Family haulers are the new sports cars. That’s a scary thought for enthusiasts, for sure, but it does explain the rise of performance SUVs these past few years. Even enormous three-row crossovers aren’t immune from the crazy horsepower treatment, as we’ve seen with models like the Dodge Durango SRT and Mercedes-AMG GLS. Now, there’s the BMW X7 M50i, and we’re staging a drag race to see if it really is sports car quick, as the German automaker claims. To spice things up even further, we’re pitching it against our Tesla Model X Dual Motor and the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63.
1,500 horsepower on tap from these SUVs
Going through each of these powerhouse SUVs by the numbers, it’s a bit mind boggling to consider the fact that we have 1,500 horsepower split among these three.
The 2020 BMW X7 M50i is the most powerful (at least officially) of the group. Its 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 kicks out 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. BMW mates that engine to an eight-speed automatic transmission, which should help catapult this SUV to 60 mph at 4.5 seconds at sea level. BMW limits the top speed to 155 mph when equipped with summer tires, but that’s still plenty fast for something that weighs over 5,600 pounds.
Next up, the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 is not a three-row SUV, but it’s still not a lightweight at 4,500 pounds. Under the hood is a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 making 469 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. Here, we have a nine-speed automatic transmission and Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel drive system. The company claims this performance crossover can sprint from 0-60 in a minuscule 3.8 seconds, putting it in league with base versions of the Mercedes-AMG GT.
Our long-term Tesla Model X has two electric motors on its side, so it won’t suffer the same performance degradation at altitude, even though its two drag race rivals are turbocharged. Tesla doesn’t disclose exact figures, but we suspect this Dual Motor (one under the Performance model) makes around 500 horsepower.
Which one will emerge the fastest in this drag race? You probably have a strong sense of that, but the results are actually closer than you might think.
Does launch control actually work?
Part of what makes these performance crossovers so fast are their dedicated launch modes. However, they aren’t always terribly straightforward to engage. In the BMW, you’re supposed to turn DSC (traction control off), put the gear selector in the “S” mode, press down on the brake and the accelerator until a checkered flag appears in the gauge cluster, set the launch RPM using cruise control, then actually take off. It’s a complicated process, and as we discovered in the video it’s not something that goes without a hitch. If you’re too unfamiliar with the system, at least, the launch control in the X7 M50i isn’t always easy to use.
With the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63, on the other hand, it’s much more straightforward. Now, more powerful coupe versions like the GLC 63 S have a Race mode. This one has Sport and Sport+ drive modes, but you can still engage launch control. Here, you can just hold the brake, stamp the accelerator until the gauge cluster flashes with “RACE START” then go from there. The Model X is also a more straightforward affair.
Check out the video above to see which is the quickest crossover, and come back to TFLcar.com for more news, views and drag race reviews!