NEW RANGE ROVER SPORT: OFFICIAL
All-new Range Rover Sport officially unveiled in all its aluminium glory
Well, er, we knew what it looked like already...
Coming to a Waitrose car park/school run/etc near you soon, the new Range Rover Sport is a very different beast to its Discovery-derived predecessor. Perhaps despite, rather than because of, those underpinnings, the previous Sport was a surprisingly satisfying steer, offering it a lifeline of respectability in spite of those footballer, TOWIE and yummy mummy stereotypes.
Range Rover has - wisely - avoided a direct confrontation with the likes of the Cayenne and X6 and maintained proper 4x4 cred as its USP. For starters, the engines are the familiar JLR V6 diesel, now with 258hp and 292hp in S spec (up from 211 and 256hp), and the 510hp supercharged petrol V8. A diesel hybrid, a 339hp diesel V8 and - shock horror! - a four-cylinder will follow. The eight-speed ZF auto and start-stop will feature across the range; ditto much-revised air suspension with plenty of new features and, at 260mm front and 272mm rear, claims Land Rover, around 60-70mm more travel than most rivals. That huge weight loss and lighter, more direct electric power steering should transform the driving experience too.
This loses the low-range transfer case, swapping it for a more straightforward single-speed, Torsen diff-based four-wheel drive system. True, it saves 18kg and has a more rear-biased torque split as a default, but it does offer ammunition to those who accuse the Sport of being style over content. The take-up of the 'real' four-wheel drive option - standard on V8s - will be an interesting indication of whether the target audience gives a flying one or not.
Suitably equipped, it'll still do the proper mud-plugging thing of course, the Range Rover's Terrain Response 2 supplying an army of acronyms (automatically or manually selectable) that'll work with the extra 51mm of ground clearance and increased wading depth (an extra 150mm to 850mm) to take you places an X6 or Cayenne would fear to tread. A new intermediate +35mm ride height setting enables higher speeds - 50mph rather than 30mph - in off-road modes.
Prices start at £51,550 for the TDV6, SDV6s from £59,995 and the V8 supercharged from £81,550. Diesels are pricey compared with German rivals - the X6 30d starting at £47,215 and even the thumping Cayenne S Diesel costing a relatively reasonable £58,243. The supercharged Sport fairs better against the £87K Porsche charges for a Cayenne Turbo but the diesels will likely be the core.
On price and performance it's still more green wellies than running shoes then - just trendier, less workmanlike, more luxurious ones. You know, the type with sheepskin liners and a designer badge on the front and rarely seen with a speck of mud on them. The ones certain aspirational Home Counties folk self-consciously sport on the high street where, really, normal footwear would suffice were one not trying to make some sort of statement...