Review: Range Rover Sport V8 Supercharged
We get a quick spin on a pre-production version and it drives like it has the Cayenne in sight
If you are befuddled with the term “pre-production”, well, don’t worry. The only bit of pre-production in this car is that at about 200kph, you will hear the centre armrest in the rear rattling. But proper production versions are already in international showrooms. And India will see the RR Sport by July.
Around Jaguar Land Rover’s oval high-speed track at Gaydon, in Warwickshire, UK, this mostly aluminium baby Range Rover was quite in its element. Helped, surely, by the 5.0-litre engine goaded to make 500bhp with a supercharger.
And in those first five minutes, it’s evident that the new Sport is an extremely capable handler. Not only does it take well to high-speed bends, but around Gaydon’s narrow real-world road circuit, the RR Sport also did a great job of tackling bad roads, slow corners and sharp 90-deg bends around junctions pretty well.
The only thing sporty about the old RR Sport over the standard RR was the smaller size and the more uncomfortable ride. But in the new Sport, you get the feeling of being in a high-riding sportscar rather than an SUV that went sporty with an aftermarket tuner. Apparently, it gets its capability around bends from torque vectoring. So around a bend, it brakes the inside wheels and sends more power to the outside wheels. We couldn’t feel any complicated tech under me. What we did feel a lot was the steering.
In Normal mode, the steering is soft and light. But in Dynamic, the instrument dials glow red, the gearing is more aggressive and the steering substantially sharper. The RR Sport is surely one of the few cars in the world in which the trick suspension buttons actually make a significant difference to the car’s on-road behaviour. The Sport’s entire demeanour tilts towards a lot of sharpness, agility and immediacy over the rest of the Land Rover and Range Rover range.
Two things make this all-new RR Sport a better driver’s car than the older one: The fact that it saves about 420kg over the older one thanks to all the aluminium. And the fact that the old Sport was based on the Land Rover Discovery – a great off-roader, but not very close to sporty. This RR Sport is based on the new Range Rover and its road-going talents are clearly evident. While we couldn’t try its 5+2 seating, what’s smart is that the +2 seats in the last row fold flat into the floor when not needed. Porsche Cayenne, you’ve got something to worry about.
5000cc, V8 supercharged petrol, 503bhp, 625Nm, 8A, AWD, 2310kg, 0-100: 5.3 sec (claimed), top speed: 225kph, Rs 1 crore+ (estimated)
Drives like a worthy alternative to the Porsche Cayenne. Has better off-road cred, 5+2 seating and looks better too.