1935kg SUV will shift its heft from 0-100km/h in less than four seconds.
Manufacturers seem to think the latest crop of super SUVs is so good there’s nothing to lose; little to no compromise even for performance purists when comparing these high-performance high-riders with their conventional counterparts.
So we’ve come to Tasmania to find out how true that is. This island in Australia’s south-east is renowned for its beautiful and challenging terrain; the venue for a week-long road race held in late April every year – Targa Tasmania.
These fast and unforgiving roads are the perfect place to answer the big performance SUV question. Are these vehicles really good enough to deliver ultimate driving thrills? Watch to find out.