One day, electric vehicles will fill the streets and trails of the world. But it's definitely not this day, as we dive into a four-way off-roader SUV drag race that's basically a love letter to the V8. When the lowest-powered vehicle packs a 470-bhp (350-kilowatt) Hemi, you know it's going to be a good day for speed. That is, provided a pesky speed limiter doesn't get in the way. More on that in a bit.
First, the contenders. The Hemi belongs to a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392, and though it has the least power, it's also the lightest of the bunch at approximately 2,150 kg (4,740 pounds). Meanwhile, the Mercedes-AMG G63 happens to be the heaviest and most powerful, checking in at 577 bhp (430 kW) and 2,550 kg (5,622 lbs). In the middle, you have the Land Rover Defender V8 with 518 bhp (386 kW) and the BMW X7 M50i with 523 bhp (390 kW). Aside from similar power levels, the middle children also weigh around 2,485 kg (5,480 pounds) each, so they should be evenly matched, right?
On paper, yes. However, anyone remotely familiar with performance SUVs will recognize the X7 isn't quite like the other competitors featured here. Whereas the Jeep, Merc, and Land Rover are legit off-road vehicles, the X7 is aimed at road-going adventures. It has proper on-road tyres, and it's also fitted with launch control. And since this contest of speed takes place on a massive, paved runway, you probably see where this is going.
Actually, the fantastic AMG G63 puts up a crazy good fight. In two standing-start races, the G chases the Bimmer all the way through the quarter-mile, barely losing to the X7. Meanwhile, the Defender and Rubicon take turns bringing up the rear with each losing once. It's the same for a pair of mile-long rolling races, except things are far more embarrassing for the Wrangler. 470 bhp is plenty of muscle to get the SUV moving, but with a governed top speed of 112 mph, it's literally left in the dust.
The BMW may have won the day, but as the video suggests, it's not necessarily a fair fight. Move the venue to an actual off-road environment and it's likely a very different story.