Once in a while a car is launched that’s so good, it sets a new benchmark of excellence. The Range Rover Sport was just such a treat in 2013.
Now a familiar sight on our roads, Land Rover has continued to develop the car in 2014.
Not only did it unleash the Range Rover Sport SVR – the fastest and most powerful production Land Rover, which lapped the Nürburgring in 8 minutes 14 seconds.
Land Rover also added an uprated diesel SDV8 engine option, plus improvements to the in-car technology and increased personalisation options, including extra exterior colours, alloy wheels and a panoramic roof.
A Range Rover Sport Stealth Pack (£1,700 -£2,500) was also introduced, featuring a set of exterior design enhancements, including a satin black front grille and grille surround, bonnet and fender vents and a choice of 21” 9-spoke or 22” 5-spoke wheels, finished in satin black with gloss black wheel nuts.
Having driven both the 3.0 V6 diesel and top of the range 5.0-litre V8 at the Range Rover Sport launch in 2013, I was totally bowled over. Recently I got behind the wheel of the SDV6 again for an extended period, and it’s just as good.
Spacious and comfortable with a commanding driving position, it’s a chameleon of a car. It’s able to take on every challenge thrown at it and it’s as happy cruising the M5 as it is off-roading.
Good looking and better proportioned than the model it replaced, it owes more than a passing resemblance to its cute little cousin, the Evoque.
It also been on a diet, shedding a third of its body weight. The first-generation car was based on the Land Rover Discovery’s steel platform, while the new Sport uses the same lightweight aluminium chassis as the latest Range Rover.
The V8 version is a brute of a car (0-60 in 5 seconds and a 155mph top speed), while the engine is pure Jekyll and Hyde – put your foot down and the joyous burble is transformed into a snarling beast.
The SDV6 model is no slouch either – it’s capable of close on 140mph and can hit 60mph in 6.8 seconds. It also challenges one of those big SUV myths – economy. A competitive 35mpg is achievable – more on motorway runs.
During the launch the Sport excelled in the two extreme challenges. First we headed to Land Rover’s all-terrain proving ground near Ledbury in Herefordshire, where it took waist-deep rivers, wheel-deep mud and steep hills in its stride.
Next it was over to Cotswold Airport near Kemble, Gloucestershire, where I hit 145mph in the V8 before I ran out of runway, and completed an untroubled emergency brake test at full speed. Startlingly quick and reassuringly stable, the Sport is as impressive on tarmac as it is off-road.
So does the new Range Rover Sport live up to its acclaim? Absolutely. In fact I’d go further – it’s still the most complete car in the world.
The Range Rover Sport range starts at £61,250.00, rising to £93,450 for the awesome SVR.