Working at Land Rover Jaguar at the moment must be quite exciting. Comparatively, not so long ago when Land Rover and Jaguar were sitting stagnant with a rather old car pool, while their premium competitors were streaking away in terms of new products and technology. This has been changing fast.
First the British carmaker got the seriously good looking and capable Land Rover Evoque that won multiple awards around the world, and became the fastest selling Land Rover product ever. Then later came the top of the range Range Rover and Jaguar recently brought us the stunning F Type.
There is another substantial arrow in their quiver today, and that is the all new Range Rover Sport. Touted as the ultimate premium sports SUV and the fastest, most agile and responsive Land Rover ever, it has some serious living up to do in a shark tank filled with BMW X5, Mercedes Benz ML, Porsche Cayenne and even Grand Cherokee if you want to shop a bit further down the price range.
I mostly leave styling to you the reader to comment on, but have to say that there is no way you won’t like the styling of the new Range Rover Sport. It looks like a more aggressive version of the Evoque, and is the pick of the SUV bunch at the moment.
The new Sport is eight percent more aerodynamic and just 62mm longer than its predecessor yet, at 4850mm, it is shorter than rival SUVs and this brings greater manoeuvrability and ease of parking without sacrificing interior space that is up by 178mm.
The interior, of course, is jam-packed with high quality detailing and craftsmanship, top quality materials and a healthy dash of sporting character. This is thanks to the likes of the smaller diameter, thicker steering wheel, vertical gear shifter, higher centre console, configurable mood lighting and more generous seat bolsters.
This is almost expected for a range of vehicles that comes in standard trim before you add any optional extras. And just to be clear, we were also told there are 76,608 colour and trim options available – so happy shopping.
The Sport starts off very well with a substantially reduced weight of 420 kilograms over the outgoing model, thanks to being the first vehicle in its segment to feature an advanced, and far more rigid all-aluminium body structure. It is the fastest, most agile and most responsive to first to get into at first sight.
Riding under this you get an all new lightweight aluminium suspension that is fully independent, with wide-spaced double-wishbones at the front and an advanced multi-link layout at the rear that offers class leading travel, articulation and increased ground clearance.
Talking of dynamics, you have the choice of three powerplants like the supercharged 5.0 litre 375 kW V8, a new supercharged 3.0 litre 250 kW V6 and a 215 kW 3.0 litre SDV6 diesel engine with a 250 kW SDV8 diesel to follow. All models run the advanced and electronically controlled ZF 8HP70 eight-speed automatic gearbox.
On the more powerful models you get Adaptive Dynamics featuring continuously variable dampers, and a dedicated Dynamic mode in the Terrain Response system. This is along with a twin-channel Dynamic Response active lean control, a Dynamic Active Rear Locking Differential, and Torque Vectoring by Braking which transfers torque to the outside wheels during cornering to limit understeer and improve handling.
The new Range Rover Sport offers plenty and then some, and I have no doubt it is the fastest, most agile and most responsive Land Rover yet. But is it better on the tar than a BMW X5M or Porsche Cayenne GTS? Your reactions are welcome.