24 Apr Hard Act To Follow
The New Range Rover Sport Road Tested.
Ok here we go.
It has taken me quite a long time to write this review as I rather liked the old Range Rover. It was comfortable with adequate power, looked great from all angles, and was sturdy and prominent on the road.
I was worried this new one would make the old one obsolete, a thing of the past, pushing it to the dark corners of second hand car yards where the dreams of a once great car go to die.
The new Range Rover had big boots to fill if it wants to live up to the name of being a true Range Rover.
Let’s consider firstly its ability to carry out the most fundamental task for which it was designed.
And this might come as a surprise to you that this is not actually picking the kids up from school, but rather off road driving.
The mark of a true Range Rover is its ability to handle the tough stuff with a seaming level of ease, like driving a luxury estate living room through a swamp.
And I am happy to say that the new Rangey does not disappoint. It is filled with all kinds of four wheel driving wizardry making it that much easier to get well and truly off the beaten track.
Starting with the basics, the new Range Rover has been built on a proper Range Rover chassis, meaning it is rigid and durable and able to handle pretty much anything that gets thrown at it.
The vehicle comes standard with a Terrain Response System which analyses the ground you are driving over and adjusts the suspension set up of the car to suit. This means you can drive through relative hell without getting thrown out a side window.
The computer can also disconnect the anti-roll bars to increase wheel articulation. You get the sense when driving this car that whoever designed it really understood the perils one can be faced with while four wheel driving. They really have done everything they can to make it as easy as possible for you.
For example; an optional extra on the Range Rover is a sonar system.
Sonar is usually reserved for extremely complex naval war machines and dolphins, but no longer as you can now request your new Range Rover come fitted with sonar.
The sonar sensors sit in the door mirrors and measure the depth of the water you are driving through. The sensors convert this information to a very pretty 3D display on the in cabin LCD monitor which shows a side on view of the car and the relative depth of water you are driving through. I think that even if you weren’t planning on driving through water at your time of purchase, you would pretty soon seek some out just to play with your sonar system.
So all in all, this car handles brilliantly off-road.
That brings me to the next part of this cars badge. The ‘Sport’ part.
Depending on the engine variant you opt for you are going to have a difference experience while taking this car to the absolute edge of its abilities on a track. The supercharged V8 Petrol is by far the most powerful engine of your options so let’s pick on that as an example of bench mark performance.
And it’s a very quick bench mark.
This car is built on an all-aluminium frame meaning it is getting on for almost half a tonne lighter than the old Range Rover, that coupled with a supercharged V8 putting out 542 horsepowers and 625 lbs/ft of torque is potent mix.
Like strapping an atomic bomb to a luxury hotel room.
Even the smaller capacity V6 engine still shifts when it needs to and is more than adequate for everyday use.
The computer controlled suspension fights body roll which was one of the absolute worst flaws in the old Range Rover Sport. Happy to report that body roll is no longer an issue.
It has an active rear diff like you get in a BMW M6. It even has something called Torque Vectoring which is a fancy little system which decides how much power to send to each of the four wheels and when. This is supercar stuff usually reserved for only the extreme top end of performance vehicles, the McLaren MP4-12C for example has torque vectoring as standard.
All these glorious additions that have appeared in the new Range Rover makes it feel so at home on the road getting thrown into corners. The throttle response is sharp and punchy. You will pretty soon forget that you are driving a big 4×4.
So it is pretty amazing off road, and almost better on road.
That leaves us with its looks,
And they do not disappoint. LED lights adorn the front and rear light clusters. Range Rover have given it a new face and a new back end modernising the look and bringing it into the future of just how good large four wheel drives can look.
Inside, the nature of Range Rover continues to be put on display. Depending on your chosen preference of leather and dash colour, the car can either go from a high end almond leather and walnut wood grain look of luxury, to a black on carbon feel of a total racing sport animal.
So in summary, I needn’t have worried. Although the old Rangey will always be admired as a piece of motoring brilliance, this new one will definitely take some beating and certainly earns its title of being called a Range Rover Sport.
PRICE: Starting at $120,000.
ENGINE VARIANTS: V6 Petrol, V6 Diesel, V6 Hybrid Diesel, V8 Diesel, Supercharged V8 petrol.
POWER: 542 HP, 625 lbs/ft Torque (Supercharged V8).
WHAT WE THINK OF IT: 8.5/10 – Truly a work of automotive brilliance.