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Review: Range Rover Sport 3.0 V6

Driven March 2014

Review: Range Rover Sport 3.0 V6

The new Range Rover Sport picks up nicely from where its predecessor left off – and brings a lot more character to the mix. Of course, for the new Sport, it was never going to be easy filling the shoes of the extremely popular outgoing model, arguably one of the best-sellers for Land Rover in recent memory. But it looks as if the British marque has done a brilliant job of continuing the tradition.

To begin with, like the earlier model, this is not a Discovery disguised as a Range Rover Sport. Ditching the steel ladder frame chassis for an altered all-new aluminium platform borrowed from the bigger Rangie, this is indeed a Range Rover at heart. And the new platform means the Sport now weighs 360 kilos less than before and gets 178mm of extra floor space. Still, the scale rests at just above two tons and you do feel all that heft once you’re on the move. More on that in a bit.

First, the styling. Since the Sport sits between the outrageously stylish Evoque and the more sophisticated Rangie in the LR portfolio, it gets the best of both worlds. Any angle you look at it from, the new RR Sport looks stunning. With such admirable design templates, it would be very difficult not to arrive at a design as please-all as this. The two-bar mesh grille, slender headlamps, tapering roofline, and steeply angled rear glass, are all reminiscent of the Evoque. The bolder character lines and bulky exterior point directly at the bigger Rangie. It’s very modern, the styling. As is the cabin.

Identical to the bigger Range Rover, the Sport is luxurious and has a tasteful design complemented by high-quality materials. Compared to the bigger Rangie, this one gets an altered centre console, a smaller steering wheel and a gear lever instead of a knob. The 14-way adjustable seats upfront are extremely comfortable, and it’s quite easy to find the best driving position.

Sadly, it misses out on massage seats, front and back. Although legroom at the back is better than it was in the outgoing model, it feels a shade smaller than the Range Rover. Plus, the seats can only be adjusted manually. But it’s not cramped, and you’ll want to be behind the wheel more than in any of the other seats because this Sport comes with extremely potent mechanicals.

You can choose from either a 3.0-litre V6 diesel or a 5.0-litre V8 petrol, both with a ZF-sourced 8-speed transmission. The Sport you see on these pages is the base oil-burner. Its 2,993cc diesel pumps out 288bhp and a shattering 600Nm of pulling power, which makes it extremely easy and great fun to drive, both, inside the city and on the highway.

The Sport, as the name suggests, is impressive taking off from standstill – given that it weighs well over two tons, its 7.54sec time to 0-100kph is respectable. It’s not lightning quick – which the 503bhp supercharged petrol is – but then, the diesel promises to do everything that you would want your `1.1 crore premium luxury SUV to do on the road.

Power is available almost instantaneously and the 8-speed ’box complements the diesel motor really well – whether you’re driving back home from work or on that weekend trip to the mountains. It’s quite responsive in urban driving conditions and the in-gear figures back those claims. Overtaking on the highway is easy work and the motor doesn’t feel strained even beyond 150kph.

Despite its weight, the Sport handles quite well. Attacking corners, there’s a hint of body roll but then it stays under control, and not once do you feel nervous pushing this full-size SUV to its limits. There’s plenty of screeching from the tyres, though. But you’ll ignore that because the Sport impresses you with its excellent stick-to-the-line capabilities and road manners.

The electronic steering wheel is one of the better ones we’ve seen. Weightier than the Rangie’s, the Sport’s system feels fantastic and responds really well to input. However, push harder into a corner and the electronics step in midway like a strict maths teacher, cutting into the power when it senses things may be getting out of hand.

We’re not too sure how many owners will willingly take this expensive possession off the road, but if and when they do, the abundance of electronics and off-roading tools will make sure the Sport finds its way back to civilisation without breaking a sweat.

There are two off-roading packages – one suited to tarmac, and a more advanced one for use when you plan to leave tarmac behind. The diesel variant comes with LR’s Terrain Response System and Torsen-based 4x4 system as standard, but misses the low-range transfer case, which is part of its greater off-road pack. The petrol Sport, however, gets LR’s full off-roading menu.

The Sport’s air suspension works well on and off the road, and there isn’t much to whine about. On the road, the Sport keeps its occupants in utmost comfort. It’s not as comfortable as its bigger brother, but it isn’t too far off that mark either. It doesn’t mind being driven over the broken patches that our cities are filled with, and it certainly won’t complain doing high speeds on the highway. Ride quality, in any condition, is fantastic. It absorbs most irregularities and will simply glide over the bigger ones without letting its passengers know of their severity.

For the record, the Sport 3.0 V6 will return 7.9kpl in the city and 10.6kpl on the highway. Not bad. Priced at over a crore, this Range Rover Sport isn’t exactly cheap. The all-aluminium body is a factor in that pricing and we’ll just have to live with it. Unless Tata Motors decides to make the Rangie in India, which is highly unlikely, prices will be on the higher side. However, for that money, you get an SUV that’s very close to being a full-blown Rangie
for nearly half the price.

The Sport looks fantastic, has a luxurious cabin, build quality is top notch, it’s loaded with creature comforts and safety features, and promises to carry you on and off the road in great comfort. It’s sporty enough to pin your back into the seat and handles really well for a big SUV. Then there’s the brand’s exotic image – exclusivity and luxury have never been on the cheap end of the market.

The numbers

2,993, V6, diesel, 288bhp, 600Nm, 8A, 0-100kph in 7.54s, 30-50kph: 1.72s, 50-70kph: 1.87s, 80-0kph: 2.46s/26.94m, city kpl: 7.9, highway kpl: 10.6, top speed: 210kph, 2,115kg, Rs 1.1 crore, ex-Mumbai (pre-octroi)

The verdict

Sporty, comfortable, great on the road and off it. Lighter and more spacious than before, but the price tag is on the steeper side.



Devesh Shobha

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