We do not know how many of the owners of the new Range Rover Sport will have the courage to engage it off the asphalt and not just on two fingers of snow or a white country road. As wealthy as they may be, they may have some hesitation in bringing a car worth over 100,000 euros – the price list starts at 95,300 euros but also exceeds 150,000 – in the wildest nature. However, it would be a shame, because the capabilities of the new British SUV would leave them stunned. The air suspension increases ground clearance by up to 28cm and wading capability to 90cm, while the lockable center differential and active rear differential maximize each wheel traction. All this without counting the reduced gears, the four-wheel steering and an off-road specific electronics that currently has no rivals. The latest innovations are the cruise control dedicated to off-road vehicles, the perimeter cameras that help evaluate the dimensions and the navigator that monitors the following kilometers, configuring the car to best cover them.
The evolutions that the Range Sport is capable of are almost incredible, also because they are performed with exquisitely road tires. And it is precisely on the road that the British SUV shows the other side of its character, that of a luxury GT that does not fall within this definition only because of its size and center of gravity. From a dynamic point of view, the Sport tries to hide in every way its 4.95 meters in length and the tonnage that exceeds two tons. To help it is the Integrated Chassis Control system which, in addition to the aforementioned systems, includes active roll control. As for styling, there is no doubt that this is a Range Rover, but the addition of the word Sport has made the design more gritty and sharper than its big sister. The design, in any case, starts from a reductive approach, also allowed by the front headlights which have reduced dimensions thanks to the digital LED technology, with which the light beam adapts according to the situations.
The choice of engines is so wide – there is only one gearbox, namely the 8-speed ZF with torque converter – that there could be some overlap: we start with the two plug-in hybrids based on the 3-liter 6-cylinder that deliver 440 or 510 hp and that 113 km of electric mileage. Then there are the mild hybrid turbodiesel – 250, 300 and 350 hp – the always mild hybrid turbochargers (360 and 400 hp) and the 530 hp bi-turbo V8 of the sportier version, which is no longer the glorious 5-liter with volumetric supercharger but a more modern 4.4-liter bi-turbo supplied by BMW. Finally, for the 100% electric variant we will have to wait until 2024. Of all the powertrains that we had the opportunity to try during the presentation in the streets around Madrid, we particularly appreciated the more powerful hybrid version on tap, which has nothing to do with it. to envy the V8; on the contrary, thanks to the immediate thrust of the electric motor it is even more diligent in responding to the throttle commands.
Inside the passenger compartment there is an even greater search for quality than on the previous generation, although the availability of space is not so proportional to the external dimensions, but this is a problem that afflicts all SUVs equipped with specialized all-wheel drive, i whose mechanical parts take up space in the underbody, without forgetting the spare wheel of normal size. The front seats have 22 adjustments and the functions of heating, ventilation and massage. Comfort is total thanks to active noise cancellation through the audio system with the Meridian audio system that has up to twenty-nine speakers, including four in the headrests that create customized sound zones. The only rustle that is perceived at high speed is that generated by the large mirrors but it is still possible to converse in a low voice. Then there are the Over-the-air updates and the infotainment system with the high-resolution 13.1-inch curved touchscreen, positioned in the center of the dashboard, which integrates Amazon Alexa.
Range Rover Sport, the card
What is that: the third generation of the second largest SUV in the Range Rover range
Dimensions: length 4.95 meters, width 2.05, height 1.88, step 3.00
Trunk: from 835 to 1,860 liters
Motor: 6-cylinder in-line turbocharged + electric motor, 510 HP at 5,500 rpm and 700 Nm at 1,500 rpm
Exchange: 8-speed automatic with torque converter and reduced
Traction: whole wheat
Benefits: comfort, quality of life on board, performance, style
Defects: total mass, supercar price
Production: Solihull, Great Britain
PricesRange Rover Sport starts at € 95,300, with plug-in hybrid versions rising to at least € 109,400