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Fantastically Fast Family Haulers

When the whole clan needs to be on time.…

© Porsche Cars North America, FCA US, Audi AG, Jaguar Land Rover

By Perry Stern, AutoNXT

The family car will always have a starring role in this American life, thanks to never-ending chauffeuring by mom or dad: taking kids to school, summertime road trips, transporting kids to soccer practice, or even meeting other adults for a — gasp — night on the town. In their lives BC (Before Children), parents might have enjoyed something sporty or fun to drive; the following fantastically fast family haulers can keep that motoring mojo alive. These SUVs, wagons and hatchbacks carry the whole family and their stuff with speed and agility: the best vehicles to get ice cream home before it melts, arrive at soccer practice on time, or get away from it all — quickly.


Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

© FCA US

This Italian automaker has been around for more than 100 years with a rich history of building performance and racing vehicles. Until a few years ago, the idea of an Alfa Romeo SUV was unheard of, but then the all-new Stelvio premiered. Named for one of the highest mountain passes (with one of the best roads) in the Italian Alps, Stelvio offers the performance and styling of the Alfa Giulia sport sedan with the utility expected from a luxury crossover. This means whoever is lucky enough to sit behind the wheel on family outings may be having the most fun.


Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

© FCA US

Powering this potent SUV is a 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine producing 505 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque delivered to all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission. That’s enough power to move up to five passengers and their gear to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio features razor-sharp steering, active sport suspension and available Brembo high-performance carbon ceramic brakes for proper sports-car-like handling. With leather-trimmed sport seats up front, multiple USB outlets, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as a high-end Harmon Kardon audio system, the whole family should be comfortable and entertained at whatever speed they’re travelling.


Aston Martin DBX

© Aston Martin

DBX is the first SUV to wear an Aston Martin nameplate in the company’s 106-year history, and one look at the DBX confirms it is clearly, purely Aston Martin. Up front sits the signature DB grille that flows into the vented, sculpted hood. The vents not only provide cooling for the turbocharged engine, they also reduce front-end lift at speed. Additional air flows through ducts integrated into the LED running lights, cooling the brakes as well as reducing drag. The whole family will feel comfortable in the DBX — sport seats are covered in available full-grain leather from Bridge of Weir, and Alcantara covers the headliner as well as the roof blind. Features include heated front and rear seats, 3-zone automatic climate control, four USB ports, Apple CarPlay, a 360-degree view camera and an 800-watt premium audio system.


Aston Martin DBX

© Aston Martin

Although luxurious surroundings remain important, Aston Martins are all about performance — and the DBX certainly doesn’t disappoint. Power comes from a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine that generates 542 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. Active exhaust allows the DBX to be quieter when appropriate, or provide a full V8 roar — guaranteed to turn the heads of other parents. The DBX sprints to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and reaches a top speed of 181 mph. The 2021 DBX has a 9-speed automatic transmission that sends power to a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system with an active center differential and a limited-slip rear differential. During those family outings that leave the pavement behind, the DBX can be raised by almost 2 inches for more than 9 inches of ground clearance.


Audi RS Q8

© Audi AG

Audi introduced its Q8 flagship SUV a few years ago, and in typical fashion for the company, there is now a more powerful variant. Vehicles in the Audi lineup that wear the RS badge are the most extreme specimens offered, and the RS Q8 is no exception. The RS Q8 is easily spotted as something special with its large honeycomb grille, additional air intakes, LED headlights and running lights, bold fender flares and 22-inch alloy wheels. The interior has Audi’s virtual cockpit as well as RS sport Valcona leather seats, an RS sport steering wheel and large aluminum shift paddles. The RS Q8 features seating for five with plenty of space for cargo.


Audi RS Q8

© Audi AG

Motivating this high-performance SUV is a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine that produces 591 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. Power gets sent to Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system via an 8-speed Tiptronic transmission. The RS Q8 is not a small SUV, but excellent traction and plenty of power help it sprint to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, and it has a top speed of almost 190 mph when equipped with RS ceramic brakes. Proving its performance capabilities, the RS Q8 recently completed a circuit of Germany’s Nurburgring racetrack in 7:42.2, making it the fastest production SUV to lap this famed track. If your route to the grocery store happens to have more than 150 high-speed turns, the RS Q8 can get you there faster than any other SUV.


Audi RS6 Avant

© Audi AG

In the 1960s and ‘70s, the crossover had not yet been invented yet, so the family car was always a station wagon. Today station wagons have fallen out of favor, but there are a few left on the road, including the hot, new RS6 Avant. A particular niche of auto enthusiasts in the U.S. have been pining for the Audi RS6 Avant — a high-performance all-wheel-drive luxury wagon that was never before sold in America. The RS6 Avant sports a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine generating a plentiful 591 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. With a quick-shifting 8-speed Tiptronic transmission and quattro all-wheel drive, this not-so-small wagon can sprint to 60 mph in a supercar-like 3.5 seconds.


Audi RS6 Avant

© Audi AG

The RS adaptive air suspension and wheel-selective torque control — along with Audi’s legendary quattro all-wheel drive — ensure excellent handling when the road becomes twisty. The RS6 Avant can even be equipped with ceramic brakes to bring the car back from a top speed of 190 mph. The RS6 Avant gets styling to match its performance with broad wheel arches and a three-dimensional RS-specific honeycomb structure in the signature Singleframe grille, finished in gloss black. At the rear sits a roof edge spoiler as well as dual oval tailpipes. When the kids get dropped off at school in the RS 6 Avant, nobody makes fun of this wagon.


Bentley Bentayga Speed

© Bentley Motors

For those who feel the “regular” Bentayga simply isn’t powerful enough, Bentley has introduced the all-new Bentayga Speed. This is the most powerful and performance-oriented Bentayga offered — perfect for those quick family outings. Bentayga Speed stands out with a dark-tint matrix grille, dark-tint bumper grilles, dark-tint headlights, body-color side skirts, a body-color front splitter, a liftgate spoiler and Speed badges on the lower edge of the front doors. New 22-inch 10-spoke wheels are offered in three colors: silver, dark-tint or black. Inside, the Bentayga Speed adds accents around the door, door grab handle, outer seat cushions, seatback bolsters and lower console. Plush seats include contrasting stitching, Alcantara and embroidered “Speed” at the top of the seatbacks. Rear seating can be ordered for two or three and can be equipped with dual video screens as well as individual tables.


Bentley Bentayga Speed

© Bentley Motors

While the kids enjoy the rear-seat entertainment, the Bentayga Speed’s driver will be thrilled by the 6.0-liter W12 engine that produces 626 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque. Combined with an 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive, Bentayga Speed accelerates from zero to 62 mph in a drink-spilling 3.9 seconds on the way to a top speed of 190 mph. If the road gets a bit twisty, passengers will enjoy the Bentley Dynamic Ride — an electric active-roll control system that counters lateral rolling when cornering for a more comfortable ride as well as improved handling. To help get velocity managed in school zones, the Bentayga Speed features the largest ceramic brakes ever fitted to a Bentley.


BMW X3 M Competition

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience

The X3 crossover is the most popular model in the BMW lineup, offering room for five with decent cargo space in a modest package. Now the German car company has taken the X3 and given it the full M treatment, morphing this people mover into a sports car in SUV garb. Although the X3 M Competition is not overly flamboyant, it specifically stands out from the standard X3 with larger air intakes, a black kidney grille, signature M gills, a rear spoiler, M Sport exhaust with quad black-chrome tailpipes and 21-inch jet black wheels. Inside is befitting of the top-level X3, featuring Merino leather with Alcantara trim, M sport seats and available M seat belts for no charge.


BMW X3 M Competition

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience

At the heart of the X3 M Competition is an all-new M TwinPower Turbo 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine producing 510 horses, making it the most powerful 6-cylinder BMW has ever put in a production vehicle. This muscle gets transferred to the ground via the latest version of the M xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system. The system works in concert with the stability control to provide the feel and dynamics of rear-wheel drive — power is only sent to the front wheels when traction gets lost at the rear. The proper BMW M styling combined with a useful interior, comfortable ride and extreme performance make the X3 M Competition an excellent everyday choice for the enthusiast whose life can’t fit into a sports car.


Dodge Durango SRT

© AutoNXT

There are limited options on the market for something that can fit up to seven occupants with enough power to pin everyone in their seats — the Durango SRT is one of those vehicles. Fitted with a 6.4-liter HEMI V8 engine producing 475 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, the Durango SRT can jump to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. This fast Durango can also achieve an NHRA-certified 12.9 second quarter mile — most family cars don’t tend to get certified for anything by the NHRA. All this power doesn’t necessarily have to be used for going fast; it makes the Durango SRT an ideal tow vehicle, capable of hauling up to 8,700 pounds. 


Dodge Durango SRT

© FCA US

Not only is the Durango SRT the most powerful American 3-row SUV, it has styling that fits with the level of performance. Up front is a unique performance grille, LED headlights and running lights as well as a center air intake and heat extractors in the hood. At the corners are 20-inch Black Noise aluminum wheels shod with Z-rated tires as well as Brembo high-performance brakes. Racing stripes — a feature every family hauler should have — are optional.


Ferrari GTC4 Lusso

© Ferrari Cars North America

Arguably one of the least useful family vehicles on this list, the GTC4 Lusso is likely to put smiles on the faces of any family members occupying Ferrari’s most SUV-like model. Similar to its predecessor the FF, the GTC4 Lusso offers seating for four, ample cargo space and full-time all-wheel drive. The streamlined shape of the GTC4 Lusso fits well with the large grille, bold fender flares, side louvers, sculpted hood and quad exhaust at the rear. Improved sound insulation keeps the cabin comfortable and quiet, yet allows the alluring sound of the V12 engine inside for occupant enjoyment.


Ferrari GTC4 Lusso

© Ferrari Cars North America

Since the GTC4 Lusso is a proper Ferrari, power comes from a 6.3-liter V12 engine producing 680 horsepower and 514 lb-ft of torque. Power is put to the pavement via a 7-speed dual-clutch F1 transmission and a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system. Massive brakes, high-performance tires and a new rear-wheel steering system add to the impressive overall performance. Sixty mph arrives in a bit over 3 seconds, and the GTC4 Lusso will be in triple digits well before 10 seconds pass. Top speed is more than 200 mph — a thrill for the entire family?

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Automotive Magazine: Fantastically Fast Family Haulers
Fantastically Fast Family Haulers
When the whole clan needs to be on time.…
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