“A Porsche SUV!?!” They all exclaimed in horror back when the Cayenne was launched in 2003.
Now, the Cayenne is the brand’s best-seller, followed by another SUV, the Macan.
SUV popularity is nothing new in Australia or around the world. In fact, SUVs made up a massive 51.7% of all vehicles sold in Australia in 2020.
Their demand has made way for the ‘super SUV’. Nodifi investigates.
Super SUVs under the microscope
When names like Porsche, Land Rover, Bentley and Lamborghini get thrown around, luxury and performance comes to mind. Super SUVs aim to deliver an ultra-high end sports car in SUV clothing.
Their 6-figure price tags are justified by engines typically boasting 8 cylinders (at least) with power outputs of over 500 hp.
Super SUV icon, the Lamborghini Urus completes the 0-60 mph (96.5 km/h) in around 3.2 seconds thanks to its V8 twin-turbo setup. For reference, that’s around .5 seconds faster than a 2020 Ford Mustang GT.
Pretty impressive when you’re laden with a panoramic roof, heated and cooled massaging seats, rear seat entertainment and over 622 litres of cargo space – among other luxury items. The Urus also has considerable off-road ability.
(The Lamborghini Urus is not for the faint (or cheap) hearted)
Separating super SUVs from supercars, is their ability to not only perform on the track but also in a creekbed or up a mountain. These vehicles feature capable 4×4 systems with numerous drive modes assisted by arrays of sensors.
Although, most owners probably wouldn’t be taking a half million dollar vehicle out bush.
Lamborghini recorded its most profitable sales year in 2020. The 58-year-old company can thank their super SUV for this. The Urus made up 59% of Lamborghini sales worldwide in 2020.
Demand is strong in Australia too.
Urus sales rose by 250% comparing 2018 to 2019. More recently, Q2 2021 saw a 22.6% increase compared to Q2 2020.
Porsche sales tell a similar story – its top three sellers were all SUVs. Looking at 2019 to 2020 figures, the most popular Porsche vehicle in Australia, the Macan, is up 2%. In second is the Cayenne and third place goes to the Cayenne Coupe, meaning the top three spots for the high-end brand are its SUVs.
A headline from Bentley (maker of the Bentayga super SUV) regarding its 2020 sales also speaks volumes about this segment’s popularity: ‘Bentley records highest sales in 101 years’
Demand for the Bentayga SUV is so fierce that the company predicts it to become their best seller over the next several years.
Land Rover’s SV models, which include the 5.0L 8-cylinder supercharged Range Rover SVAutobiography, are unsurprisingly reporting healthy sales. Globally, SV model sales were up 64% comparing FY18/19 to FY19/20. However, Australian sales slumped in the wake of the COVID pandemic.
Top shelfer, Rolls-Royce, maker of the super SUV crown jewel, the Cullinan, is reporting strong sales. The ultra-premium brand recorded an all-time high global sales year in 2018. The Cullinan experienced the fastest post-launch sales growth of any Rolls-Royce in history.
In 2019, Rolls-Royce sold 55 vehicles in Australia and, although they don’t disclose exact figures, 19 of those 55 were SUVs.
The Rolls-Royce Cullinan upon closer inspection
Weighing in at 2.7 tonnes (nearly half a ton more than a Toyota LandCruiser), the Cullinan is essentially the world’s most luxurious super SUV.
Despite most owners being chauffeured, power is available. The 6.75-litre V12 engine hauls the land superyacht from 0-100km/h in 4.8s.
Options include a drinks fridge with champagne flutes, Rolls-Royce whisky glasses and decanter. Also included are power doors, power picnic tables, rear entertainment, heated and cooled massaging seats and even armrests. The wheels, which probably cost a beach house to replace, keep the Rolls-Royce logo upright at all times, i.e., the logos don’t spin.
Drivers and passengers can raise and lower the hood (bonnet) ornament at the press of a button, should the trip warrant it.
You can also order a custom LED ‘starry night’ roof liner arranged with a specific star pattern, complete with shooting stars occasionally darting overhead.
When optioned up, the price tag pushes close to a million Australian dollars.
(The Rolls-Royce Cullinan. Source: rolls-roycemotorcars.com)
Ferrari has [finally] joined the super SUV club
The Ferrari Purosangue SUV, due for sale before the end of 2022, is the brand’s first SUV. Launching nearly 20 years after the first super SUV, the Porsche Cayenne, there’s clearly still plenty of interest from consumers in the segment.
Ferrari CEO, Sergio Marchionne, once famously said he’d have to be shot before he would green light an SUV and now it appears super SUV demand has pulled the trigger.
Summing up super SUV demand
Although the pool of buyers with the means and funds needed to purchase such extravagant vehicles isn’t exactly huge, the demand is clear.
In addition to the brands mentioned above, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Maserati, Lexus and Jaguar, among others, also have super SUV models.
It looks like the super SUV is here to stay.