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Off-Road Luxury

  By TYREL RODRICKS, TIME N STYLE   Jun 6th 2012 at 6:00AM Cars & Jets RATED

Like the plethora of luxury vehicles, there’s no shortage of great off-road vehicles for the SUV enthusiasts in the country. However, mixing the two categories results in a massive thinning of the list. To help you decide on the perfect SUV, that is, one that offers just the right mix of luxury and ruggedness, we’ve shortened the list to four great machines.

BMW X5 M

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BMW has made a name by producing superrefined machines that make driving a pleasurable experience, even if the said machines rarely top any speed lists. With the X5, BMW succeeded in creating an SUV that provides not just a luxurious drive, but something akin to their performance sedans, albeit with bigger wheels and a whole lot more space. But then they took it a notch higher; they handed it over to the powerhungry M division of Bayerische Motoren Werke. If you know the difference between a BMW M5 and regular-5, you can imagine what the M division has given the X5 M.

To begin with, it’s got an M TwinPower Turbo eight-cylinder engine that puts out 555 hp— that’ll be more than happy to give you a top speed of 250 km/hr— going from nought to 100 in 4.7 seconds. In addition to a phenomenal engine, the X5 M has been fitted with all the ‘little’ features that make for a real ‘BMW’ drive. For example, BMW’s Adaptive Drive that, in their own words, ‘is the perfect synthesis of maximum driving dynamics and supreme travelling comfort’. They achieve this by monitoring the driving speed, steering angle and other factors, and translate these into commands for the stabilisers and shock absorbers, offering amazing ride comfort. It’s this  attention to detail that makes X5 M a great choice for the occasional off-road experience.

The Range Rover Supercharged

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Land Rover’s ultraluxurious Range Rover is the kind of SUV you want to drive on Indian roads. With just the right kind of history any marque would love to possess, the Range Rover Supercharged offers a great experience on city roads. But then you take the V8-equipped machine off the roads, and that’s the truly surprising experience. Lot of automakers make SUVs that work wonderfully when in paved comfort, but it takes a different kind of vehicle to offer a great off-road experience as well. Land Rover is one such automaker, and the Range Rover is one such vehicle.

Filled to the brim with urban features like cruise control screens everywhere you look, and a 14-speaker surround sound system, the Range Rover also comes equipped with off-road requirements like Hill Descent Control (HDC), Gradient Release Control (GRC), a Terrain Response Rotary Switch, and Adaptive Dynamics. The V8 proves itself, offering 510 bhp, and hitting 100 km/hr from zero in 6.2 seconds.

For those who prefer off-roaders because they actually like the environment, Land Rover offers its customers the opportunity to offset their driving emissions. How’s that for environment-conscious driving?

Mercedes G55 AMG

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When you’re talking about off-roaders, you can’t get very far without mentioning the G-wagen, or if you’re a traditionalist, the Geländewagen. Started in 1979 as a straightforward off-roader, the G Class evolved to include both the luxury of the Mercedes marque, as well as the toughness required for its class. Probably the most unlikely-looking Merc, unless you count the hatchback A and BClasses, the G-wagen is a behemoth of a machine, with performance that you’ve come to expect from the German automaker. But Mercedes didn’t leave it at that. They took their G-class vehicle and put it in the exceptionally-capable hands of AMG—the division, we believe, is in charge of giving Mercedes vehicles the superpowers.

The G55 AMG was fitted with a V8 that’s capable of 507 hp, and a maximum speed of 210 km/hr. Despite that much power under the hood, you wouldn’t be faulted for assuming the G55 AMG was slow, largely due to its massive bulk. However, as it turns out, AMG doesn’t do slow, and this variant on the G55 is no different; you can go from zero to 100 in 5.5 seconds. If you’ve decided that this is the machine for you, we urge you to wait for the successor to the G55 AMG, the G65 AMG, releasing later this year. If the 507 hp of the G55 was a lot, the G65 tops that with a class V12 that’ll pump out a massive 612 hp, and offers a recordbreaking maximum torque of 1,000 newton metres—novel to its segment.

Volkswagen Touareg

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The SUV meets luxury class saloon’. It’s not advertised as the fastest SUV, or even the most well-equipped, in fact, it’s more of an all-rounder, in a decently-priced package. For those looking for a great weekend car, the Touareg packs a lot into it’s fairly large frame, offering offroaders just what they need to navigate the great outdoors. The highlights of the Touareg are best shown off while away from the paved roads of urban driving.

With approach and departure angles of 33°, and a variable ground clearance of 6.3 to 11.8 inches, the Touareg is made to scale mountainous territory. The Touareg can wade through 500 mm of water with ease, and cope with vertical slopes of up to 45° and side slopes of 35°. Available only as a diesel variant, the V6 TDI engine provides 239 PS of power to make onroad driving just as pleasurable, while you’re enveloped in the luxury of amenities like the genuine Napa leather seats, the Climatronic airconditioner, and 10- speaker audio system. Volkswagen’s answer to the likes of the Porsche Cayenne or its own relative, the Audi Q7, the Touareg is a tour-de-force in what luxury should look like in an SUV.

 

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