Fast SUVs aren't just restricted to hot rodders stuffing giant engines in jacked-up trucks anymore. The fastest SUVs on the planet can be purchased at your local dealership, and come straight from the factory with obscene amounts of horsepower, giant brakes to slow down from triple digit speeds, and the kind of suspension tuning that ensures they won't flip their tall centers of gravity at the next hairpin corner. All of that speed and handling prowess comes at a price - most of these trucks are far from cheap - but they offer a startling level of performance that rarely sacrifices any practicality in the process.
Let's take a quick look at the top 10 fastest SUVs for 2014.
01 - 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT
The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT saw several upgrades for the current model year, but the key change made to this high performance SUV was in the transmission department. The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT swaps last year's five-speed unit for a smoother eight-speed gearbox, giving it the flexibility to cruise around town casually or devour a drag strip with equal prowess. With 470 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque under the hood in the form of a 6.4-liter V-8, and with a four-wheel drive system as standard equipment (featuring launch control), it's no surprise that the Jeep can leap to 60-mph in just 4.8 seconds.
02 - 2014 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG is the latest in a long line of terror-inducing mid-size SUVs from the German brand. Tuned by in-house geniuses AMG, the Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG also offers full-time four-wheel drive to help direct every single pony from its 518 horse, 5.5-liter turbocharged V-8 to the ground. Also capable of generating 516 lb-ft of torque, and boasting a seven-speed automatic transmission, the ML63 AMG blasts to 60-mph in a heady 4.7 seconds, and does so while coddling as many as five occupants in the lap of luxury.
03 - 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged
The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged might have the longest name on this list, but it's deserving of attention for more than just its mouthful of a moniker. Completely redesigned for the current model year, the 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged now rides on a platform that is as much as 700 lbs lighter (depending on options) than before. This means that its 510 horsepower, 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 is less taxed than it was last year, giving it the ability to sprint to 60-mph from a standing start in five seconds. Credit also goes to the Land Rover's 461 lb-ft of twist as well as its full-time four-wheel drive system and eight-speed automatic transmission.
04 - 2014 BMW X6 M
The 2014 BMW X6 M is a vehicle that by all rights and purposes shouldn't exist. The BMW X6 M's 'coupe' body style ensures limited headroom for rear seat passengers, as well as a distinct lack of cargo capacity, and its massive size and weight should disqualify it from any type of spirited driving. And yet, the X6 M manages to hit 60-mph in just 4.5 seconds, all thanks to BMW M Division's 4.4-liter turbocharged V-8 that produces 555 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive ensures maximum traction at full throttle, and a paddle-shifted six-speed automatic transmission handles the gear changes for the SUV.
05 - 2014 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S
The 2014 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S is the fastest version of the SUV that helped save Porsche from financial ruin. Far and away the best selling model in the automaker's lineup, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S caters to speed lovers who want to drive as fast as humanly possible but who need to deal with the realities of carting their families from point A to point B. Motivating the Turbo S is a forced-induction V-8 that displaces 4.8 liters. On a dynometer, this unit puts down 550 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque, and all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission are also standard with this scarily-quick SUV. 60-mph is achieved in 4.3 seconds from behind the wheel of the Cayenne Turbo S.
06 - 2014 Audi SQ5
The 2014 Audi SQ5 is a new, faster edition of what was already a popular compact SUV. The Audi SQ5 aims to take it to rivals like the BMW X3 and the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class by offering a little extra grunt in the form of a 3.0-liter supercharged V-6. Rated at 354 horsepower and 346 lb-ft of torque, and featuring the brand's signature quattro all-wheel drive, the SQ5 is the spunkiest SUV to have ever been built by Audi. A seven-speed automatic transmission assists the modestly-powered vehicle in its quest to surge past 60-mph in a respectable 5.1 seconds.
07 - 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged
The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged features the same 5.0-liter, supercharged V-8 engine found in the Range Rover Sport Supercharged. This means that the full-size SUV also benefits from the 510 horses and 461 lb-ft of torque afforded its mid-size sibling. Despite being much larger, and offering an exceptional level of luxury inside its posh environs, the Range Rover Supercharged manages to be only 0.1 seconds slower to 60-mph than the Sport Supercharged - a truly amazing accomplishment. An eight-speed automatic and a four-wheel drive system (featuring low-range gearing) are standard with the Land Rover.
08 - 2014 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG is another big SUV that steals its drivetrain from its smaller brother - in this case, the 5.5-liter, turbocharged V-8 offered by the previously-mentioned ML63 AMG. There's a huge difference between the two models, however: while the ML63 AMG can be thought of as the prototypical family luxury cruiser, the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG is built on the bones of a dedicated off-road vehicle that features a rugged frame, box-like styling, and gobs of attitude. With 536 horsepower and 560 lb-ft of torque on tap, a four-wheel drive system, and a seven-speed automatic transmission, the G63 AMG runs the gamut to 60-mph in just 5.4 seconds.
09 - 2014 Ford Explorer Sport
The 2014 Ford Explorer Sport is the most affordable model on this list of the top 10 fastest SUVs, but don't count it out just because of its humbler roots. The Ford Explorer Sport features a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, which makes use of twin turbochargers to produce 365 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. This output is sent to all four wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission, and the end result is a 0-60-mph time of 5.9 seconds. The Ford Explorer Sport also stands out as one of the few three-row SUVs on our list (the Range Rover Sport Supercharged and the next-up X5 are the other two), which means you can bring the extended family along for your next drag strip pass.
10 - 2014 BMW X5 xDrive50i
The 2014 BMW X5 xDrive50i doesn't fly under the banner of the M Division, or any other fancy tuner, aftermarket or otherwise. Nope - the BMW X5 xDrive50i merely stands as the top-of-the-line edition of BMW's flagship family SUV. I use the term 'merely' despite the fact that this non-descript sport-utility vehicle enjoys 450 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque from its turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 engine, which, in combination with its standard all-wheel drive system and eight-speed automatic transmission, is enough to propel it to 60-mph in 4.9 seconds. That's a number that would have turned heads had it been attached to a dedicated sports car just a decade ago.