First test drive: Range Rover Sport

  • RANGE ROVER SPORT
  • Price scale: $179,990 to $259,990 (plus clean car costs, TBC)
  • Powertrains: 4.4-litre twin-turbo petrol V8 with 390 kW/750 Nm, eight-speed automatic transmission, 4WD, 11.8 L/100 km; 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder diesel with 221 kW/650 Nm or 257 kW/700 Nm, eight-speed automatic transmission, 4WD, 7.4 L/100 km; 3.0-liter twin-charged gasoline plug-in hybrid inline-6 ​​with 324 kW/620 Nm or 375 kW/700 Nm, eight-speed automatic transmission, 4WD, 1.7 L/100 km.
  • Body Style: SUV
  • On sale: Now

The Range Rover Sport is consistently one of Land Rover’s best-selling models, both in New Zealand and around the world. It’s partly because he wears many hats, but it’s also because he does such a good job of wearing those hats. This means that the new has a lot to do, after almost ten years of previous sport.

Make me an instant expert: what do I need to know?

Range Rover hasn't spoiled a successful formula when it comes to styling the Sport.  It couldn't be anything else.

Provided

Range Rover hasn’t spoiled a successful formula when it comes to styling the Sport. It couldn’t be anything else.

Land Rover designers kept the overall look of the new Sport generationally similar to the outgoing model. It has a slightly sloping roofline extending into a small spoiler with a rising beltline, which gives the profile a look that’s quite sporty… quite fun.

READ MORE:
* Road test report: Range Rover Velar P400e R-Dynamic SE
* Electrified Jags to get SVR treatment
* Land Rover details new plug-in hybrids
* Five plug-in hybrid luxury SUVs

Thin lights wrap around each end, the facades using 1.3 million “micromirrors” that can mask/block up to sixteen different objects and provide up to 500 meters of clear visibility. The taillights use a new technology called surface LEDs (like OLED TVs) which are super bright and super red.

The Sport gets a V8 again, indicated by the quad exhausts, this time provided by BMW.

Provided

The Sport gets a V8 again, indicated by the quad exhausts, this time provided by BMW.

The door handles retract like other modern Range Rovers to reduce wind resistance and make the SUV look sleeker, also helped by smaller door mirrors and hidden D-pillars.

Inside is a 13.1-inch floating infotainment haptic display with the latest Pivi Pro system and Alexa connectivity, a Meridian sound system that can be specified to have a 1430-watt stereo played through 29 speakers. speakers, a rear-view mirror that can switch to a camera feed from the rear (useful if you’re driving away and your stuff is blocking the rear-view mirror), and a 13.7-inch digital instrument panel behind the steering wheel.

The seats are made from a special vegan leather that feels great to the touch (and, especially on this trip, doesn’t get a hundred degrees hot when left in the sun), and JLR’s designers have ditched the second screen in favor of a handful of haptic buttons, two climate control dials and a volume knob.

Meanwhile, under the skin is a chassis that’s 35% stiffer than before, with dynamic air suspension, dual-volume springs and dual-valve dampers to reduce pitch and roll. You also get Land Rover’s superb four-wheel-drive system with Terrain Response drive modes and all-wheel steering for tighter low-speed cornering and better high-speed stability. It has a maximum gradient of 45 degrees, with a wading depth of 900mm and a towing capacity of 3,500kg.

Powertrain options include two plug-in hybrids (the P440e and P510e), both using JLR’s turbocharged inline-six with an electric motor and a 38.2kWh battery, large enough for over 100km of driving. electric autonomy. There will also be two mild-hybrid diesel options, the D300 and D350, while those looking for the biggest and best will look to the P530 First Edition V8, now using BMW’s 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8.

Where did you drive him?

The first leg of the two-day Spanish tour.

Provided

The first leg of the two-day Spanish tour.

We headed to Spain to experience the new Range Rover Sport on and off-road, the two-day driving experience designed to highlight the SUV’s many strengths.

And, long story short, it’s still a brilliant vehicle. Owners of the old model will not be at all surprised to hear this.

We started on the outskirts of Madrid at a place called Soto Mozanaque, ready for the usual hour-long deluge of information before a car ride. But this time, due to the Queen’s passing the night before and JLR’s close proximity to the Royal Family, we spent around 20 minutes sniffing coffee and listening to a brief eulogy from the Queen before being introduced. in our vehicles.

Our first pass was in the V8 model, initially only available as a First Edition.

Provided

Our first pass was in the V8 model, initially only available as a First Edition.

I was partnered with a lovely Spanish guy, who happily pointed out a bunch of interesting bits about the surroundings on the ride. Immediately, the Sport is very comfortable to drive. Road noise is reduced in part with microphones in each wheel arch to counteract road noise and special noise reduction speakers in the headrests, while the chassis in Auto mode almost absorbs any imperfections in the vehicle. macadam.

Engine noise is also kept to a minimum, which is an interesting decision given that the first model we drove was the first Limited Edition, the only one with a V8 engine.

It’s probably the only model that doesn’t really make sense. It’s the most expensive, starting at $260,000, but barely the most powerful and barely noisier than the six-cylinder. A V8 should be a bit noisy, right? And if it’s the top-of-the-line model, it really should stand above the rest of the pack.

Rear-wheel steering makes the Sport feel about a third shorter than it actually is.

Provided

Rear-wheel steering makes the Sport feel about a third shorter than it actually is.

But on the other hand, a Range Rover would have to be a bit quiet to keep that air of luxury, which sort of defeats half the point of a V8 engine…

Make no mistake, it’s still a great engine and, despite displacing almost three tons of mass, it goes pretty strong. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it sell like hotcakes.

The eight-speed transmission is good when cruising but could be a bit sluggish. Even in Sport with the rest of the car in Dynamic mode, it took a second or two to shift. That rang true for every model I drove, unfortunately, but the plug-in hybrid masked it the best thanks to the electric motor. You can paddle the gears yourself, which helps some.

This 360-degree camera feed runs at high speed, which is slightly awkward...

Provided

This 360-degree camera feed runs at high speed, which is slightly awkward…

Compared to the Range Rover, the steering is noticeably sharper and the chassis more responsive, which makes sense given the Sport suffix. It certainly looked two meters wide, but if you’re looking at sporty SUVs, you should be prepared for that.

If you can handle the width (and the weight, which breaks three tons when you include people and fuel), the Sport is a surprisingly deft thing when pushed. You’ll eventually experience understeer, which is just the physics of looking up, but the rear-wheel steering that artificially shortens the wheelbase really helps. It feels like you’re riding something about two-thirds the size.

Unsurprisingly, the Sport retains a healthy degree of off-road prowess. I mean, it’s a Land Rover, after all. You get low gear, hill descent control, 360-degree cameras, plenty of 4×4 drive modes and a new off-road cruise control system, all of which work very well. We bounced around some pretty punishing Spanish scenery in the V8 and it was absolutely fine.

Off-road work in the Sport is incredibly easy thanks to air suspension and a superb all-wheel-drive system.

Provided

Off-road work in the Sport is incredibly easy thanks to air suspension and a superb all-wheel-drive system.

Better than a Defender? Probably not, but the Sport is supposed to be the best all-rounder, and chances are it’ll be better off-road than you.

What is the choice of the range?

Over the course of two days, I drove three models – the aforementioned V8, the P400 inline-six that we won’t get here, and the P510e plug-in hybrid that we’ll get. I haven’t had a chance to drive the diesels which is good considering the D300 is the same powertrain as the Defender and the D350 is the same powertrain as the previous generation Range Rover Sport and of the new Range Rover.

The best of the bunch is the P510e plug-in hybrid.

Provided

The best of the bunch is the P510e plug-in hybrid.

Unfortunately, my favorite was the P400. It felt better balanced, with the lighter motor up front and no battery to lug around, but still sounded great with plenty of growl.

But, to be truly relevant to New Zealand, the best was the P510e. The electric torque is excellent for getting out of corners, you can drive in full-EV mode for over 100km, and like the P400 it has a nice sound (although a little too contrived in the cabin). Plus, it’s only about a second slower at 60 mph than the V8, and the small power difference between the two probably won’t be noticed by most. I’m interested in trying the P440e though…

There’s definitely room for an SVR version, probably using the V8, with a louder exhaust note, a power bump and (hopefully) a faster transmission too, but JLR wouldn’t confirm that. What’s confirmed is an all-electric version, slated for 2024, which will likely become the top of the range and the one to buy. We will have to wait and see.

The Range Rover Sport is a pretty good jack-of-all-trades, but it's not exactly a bargain.

Provided

The Range Rover Sport is a pretty good jack-of-all-trades, but it’s not exactly a bargain.

Why would I buy it?

You want a Range Rover product that somehow exists in its own segment, can do just about anything you can think of, and is waiting for a plug-in hybrid option to break the 100km mark of usable range. You are also happy to spend at least $200,000.

Why wouldn’t I buy it?

Your wish list leans more towards off-road (get a Defender, spend less) or ultra-luxury (get a Range Rover, spend more), or the BMW X5 M/Audi RS Q7 winks at you. eye across the room. You could also expect this purely electric version.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.