Mary J. Blige, Trevor Noah, Arnold Schwarzenegger Among Stars Getting In on $200,000+ SUV Craze
New ultra-luxury offerings from the likes of Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce and Bentley are hitting the market as sales of "curb-scraping" sedans decline.
It may have been unimaginable only a few years ago for Lamborghini to come to market with a sports utility vehicle. But as prices for exclusive vehicles keep climbing, Lamborghini's new Urus is just one in a growing market for ultrapriced SUVs. Starting at $100,000, the midsize SUV features a 650-horsepower, 4-liter, twin-turbo V8 engine and goes zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.6 seconds with a top speed of 189.5 mph. "We created a product that would live at the very top of the performance SUV category," says Alessandro Farmeschi, COO of Automobile Lamborghini America.
Aside from the Urus, the luxe SUV market is becoming crowded with $200,000-plus options like the Bentley Bentayga and the SVAutobiography by Range Rover (whose brand fans include Mary J. Blige and Trevor Noah). Now even a fully loaded Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator or Porsche Cayenne Turbo can hit the six-figure range. In late 2018, Rolls-Royce will debut its Cullinan, built off the same underpinnings and stocked with the same opulence as its new $450,000-plus Phantom, owned by the likes of DJ Khaled and Lady Gaga.
With an abundance of expensive SUVs in the market, the luxury sedan is dying — January sales were down nearly 11 percent, while SUV sales were up 10 percent. Says Jonny Lieberman, host of the Netflix car show Head2Head: "Do you want to deal with the curb-scraping impracticality of a Lamborghini Huracan when for the same money you could have the easier-to-live-with Urus?" In January, Ferrari's chairman said the Italian maker hopes to have one to market by 2020. While the new Mercedes-Benz G-Class, which arrives this fall, may not have changed much since its 1979 launch, it's still a best-seller. Even with its boxy shape, the SUV is favored among such owners as Diane Keaton and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who drives a custom electric version. Gorden Wagener, chief design officer at Daimler AG, says the interior and proportions of the new AMG G63 were tweaked but that "even after 40 years, it shows you how timeless the G-Wagen is."
This story first appeared in the Feb. 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.