Domaine Romanée-Conti is synonymous with the finest wines; Rolex is one of the best luxurious time pieces, Clive Christian Imperial Majesty is amongst the best frangances. So, what comes to your mind when you think of Land Rover? A luxury vehicle that go anywhere and even crawl on difficult terrains with ease. Well that’s true. What if we said that you could also drive it for a track day?
The third-generation Range Rover Sport is here and Land Rover claims it to be the fastest SUV that it ever made. The previous-generation was good on the road and also the most adventurous when it came to dirtying its boots. We share our initial driving impressions of this new vehicle, as we drive it on a car testing-track in Gaydon. We get a quick drive to get some initial driving impressions.
Land Rover has been following the new design concept that is seen on its new products, along with its existing styling cues. The Range Rover Sport picks up fashioning nods from its Range Rover siblings as the fascia will remind you of the Evoque and even of the new Range Rover.
The new vehicle has a sleek and contemporaneous appearance despite the new Sport being 62mm longer than its predecessor. The wheelbase has been increased by 178mm improving the cabin space. With its 'faster' windscreen angle, streamlined and skirted silhouette and dynamic sloping roofline, the new Range Rover Sport is 8 percent more aerodynamic than the outgoing vehicle.
The floating roof design has been retained and so is the clamshell bonnet. The rear of the Sport is similar to that of an Evoque. While it was developed alongside the Range Rover and it shares some commonality with its sister vehicle, the all-new Range Rover Sport benefits from 75 percent unique parts, a significant number of which directly influence the way the new Sport looks and feels.
The Range Rover Sport has similar instrument panel to that of its elder sibling— the Range Rover. There are several different cues on the Sport as it has been designed for those with more of an adrenaline rush. The steering wheel is smaller and thicker, the vertical gear lever mean quick shifts with a push with your palm, more bucket-like seats wrap around when you go racer-boy.
The seats are firm for a sporty feel and are bolstered with high quality leather. The rear seats are firm too and the knee-room is more generous than the outgoing version. The Range Rover Sport has the 2 extra seats as an optional fitment, to make it a seven-seater. Tailgate is also electrically operated.
The engines on offer with this Land Rover are the 3.0-litre V6 diesel, 3.0-litre V6 supercharged petrol and the 5.0-litre V8 supercharged petrol. The new Range Rover Sport’s aluminium diet has made it shed 420kgs, when compared to the predecessor. With about half a tonne lighter, we could also see the 2.2-litre I4 diesel power the Range Rover Sport.
We got our hands on the biggest engines on offer, the 5.0-litre V8 supercharged petrol. This has always been a monsterous engine, and with the cut flab, the Range Rover Sport is now the fastest Range Rover ever made. The supercharger ensures there is a boost of thrust at low speeds and pulls till the mid-range, post which the engine’s horses begin their swift journey.
This SUV drives just like a sports car from the word go. The exhaust note always confuses the driver to this being a low-slung track car that can be played around with. On the Land Rover track in Gaydon, we managed to top-out at 250km/hr. The engine had more to go and there were no signs of nervousness from the chassis. This SUV has an electronic speed limit of 250km/hr.
The Sport might have been raised with the new Range Rover, but this third generation Sport is a completely different breed. This can be felt from the moment you get behind the steering wheel. The steering is responsive and weighs up as the vehicle gathers momentum. Land Rover claims the Range Rover Sport to be an excellent off-roader too. We have no doubt in that, however there is some waiting before we get our hands on the Range Rover Sport for a complete review and drive it off the road in difficult terrains.
So far we have been impressed with the capabilities of the Range Rove Sport. However, the only worry we have is the cost, which will shoot up due to the aluminium monocoque. The product as an overall is excellent, now all depends on the pricing. So, the Range Rover Sport a sprint runner for a marathon and at the same time a mountain goat that will climb the mountains? We shall soon get a complete review of the Range Rover Sport in a few months time.