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Five fast compact SUVs you can get for under $100K in 2023

*By top speed. Here are five fast compact SUVs that can reach some pretty lofty velocities.

BMW X3 M and X4 MImage credit: BMW

Behold our Fast Five! Er, Fast Five for the whole family. If you want a compact SUV that offers space for you and your family but also would want a surge of power available when you want it. Compact SUVs can offer you the best of both worlds, as you can get a fun, sporty, non-snoozeville vehicle that drives well while still delivering enough space for grocery hauls and IKEA expeditions. Having one of the fastest compact SUVs on the market can be a major benefit as you do not need to worry about being late for any event, whether it be the driver’s meeting at the track, the campground at the end of the trail, or soccer practice down the street. Without further ado, allow me to walk you through the sprightlier side of these glorified lifted hatchbacks. 

2023 Ford Bronco Sport Badlands (hold your horses and bear with us)

Top Speed: 121 MPH

What’s hot?

  • Conquer trails with Ford’s G.O.A.T system
  • The customization options you get with the Bronco family allow you to create your own custom Bronco Sport 

What’s not?

  • Expensive as far as its class goes
  • It may be too compact for some families

Stop! Hear me out. I know everything on this list is a little spendy. A little bit on the affluent side of sub-six-figures. However, the Ford Bronco Sport Badlands is one of the fastest sub-compact SUVs you can get new in the American car market this low down in the price bracket. As the Bronco Sport is just as capable as its bigger brother, you can go anywhere in Bronco Sport while also getting there quickly. A great reason to look at the Bronco Sport Badland edition is the customization you can get from Ford, allowing you to have the best Bronco. And although its price can get a little lofty as far as compact crossovers are concerned, it’s still among the most frugal and pennywise offerings in Ford’s stable. Looking at you, Lightning.

Being the most capable compact SUV on the list doesn’t make the Ford Bronco a slouch. With a proven top speed well into the 120-mph range, you can tackle any interstate with this SUV, given you have a decent lawyer. The Ford Bronco gets its power from a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four, producing a staggering (for its breed) 250 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque, enabling it to hit 60 in under six seconds in the hands of magazine test teams. Bronco Sport ST, maybe?

Mercedes-Benz AMG GLB 35

Top Speed: 155 MPH (electronically limited)

What’s hot?

  • Can be specced with seven seats if you really need it
  • The 4Matic all-wheel drive balances sporty driving and all-weather capability

What’s not?

  • Currently no hotter “45” model like the AMG GLAs 
  • Notable wind and tire noise

When you hear the word AMG, you immediately think of German power and performance. A diminutive four-banger box probably isn’t part of that image, yet here we are. Enter the Mercedes-Benz AMG GLB 35. With the refined nature of the Mercedes and its performance, you get the AMG badge, making it one of the fastest small SUV options to get. 

Producing 302 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque coming from a 2.0l turbocharged inline-four, you get a top speed of 155 MPH, which is actually electronically limited. With a 0-60 MPH of 5.1 seconds that you get from the eight-speed automatic gearbox, you will be able to beat most commuter cars and even some entry-level sports cars off the line. 

Audi SQ5 Sportback

Top Speed: 155 MPH (electronically limited)

What’s hot?

  • Still gets decent fuel economy
  • Modern and luxurious interior

What’s not?

  • Price can inflate rapidly
  • Audi’s definition of high performance can be a timid drive for some 

Its premium luxury look and feel are mixed in with speed and power. The Audi SQ5 Sportback will always impress those who drive it, even if it’s not the hottest or fiercest thing in its field. With styling cues from the larger and far more imposing Audi RS Q8 models, you get a premium compact SUV that is also one of the fastest compact SUVs, and it delivers on its mission with heaps of swag and style for the money.

Being limited to a top speed of 155 mph from a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6, you get a staggering 349 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque to play with. The SQ5 has an eight-speed automatic that accelerates 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds. All this performance goes through the Audi Quattro all-wheel drive system, allowing you to use all the power anytime. 

Porsche Macan GTS

Top Speed: 163 MPH

What’s hot?

  • One of the sharpest and most dynamic crossovers, period
  • It has a very sporty seating position

What’s not?

  • Among the costlier options here and can easily inflate deep into the six figures
  • It may be quite big for some people

Given the Porsche Macan GTS is, uh, well, a Porsche, it will always be a head-turner and a genuine performer wherever you take it. Porsche translates its vast knowledge of legendary sports cars into something that gives its customers one of the fastest compact SUVs on the market.

The Macan has evolved a bit over several years, but know the current GTS’ 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 creates 434 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque. These staggering figures allow the Macan GTS to have an acceleration of 0-60 time of 3.5 seconds in the hands of magazine test teams. That’s up there with the best sports cars today and was supercar territory merely a decade or so ago. All this power gets sent to all four wheels through Porsche’s acclaimed seven-speed PDK dual-clutch.

BMW X3 M and X4 M Competition 

Top Speed: 177 MPH 

What’s hot?

  • Porsche-rivaling stats
  • One of the most sports car-like in its field

What’s not?

  • Some may find the ride a bit too harsh. 
  • Go ahead. Buy the X4. Show us how little taste you have. 

Being one of the fastest compact SUVs on the market, the BMW X4 M and X3 M Competition deliver performance in spades, more so than many other performance SUVs on the market, big or small. As part of the M family of cars, their turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six powertrains carry over from the BMW M3 sedan and M4 coupe. The BMW X3 and X4 are mechanically identical, but the X4 bears that iconically controversial coupe-inspired design that the world loves to hate. Not that ugly is anything new to BMW.

The Competition package turns up the wick with 503 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, a healthy leap from the base cars’ 473 horsepower and 457 pound-feet. All this power goes through an eight-speed automatic to an all-wheel-drive system. The resulting performance figures are a 0-60 time of 3.3 seconds and a top speed of 177 MPH.

Bronco Sport Meme
Image credit Jeric Jaleco

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