Our five favorite about the sportiest Land Rover.
Yes, the new Range Rover Sport is yet another luxury SUV, but we're glad we got to spend time in its presence.
At first glance, it doesn't appear to be all that special. You would be forgiven for thinking that it's merely an evolution of the outgoing Sport's design, but Land Rover's design team put a lot of effort into the styling.
For the first time, the Sport was designed and developed alongside the big-body Range Rover to ensure that each car has its own unique look, feel, and character.
We love the short overhangs, wide stance, and muscular proportions. They contrast beautifully with the thin, elegant LED lights, minimal design lines, and flush exterior. It's one of those cars you'll look at one last time before going inside the house.
"Our latest range Rover Sport embraces fully our modernist approach of vehicle design whilst amplifying its unquestionable sporting and confident character," said Prof Gerry McGovern OBE, Chief Creative Officer, Jaguar Land Rover.
Naturally, Land Rover wants to promote the mild and plug-in hybrid models and their impressive power and fuel consumption. A fully electric Sport will also join the range in 2024, and a blistering SVR will arrive in roughly 12 months.
For now, the fastest model is the P530, which, for the time being, is only available in First Edition trim.
If you own a current SVR, you'd better watch out for the humble P530. It's equipped with a BMW-sourced twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 and has 523 hp and 553 lb-ft on tap. The outgoing SVR's supercharged 5.0-liter V8 produces 575 hp, but only 516 lb-ft of torque.
The BMW engine is a lot more advanced. In the SVR, the full torque output is only available from 3,500 rpm, while maximum power only arrives at 6,000 rpm. The Bimmer engine produces that massive dollop of torque from just 1,800 rpm. And torque matters when you happen to meet up at a set of traffic lights.
Land Rover's outgoing SVR was the fastest Sport, and it took 4.3 seconds to get to 60 mph. The P530 is part of the normal range, and it will hit 60 mph in 4.2 seconds.
The sporty First Edition also has two other tricks up its sleeve. We're pretty confident these features will eventually become part of or optional on more models, but they're model-specific for now.
The first is Dynamic Response Pro, and it works hand-in-hand with the standard air suspension. It controls body lean by using the 48-volt onboard system to control an electronic active roll control system. This system can apply up to 1000 ft-lbs of torque across each axle to keep the body from flopping about like a freshly caught salmon.
Secondly, we have the Stormer Handling Pack. It adds the above-mentioned Dynamic Response Pro, plus all-wheel steering and an active electronic differential with torque vectoring via braking. The active differential allows for even more personal adjustment within the various driving modes.
If these features are part of the regular line-up, imagine what tricks Land Rover is working on for the upcoming SVR.
We were sure that Land Rover would dump the "Twin-Speed Transfer Box" and electronically-activated differentials. In addition to saving weight, there's no reason to include it. Have you ever seen a Sport tackling anything more daunting than a multi-story car park?
The first-generation Porsche Cayenne had locking differentials and low-range gearing, but Porsche dropped it as soon as it could. SUVs like the X5 and GLE never even bothered in the first place. But according to Land Rover, Sport owners demand all of these off-road goodies.
Why? Well, we can only speculate. It's the same sort of attitude as buying a supercar capable of doing 200 mph. The average owner will likely never use that capability, but it's nice to know that it's there. So while you may never try and drive over a mountain, you can tell your mates that the car is more than capable of doing it, and is, therefore, superior to whatever SUV they have parked in the garage.
Apart from the high-quality materials and smart use of contrasting colors, the Sport is equipped with loads of cool tech features.
Almost everything is controlled via the 13.1-inch curved touchscreen running Land Rover's award-winning Pivi Pro software. It controls everything from navigation to media and vehicle settings. Mercifully, Land Rover kept the controls for the climate control separate.
What we like most are the simple touches Land Rover included to make Pivi Pro more pleasing to work with. The system has the ability to learn its owner's habits. You can personalize the home screen, but the Sport will eventually just place the most-used functions on there for easy access. Naturally, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.
The infotainment also has an eSim, which allows the driver to log into their Amazon account without a smartphone. You then use the car as a giant V8-powered Alexa. Alexa is embedded in Pivi Pro and can simply be activated by saying "Alexa" or tapping the Alexa button on the touchscreen.
We have yet to drive the Range Rover Sport, but it will almost certainly be comfortable, compliant, and refined. The existing Sport is all those things.
Thanks to the top-end Meridian Signature Sound System, the new Sport takes refinement to a whole new level. It comes standard with 29 speakers, a new subwoofer, and up to 1,430W of amplifier power. Each of the four main seat headrests has built-in speakers to enhance the experience.
Imagine listening to Bach's Prelude, Cello suite Nr.1 as you cruise along, looking down at the working class plebs.
The Sport also uses the sound system to combat exterior noise. Each wheel arch is equipped with a microphone and an accelerometer to monitor the sounds entering the cabin. Digital processors then calculate the level of noise-canceling sound required to filter this from the cabin and uses the Meridian sound system for that purpose.