Range Rover Sport

More Agility, More Magnificence

The all new Range Rover Sport debuted notably when I was invited by Jaguar Land Rover to the 2013 New York International Auto Show. Daniel Craig drove the 2014 Range Rover Sport through the streets of midtown Manhattan, delivering it as a live reveal when he hit the famous James Bond masquerade at Skylight in Moynihan Station in New York City. Now the thing I did in person was to drive it in Cheltenham, UK.

Driving Impressions
I tested both engines of the Range Rover Sport both on road and off road. At the heart of this beast is two supercharged powertrains pulled straightforwardly from the Jaguar and Land Rover kin - the strong 340hp 3.0 liter V6 or the insane 510hp 5.0 liter V8. Both are backed by an 8-speed automatic. Wanna know which one was more fun?

We spent the better part of two days in the Welsh hills and English river beds, letting Terrain Response's Auto mode do all of the work some of the time, and opting for its individual modes (Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts, Sand and Rock Crawl) as we lumbered all the way through the countryside.

The new 3.0 liter supercharged V6 is an assertive-sounding locomotive at full throttle, with an energetic grumble that restrains quickly as the Sport changes into higher gears, back into a more tranquil part of the powerband.

It's really the 5.0 liter supercharged V8 you want!

The Sport's stock and trade are some of the same air suspension and electric-steering bits as in the Range Rover, but that flagship's setup is deliberately set for a more relaxed feel. The Sport's most neutral state, when its ride height is set to normal via a console-mounted switch, and its Terrain Response system dialed into street driving, still yields quicker steering responses with more deliberate counterweight and a much calmer ride than the first-gen Sport.

Exterior
The all-new Range Rover Sport has been designed to capture the distinctive DNA of its predecessor, but with a bold evolution that places it at the heart of the three-model Range Rover portfolio, between the flagship Range Rover and the Range Rover Evoque vehicles. With its 'faster' windshield angle, streamlined profile and sloping roofline, the new Range Rover Sport is 8% more aerodynamic than the previous model and achieves a drag figure of Cd 0.34.

New interpretations of classic Range Rover Sport design cues include the signature clamshell hood, floating roof and side fender vents. The vehicle also features bold new versions of the powerful wheel arch design, horizontal body feature lines and distinctive rocker moldings - all are key elements of the model's strong design heritage. While retaining the powerful Range Rover Sport character, the front end has a modern, streamlined appearance, with its slimmer lights, rearward sloping grille and sculpted corners.

Design details emphasize the new, more dynamic and contemporary character of the Range Rover Sport. The side fender vents have a more dynamic, sloping treatment and are matched by twin vents in the hood. The established Range Rover Sport two-bar theme is reflected in the twin strakes on the fender vents, the two-bar front grille and the twin lines in the tail lamp designs.

Near-flush side glass and a premium gloss black finish on the pillars accentuate the Range Rover floating roof design - which can be highlighted with contrast roof colors - while also emphasizing the streamlined body. Brembo brake calipers finished in red, and a Black Package, which removes all brightwork from the exterior, are also available.

At the front, the large outboard air intakes and bold trapezoidal shapes housing the central bumper beam and skid plate convey high-performance and high-capability. At the rear, a skid plate flanked by large twin exhaust outlets repeats the trapezoidal theme.

The headlight clusters use distinctive new LED signature designs, with the slimmer lights creating an aggressive, technical appearance. A new compact design for the real lamp clusters uses LED technology. The main tail and stop lamps echo the headlamps' distinctive design language. Both front and rear lamps flow round into the shoulders of the body with the distinctive tapering blade design featured on the other Range Rover vehicles.

Interior
The interior has a sophisticated and modern appearance, incorporating distinctive Range Rover Sport design cues and providing the driver with a luxurious and sporting cockpit. For the new model, the strong, architectural forms of the design have been enhanced by a cleaner, purer surface treatment, beautifully executed using premium materials.

The centerpiece of the cabin is the bold intersection between the instrument panel's strong horizontal elements and the center stack's vertical lines. The cockpit's dynamic character is enhanced by the faster angle of the center stack. Its satin chrome pillars flow from the instrument panel through into the rear cabin, and the aluminum accents flow from the center console into the dashboard fascia.

The center console is mounted higher than before, positioning the controls closer to the driver and creating a cosseting feel for the front occupants. The smaller-diameter, thicker-rimmed steering wheel, vertical gear shifter and seats with generous side bolsters support the sporting ambience.

The front and rear seats feature a sculpted design with enhanced padding to the front and individualized seating in the second row. Increased rear seat comfort is provided by improved rear legroom (nearly an additional inch of knee room) and shoulder room, plus split rear seats and the option of powered third row seats. The third row is designed for occasional use and power-folds flat into the floor to preserve cargo versatility.

The new Range Rover Sport is crafted using the highest quality materials, with carefully selected colors and textures to enhance the model's unique blend of luxury with a distinctive sporting character. The use of modern finishes and veneers gives the cabin a dynamic and contemporary feel.

More luxurious soft-touch surfaces are used for key touch points around the cabin, such as the dashboard fascia mid-section. Authentic metal details include the satin chrome pillars each side of the center stack and the choice of distinctive aluminum finish on the center console, fascia caps and door trim.

The focus on quality and traditional craftsmanship can be seen in the beautifully tailored twin-needle stitching used to finish the sumptuous leather seats and leather-wrapped interior surfaces. Range Rover designers specify all aspects of the stitching, from the length and direction of the stitches to the spin, thickness and material of the thread, and even the size and shape of the needle.

For maximum personalization, the new Range Rover Sport offers individualized choices for customers. An expanded choice of special features includes color-themed interiors with multi-toned designs and a range of alloy wheels from 19- to 22-inches.

Selecting a 'Dynamic' pack on Supercharged and Autobiography models adds exclusive trim options and performance features, among them a glossy black grille and exterior details, body-colored lower bumpers and side sills, unique interior color themes and finishes, plus an increased top speed of 155 mph (250kph) 2 for the supercharged 5 liter, special 21- or 22-inch alloy wheels, and red Brembo brake calipers.

Drivetrains
The 510hp 5 liter V8 supercharged engine retains its place at the pinnacle of the Range Rover Sport line up. With significant reserves of power and torque, the scale of the performance on offer is reflected in the 0-100 kph time of 5.1 seconds (0.8 second faster than the previous model). The stunning performance is accompanied by a sporting soundtrack generated by a specially tuned exhaust system and sound symposer on the intake system. The V8 has a compact all-aluminum design, with low levels of internal friction. The engine is managed by a new Bosch engine management system. High-pressure direct injection uses a centrally mounted, multi-hole, spray-guided injection system. Efficiency is further enhanced by a cam torque actuated, dual independent variable camshaft timing system. A sixth-generation, twin vortex system supercharger is fitted, which offers superior thermodynamic efficiency and extremely refined noise levels.

A new 340hp 3 liter V6 engine delivers generous torque throughout the rev range, delivering confident performance with outstanding refinement with improved efficiency. As a 90-degree engine based on the Land Rover 5 liter V8, the V6 features an innovative balance weight system to ensure exceptionally smooth and refined performance. With a weight reduction of about 363 kgs, the new 340hp supercharged V6 Range Rover Sport is quicker than the previous model with its 375hp 5 liter V8, achieving the dash from 0-100 kph in 7 seconds, a reduction of 0.2 seconds. Enthusiastic drivers will also be pleased with a sporting engine note, emphasized by using a sound symposer on the intake system.

Verdict
My old man owns a MY2006 so it's been something normal to see a RR within the family. Let me give it straight to you: it can match the best of the Germans on the road, but as soon as the pavement ends, the battle becomes almost one-sided. At least it offers the extra two rows of seats and when it comes to carrying the family. The Range Rover Sport looks to be more triumphant than its predecessor. With no doubts, the waiting list to acquire it will be for months!

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