After giving its Range Rover Sport SUV a makeover for 2014, the folks at Land Rover sat back and wondered: What can we do next?
They found their answer by producing a new high-powered SVR version of the Range Rover Sport that is billed as the highest performing Land Rover ever, accelerating from a standing start to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and giving new emphasis to the “Sport” in the model’s name.
Such performance comes from a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine that has been tuned for an extra 40 horsepower to 550 and an additional 41pound-feet of torque to 502 over the standard V8 in the Autobiography and Supercharged editions. That engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission featuring a Sport mode and paddle shifters for manual gear selection if you prefer.
The new SVR trim also gets a specially tuned four-wheel-drive chassis and design touches exclusive to the model.
All that moves the Range Rover Sport into six figures with an MSRP hitting $110,475 before the $925 charge for destination and delivery is tacked on.
A bit too rich?
Fear not. You can get the Supercharged Sport with the Autobiography package (16-way power adjustable front seats with memory and adjustable lumbar support, blind-spot monitoring and reverse traffic detection, surround view camera, adaptive HID headlights, three-zone climate control, and other goodies) for $92,495 and lose just a half-second on your zero-to-60 mph time, according to the company.
Willing to sacrifice even more time on your start?
Six-cylinder versions of the Range Rover Sport send 340 hp and 332 lb.-ft. of torque available to all wheels and a zero-to-60 dash time of 6.9 seconds, which we’re guessing here would satisfy about 99 percent of its customers. MSRP for both SE and HSE V6s are well below $70,000.
What you lose in zero-to-60 time with the V6, of course, you make up for in fuel savings. The smaller engine rates out at 17 miles-per-gallon of premium fuel in the city and 22 highway compared to 14/19 for the V8.
But lest we forget, this is a luxury SUV, not a luxury high-performance sports car, and the Range Rover Sport delivers there as well. The spacious interior offers leather seating surfaces for five passengers with optional third-row seats available for children and lots of storage space. A cooler box is a feature on the center console.
The seats are comfortable, and both the ones in front offer armrest support that can be raised or lowered. Materials are off the highest grade, and the cabin design is eye-pleasing as well as practical.
The Range Rover Sport also has Land Rover’s traditional off-road capability and with proper equipment can tow up to 7,716 pounds. All models are equipped with full-time four-wheel drive, hill descent control, and hill start assist. Higher models get a two-speed transfer case for serious off-road excursions. It’s optional on SE and HSE models.
The Supercharged models get Land Rover’s Terrain Response 2 system that adds an automatic setting to the customary five mode settings of general, grass/gravel/snow, mud ruts, sand and rock crawl so your vehicle is always in the proper mode depending on conditions.
If there is a downside to the Range Rover Sport it is in the operation of many of the infotainment systems. It has all the latest gimmicks, including Bluetooth, navigation, satellite and HD radio, smartphone apps, as standard. A surround-view camera and blind spot monitoring are nice extras.
But much of this technology is operated via a touchscreen that can be, well, touchy. Some functions involve an extra step to get to the desired point, and response to voice commands is erratic at best. “Sorry” seemed to be the common response when we tried to get the radio to change to various stations.
Operation of the gear shifter also has been complicated a bit as well, requiring a button to be depressed to shift from neutral to driver or reverse. At times you may think you have shifted into drive only to find the transmission has remained in neutral, which can be upsetting if you are trying to break into traffic and get nothing in response but a roar when you depress the accelerator.
Idiosyncrasies like that can be annoying at times and detract from the Range Rover Sport’s overall appeal, even to the point where they could be a game breaker when shopping in the segment. Perhaps over time — many reviewers typically have only a week or so in a particular vehicle — one can get used to them, but if you don’t, by that time you probably past the point of doing much about them.
For a look at the Range Rover Sport and some specs, check out the accompanying slide show.