By on May 7, 2013

Range-Rover-Sport-Drive

The Range Rover Sport was launched in 2005 and Land Rover has sold 4,00,000 units till date. Evolved from Land Rover’s first concept vehicle, the Range Stormer (showcased in 2004), the first generation Range Rover Sport’s production has been stopped, as the second generation model is all set to go on sale in the next couple of months. Land Rover has announced pricing for the Sport in the UK, which starts at £59,995 for the base trim and goes up to  £74,995 at the top end. The second gen Range Rover Sport is all new and shares only 25% parts with the Range Rover. It uses an all aluminium PLA platform, which results in a weight saving of 420 kgs over its predecessor (when powered by the same engine). Land Rover states the new Range Rover Sport is “the fastest, most agile, most responsive Land Rover ever”. The British company claims a 30% improvement in handling over the first gen model. The new RR Sport does a lap around the Nordschleife in 8:35 minutes, which is fast for a full sized SUV.

We had a chance to drive a Range Rover Sport prototype at Jaguar Land Rover’s Gaydon test track. The vehicle we drove used a gasoline unit, powered by a 5.0-litre Supercharged V8 engine, belting out 510 PS and 625 Nm. This engine is mated to a 8-speed automatic gearbox, with a stick shift instead of the rotary gear knob found on the Range Rover. The reduction in weight is immediately apparent, the Range Rover Sport feels more eager to throttle inputs. The engine sounds sporty (it has active exhaust system) and acceleration is brisk with 240 km/hr coming on the speedo without any fuss. 0 – 100 km/hr takes just 5.3 seconds, impressive. In Dynamic mode, the dials change to red color and the response from the motor is more immediate.

Range-Rover-Sport-Prototype-Drive

Land Rover has given the new Range Rover Sport Torque Vectoring and Active Roll Control, which works fabulously to ensure the vehicle stays planted around corners. The former system sends torque to the wheel with the most grip, thereby adjusting the balance of the car. You can actually feel the torque vectoring system working, preventing understeer with power being transferred from the inside wheel to the outside ones. We turned through corners at speeds in excess of 100 km/hr and the Rangie was thoroughly planted. The steering wheel weighs up well and is immediately different from the standard Range Rover, offering tremendous feedback. High speed stability is excellent too and you never feel you are doing 200 km/hr as the noise insulation is spot on.

The Range Rover Sport will stay true to Land Rover DNA and will offer off-road capabilities which the competition simply can’t match. While we didn’t take the vehicle off-road, we have no doubts how capable it is, since it gets the same off-road systems from the Range Rover. Other features include heads-up display, reverse traffic detection, traffic sign detection, wading sensors, InControl car app, 23 speaker Meridian system with 3D sound stage, etc. The feature list is quite long actually but we will reserve our judgement till we test these systems ourselves.

Range-Rover-Sport-Interior

You sit slightly lower in the Range Rover Sport and the ride quality is slightly on the stiffer side (specially in Dynamic mode). Some bumps do tend to filter into the cabin but overall the ride comfort is still excellent and there is the sense of waft-ability which is associated with its elder sibling. Due to the weight reduction, Land Rover will for the first time offer a 4-cylinder motor in the Range Rover Sport (2.0-litre gasoline mill producing 240 BHP). This would go on sale by the end of the year and will weigh 500 kgs lesser than the first gen model. The mileage has improved due to the reduced girth and the 3.0-litre TDV6 equipped model will return 37 mpg (a 7 mpg improvement).

Range-Rover-Sport-Console

Land Rover has given the Range Rover Sport an option of 7-seats, which they call Secret Seats. The last row of seats are strictly for children and there is no way an adult can squeeze in. These seats are best used on short journeys. Interior quality and finish is top notch with the dashboard taking cues from the Range Rover. The Sport is being targeted as a tourer and thus interior comfort is paramount, the company delivers well in that regard. Our first impressions are extremely positive, the new Range Rover Sport is undeniably a significant leap over its predecessor. The Brits have certainly caused the Germans a reason to worry.

Faisal Ali Khan is the editor of MotorBeam.com, a website covering the automobile industry of India.

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23 Comments on “Range Rover Sport First Drive...”


  • avatar
    carguy

    Ouch – that is one eye-ball searing red interior.

  • avatar

    Looks entirely too much like a Ford product. I’d never be interested anyway so onto the next car: The Chevy Impala!!!

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I don’t think so. The only Ford that looks remotely like any of the new Range Rovers is the Explorer, and that seems more like a happy—and slight—coincidence for Ford than it does a failure on J/LR’s part. Plus, the Explorer’s design elements really don’t work together very harmoniously.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “While we didn’t take the vehicle off-road, we have no doubts how capable it is”

    Considering that it’s wearing 240/40ZR20 size summer tires, I have some big doubts.

    Gordon Bashford and Spen King have got to be spinning in their graves.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    This thing wll be great offroad…pay no attention to the low profile rubber, the ground clearance, the lack of room between the tire and the fender, the fact we never took it offroad, and the review touting its swiftness around a track. I am curious if it can jump a curb at the mall which looks to be the only rough stuff this thing will see.

  • avatar
    jaybird124

    This thing is as capable off-road as the new Ford Explorer. Just drink the kool-aide…

  • avatar
    SomeGuy

    That is the most capable mall crawler I have ever seen!

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Whoa – that is nice. Thanks for the review.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    It’s handsome, except for in one area. I think this new Range Rover Sport looks absolutely ridiculous with those window-triangles on the rear doors in lieu of the tall fixed windows that Land Rover products normally have. The look works for the Evoque, but not nearly so well for the RR Sport. But I guess they had to differentiate this from the full-sized RR somehow…

  • avatar
    deanst

    Sorry, but math illiteracy drives me crazy…….land rover has sold between 150,0000 and 250,000 vehicles in recent years, and the range rover sport constitutes about 25% of the total. The 4,000,000 figure you cite is incorrect.

  • avatar
    Yuppie

    TTAC allow puff pieces? Sorry, Mr. Khan, your review sounds like a longer version of an AutoWeek article.

    • 0 avatar
      rehposolihp

      “Land Rover has given the new Range Rover Sport Torque Vectoring and Active Roll Control, which works fabulously”
      Fabulously is a good adjective, but doesn’t really tell me anything relative to any other car.

      “to ensure the vehicle stays planted around corners. The former system sends torque to the wheel with the most grip, thereby adjusting the balance of the car. You can actually feel the torque vectoring system working, preventing understeer with power being transferred from the inside wheel to the outside ones.”

      I know not everyone is aware of how torque vectoring works – but you make this system sound novel, while it is in fact quite common.

      ” We turned through corners at speeds in excess of 100 km/hr and the Rangie was thoroughly planted.”
      I would hope that it was planted, that is under a lot of freeway offramp entry speeds.

      “The steering wheel weighs up well and is immediately different from the standard Range Rover, offering tremendous feedback.”
      I would have loved a more blow for blow list of differences between this version and the standard rover, but aside from this remark there aren’t any.

      “High speed stability is excellent too and you never feel you are doing 200 km/hr as the noise insulation is spot on.”
      I feel like these are as vague statements as they come…how loud is it? You said the exhaust sounds sporty, but you never have a perception of speed? This seems a bit hard to appreciate without more information.

      “The Range Rover Sport will stay true to Land Rover DNA and will offer off-road capabilities which the competition simply can’t match. While we didn’t take the vehicle off-road, we have no doubts how capable it is, since it gets the same off-road systems from the Range Rover.”

      This seems to be a significant leap of faith…and by the way, who is the royal “We” you keep referring to?

      ” Other features include heads-up display, reverse traffic detection, traffic sign detection, wading sensors, InControl car app, 23 speaker Meridian system with 3D sound stage, etc. The feature list is quite long actually but we will reserve our judgement till we test these systems ourselves.”

      THANK YOU! You didn’t judge these features you didn’t test. Its fine to say “I don’t know,” and it is what you should have said regarding this vehicles off roading abilities.

    • 0 avatar
      Toshi

      Amen. 95% sounded straight from the press packet.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    Faisal, how is this viewed in India? Is this an Indian car or a British car owned by an Indian? Does that make a difference? How well do you see something like this with its known propensity for maintenance headaches do in India?

    • 0 avatar

      Dimwit, its a British car, Tata only owns JLR, they don’t interfere in its functioning. Even in India, its viewed as a British car. Maintenance is not cheap, brake pads can cost in excess of $4000. Also due to higher duties, all JLR vehicles are atleast double than the price in the US. The new Range Rover costs an insane – 500000$ in India, that is Lamborghini Gallardo money (India price).

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    Just look at that pimpin’ bordello-red interior!

    I also respectfully disagree regarding untested off-road capability on standard tires as I remember reading a review of E53 4.6is X5. And they noted that standard tires were not off road capable.


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