Today, we’ve been given the first proper look at the next addition to the Velar range – the V8-powered Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic. Bridging the gap between the 3.0-litre petrol/diesel model and the upcoming SVR, the SVA features a sporty yet subtle look along with a fire breathing 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine.
Derived from the Jaguar F-type SVR, the SVA’s power plant packs an impressive 542bhp and 680Nm of torque. All this allows for 0-60mph in just 4.3 seconds and a top speed of 170mph – not bad considering this isn’t even the fully-fledged forthcoming Velar SVR.
In order to put all that power and performance to good use, the SVA receives a whole host of modifications over the standard car, including a beefed up chassis and drivetrain, bigger brakes, uprated suspension and a reworked four-wheel drive control system. The latter of which is capable of sending all 542 horses to the rear wheels if needed.
Now, while all this is rather intriguing, we can’t ignore the elephant in the room. Actually, make that plural – we can’t ignore the elephants in the room. The elephants of course being the other fast SUVs currently on sale in the UK. Anyway, the point is the Velar SVA has some stiff competition from a segment that’s been ever so quickly expanding in recent years.
Here’s some of the best of what the new V8 Velar has to deal with…
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
Arguably the best fast SUV on sale today, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is more than just an SUV with 503bhp twin-turbo V6 shoved under the bonnet – much more in fact. For starters, it handles like a proper sports car, with minimal body roll through corners and eager agility.
As you can expect, possessing these kinds of handling characteristics is surprising considering it’s an SUV that weighs 231kg more than its saloon sibling, the Giulia Quadrifoglio. It’s four-wheel drive system helps though, and allows the car to achieve a rapid 0-60mph time of under four seconds.
Porsche Macan Turbo
Speaking of siblings, welcome to the Porsche Cayenne’s baby brother, the Macan. However, this is no ordinary Macan. No, this is the fast Turbo version, equipped with a spritely 394bhp 3.6-litre twin-turbocharged V6 motor. Go for the desirable Performance Package and that horsepower figure jumps to 434bhp. As well as the bhp boost, you also get launch control, more extreme driving modes, adaptive dampers and a lower ride height. What’s more, being a Porsche, the Macan Turbo drives beautifully with effortless precision, balance and poise.
Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S
Another rocket ship of an SUV is the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63. This one, featured in top-spec S form, puts out 503bhp from its 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8, and can accelerate from 0-60mph in under four seconds. It’s really a big muscle car, this thing. Couple the monstrous engine with a four-wheel drive system that favours oversteer, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a brute. Though that doesn’t mean you can only enjoy all 503bhp on the ragged edge of traction, though; this Merc is a remarkably tameable beast.
Alpina XD3/BMW X3 M
Right, here are the wildcards/exceptions, you could say. The reason being that both these cars are similar and neither is on sale – just yet. The Alpina is coming this April, and the BMW will be revealed at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show next month.
Starting with the X3 M, it’s been confirmed it will use a twin-turbo six-cylinder engine, expected to produce over 400bhp. With prototypes testing at the Nürburgring (in both X3 and X4 guise), it’ll be interesting to find how it’ll deal with balancing being an SUV as well as a performance car – something everything above on this list has managed very nicely.
Onto the XD3, a car you may not have heard of. It’s essentially the official BMW tuner’s X3 M. The Alpina XD3 is powered by the same 3.0-litre turbocharged straight six diesel found in BMW models, but tuned to produce 328bhp. How it drives is yet to be known, however, but both these cars deserve a mention for being potentially strong contenders in the competitive fast SUV segment.