Most powerful SUVs in America for 2022

·6 min read

Here in the United States, we enjoy power almost as much as we like our SUVs. Thankfully, we’ve got plenty of both. Traditionally, the most powerful SUVs source their massive horsepower and torque from some form of a V8. While that’s still generally the case, electrification comes into play more and more, whether it’s mild-hybrid tech, a plug-in hybrid powertrain or, as is the case with the two vehicles topping this list, fully electric vehicles. As we enter the 2022 model year, let’s look at the most powerful SUVs available.

Before we dive in, let’s address the elephant that is waiting just outside the door. Due to supply shortages, Mercedes-Benz is shelving most V8 models for the 2022 model year. Some 2021 models can still be found in dealer inventories, but we won’t include them. With that in mind, let’s dive into the list.

2022 Audi RS Q8 — 591 hp

Read our review of the Audi RS Q8

The only Audi on this list is a hot little number, which we characterized as “an uncompromising option in a field of compromised options.” Powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 (which seems to be a popular format in this list), its 591 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque get it scootin’ to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds, and on to a top speed of 190 mph. It even has the bragging rights of holding the Nürburgring lap record for an SUV.

2022 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Black Badge — 592 hp

Read our review of the Rolls-Royce Cullinan

This is one SUV where being a passenger might be more exciting than sitting in the driver’s seat, thanks to over-the-top luxury — what do you expect from a car that costs over $350,000? The driver doesn’t go unrewarded, though, with a turbocharged 6.75-liter V12 at their disposal. Thanks to the Black Badge’s software upgrade, it makes 592 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque.

2022 BMW Alpina XB7 — 612 hp

Read our review of the BMW Alpina XB7

Alpina takes already impressive BMW vehicles and turns them into even more powerful, more luxurious machines. The Alpina XB7 improves upon the BMW X7 with a biturbocharged 4.4-liter V8 offering up 612 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. That’s good for a 4.0-second 0-60 sprint and a 180-mph top speed. Alpina also adds its own transmission and drivetrain tuning, upgraded suspension, exhaust and a whole slew of unique appearance touches.

2022 BMW X5 M Competition and X6 M Competition — 617 hp

Read our review of the BMW X5 M and X6 M

We’ll lump these two SUVs together, as they're basically the same vehicle with different trunk designs. They also share a common beating heart: a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 making 617 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. That’s 17 more ponies than the same M utes without the Competition package. They’ll do 0-60 in 3.7 seconds, and go on to a top speed of 177 miles per hour. The Competition package also includes special wheels with performance tires, a sport exhaust, sport seats and unique M-striped seatbelts, along with some other appearance upgrades.

2022 Bentley Bentayga Speed — 626 hp

Read more about the Bentley Bentayga Speed

When eight cylinders isn’t enough, Bentley has you covered. The Bentayga Speed’s turbocharged W12 displaces 6.0 liters, providing 626 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque. A 0-60 spring happens in 3.8 seconds, and it has a top speed of 190 mph. It also has an opulent interior, and an air suspension with continuous damping control to make sure you and your passengers reach extralegal speeds in supreme comfort and luxury.

2022 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT — 631 hp

Read our review of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT

This isn’t the only Porsche on this list, but it’s the only one without a plug. The Cayenne Turbo GT’s 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 makes 631 hp and 626 lb-ft of torque. When equipped with the Sport Chrono package, it’ll sprint to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds and do the quarter mile in 11.6 seconds. Its top speed is listed at 186 mph. Not too shabby for a vehicle that weighs 5,000 pounds.

2022 Lamborghini Urus — 641 hp

Read our review of the Lamborghini Urus

Lamborghini finally caved and made an SUV, but it still boasts Lamborghini performance, with its 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 641 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque. After hustling to 62 miles per hour in just 3.6 seconds, it’ll stretch its legs all the way to a top speed of 190 miles per hour. Cost of entry is high, too, at about $222,000.

2022 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid — 670 hp

Read our review of Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid

While not a full battery-electric vehicle, the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid’s power reaches lofty heights thanks to electrification. Its twin-turbo 4.0-iter V8 and electric motor combine forces for a total of 670 hp and 663 lb-ft of torque. The 0-60 sprint is achieved in just 3.6 seconds. Its top speed is 183 mph, but it can go up to 83 mph using just the e-motor. Like any Porsche with “Turbo” in the name, it’s costly, with a starting price of $166,650 including destination.

2022 Rivian R1S — 'More then 800 hp'

Read our review of the Rivian R1T

The newest model on this list also comes from the newest brand. Rivian’s electric SUV shares its underpinnings with the R1T pickup. Rivian says with the correct tires, its quad-motor setup gives the R1S a 0-60 time of 3 seconds. While it’s still unclear what the net system peak output is, the dual motor unit up front provides 415 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque, while the rear unit makes 420 hp and 495 lb-ft. Do they peak at the same time? We don’t know. Does it matter? Probably not. How fast do you need to go?

2022 Tesla Model X Plaid — 1,020 hp

Read more about the Tesla Model X

This bonkers EV is the only vehicle on this list to break the 1,000-hp threshold … at least until GMC begins producing the SUV version of its new electric Hummer. With its three electric motors pushing it to a 0-60 time of just 2.5 seconds, it’s also the quickest. Tesla says it will do the quarter mile in just 9.9 seconds, and has a top speed of 163 miles per hour. Range is impressive, too, at 340 miles. Who needs that much power in their SUV? Well, someone with $119,990 burning a hole in their pocket, of course.

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