Even sportier Sport

The Range Rover Sport has been a remarkable success for the Jaguar Land Rover Group since its launch in 2005,  and that success would certainly appear to be continuing for the all-new model, which has already seen 100 orders placed before it even goes on sale locally. 

In fact the demand is so strong that if you were thinking of buying a Range Rover Sport now, then you will be in for a bit of a wait. Early to mid-2014 for the V6 diesels, late 2014 for the petrol V8 and, if you really want the diesel V8, you will have to be patient until 2015.  This is a global situation, and a stark reminder of Land Rover’s (and Jaguar’s) remarkable turnaround in fortunes since its take-over by the Tata Group. The Solihull plant is running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and a new Chinese manufacturing plant is due to come online next year which should help ease demand, but not for a while.  For now though, those lucky few who got in early, and those happy to wait, have a choice of several different models with four different engines. 

The TDV6 SE kicks off the range at $125,000 and comes packing the 190kW/600Nm version of the 3-litre V6 diesel engine hooked up to JLR’s eight-speed automatic transmission. The TDV6 will scamper to 100km/h from a standing start in 7.6 seconds, and sucks back diesel at the rate of 7.3L/100km.  The TDV6 gets 19 inch alloy wheels as standard, as well as a whole slew of other things, including 14-way leather-wrapped seats, a 380W, eight-speaker audio system, a five-inch TFT instrument cluster, air suspension, an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen, Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming, satellite navigation, voice control, climate control air conditioning, keyless start, front and rear parking sensors, a rear camera, xenon headlights and Land Rover’s Terrain Response off-road system. 

The SDV6 HSE drops in next at $140,000, and adds the more powerful 215kW/600Nm 3-litre diesel V6 to the mix, along with adaptive dynamics, blind spot monitoring, keyless entry, Oxford leather seats, paddle shifters on the steering wheel, configurable interior mood lighting, aluminium tread plates, 20 inch alloy wheels, a twin speed transfer box and the upgraded Terrain Response 2 with an automatic mode. The SDV6 will hit the 100km/h mark in 7.2 seconds, while returning fuel consumption figures of 7.5L/100km. 

Also for $155,000 is the SDV8 HSE, with the mighty 4.4-litre 250kW/700Nm diesel V8 engine, also hooked up to the eight-speed auto. The SDV8 gets an active locking rear diff, torque vectoring and, of course, the diesel V8, but otherwise carries the same specification as the SDV6 HSE. It will tear up the 0-100 time in 6.9 seconds and drink diesel at the rate of 8.7L/100km.  Next up is the $160,000 SDV8 HSE Dynamic that adds 21 inch alloy wheels, 20 inch red Brembo brake calipers, a TFT virtual instrument cluster, Dynamic Response and a number of trim differences to HSE spec.  Lastly comes the heavy-hitter, the 5-litre Supercharged HSE Dynamic. Packing the angry 375kW/625Nm supercharged petrol V8 hooked up to the eight-speed auto, the big guy drops in at an equally mighty $170,000 and gets the same spec as the SDV8 HSE Dynamic.  A spectacular 0-100km/h time of just 5.3 seconds is part of the package, as well as a thirst of 13.8L/100km. 

An “Autobiography” package is available on both the S/C V8 and the SDV6 and adds $15,000 to the price of both, while bringing a different style of 21 inch alloy wheel, an 825W Meridian sound system, wood trim, aluminium tread plates and a number of other interior extras.  All models of Range Rover Sport boast an impressive 283mm of ground clearance and a wading depth of 850mm, making it a formidable off-road warrior, despite the company’s focus on on-road dynamics this time around.  While it is clearly not a small sports car, the Sport is able handle the winding stuff with an absolutely staggering amount of ability. Using the massive torque of all the engines, but particularly the S/C V8, to haul it out of corners is the best approach, as hammering on the impressive brakes late quickly reminds you that it weighs 2,310kg for the petrol V8, the heaviest of the range.

Hammering it out of corners also has the advantage of the massive, intoxicatingly-savage bellow of the supercharged V8... oh yes...  While it boasts quite remarkable handling, the sheer comfort of the Sport is also quite staggering. The level of spec, even in SDV6 guise (we only drove the SDV6 and S/C V8 at the launch) is deeply impressive, and the seats are just wonderful.   Even when being thrown around quite aggressively the Sport remains composed, unflustered and comfortable. Just like a Range Rover should.

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