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Review: 2018 Range Rover Sport SVR
Super SUVs are fun. Pointless, yes, it’s arguable, but fun nevertheless. Two and a half tonne things that have forgotten the wilderness and instead are aiming for the racetrack are the thing of today. Almost every luxury carmaker is aiming for bull’s eye in this segment. Maserati, Lamborghini, Rolls Royce even is aiming for a piece of pie. And in the segment below, the competition is even fiercer. Audi, Mercedes, BMW have all come up with the RS, AMG and M versions of their brawny machines respectively, and Land Rover hasn’t shied away from participating in the part.
Couple of years back, we drove the RR Sport SVR in India and we were blown with the sound that the V8 puts out. Roars, crackles, boom, it’s got the works working for it. You possibly cannot get bored of that thing – it’s an entertainer of the first grade. And now, with the MY18, Land Rover has upped the game in everything that it had to and something it needn’t have had to worry about. But the core objective of the SVR isn’t to set the Nurburgring track records, but just to umm… have fun. And just for records, this very SVR has the ’ring record for a while, with its 8min 14sec, before Porsche came and blew it with a time of 7min 59sec. Never mind, though.
The RR Sport SVR tips the scale at about 2.6 tonnes, and despite that, there’s ample use of carbon fibre – the hood is now made of carbon, the body gets even more carbon fibre and there’s no dearth of it in the cabin either. Obviously, saving those few grams isn’t the need of the hour, but it’s more for the aesthetics, you see. But all isn’t for just looks. The fog lamps have been moved to better the airflow and there are some scoops at the side that help the brakes breathe better. And yeah, there’s also a redesigned spoiler that helps with the downforce when you’re on a racetrack or an open stretch of the expressway. This SVR now gets optional 22-inch wheels and what you get wrapped around those are tyres that Continental made specially to manage its 2.6-tonnes and an insane amount of horsepower being channelled to the wheels.
Speaking about power, the V8 that powered the earlier car continues to do its duties in this one too. But the good news is that there’s some more power at your disposal now – from 542bhp that the previous one churned out, this one is up to 567 horses and enough torque to move a planet of its orbit, 700Nm to be precise. And that’s enough to get this massive lump of metal from a standstill to 100kph in a mere 4.5 seconds. Watching this SVR do the acceleration is magnificent, and to be behind the wheel while it does that is simply surreal! You’d normally not expect things at the side of the road to go past that quickly when you’re seated that high, but the way this thing does it will blow your mind.
The lads at the SVR division of Land Rover have put in their mind to make thing more than just a drag strip champ. Technologies like torque vectoring, adaptive mad magnetic dampers, updated multi-link suspension and a ZF-sourced eight-speed transmission that changes cogs in half that time that the regular Range Rover Sport does have been employed. And with that, it holds its ground even while you’re going around a long sweeping bend at ridiculous speeds – as we tried our hands at a test track in Coventry.
To keep this SUV, with rather high centre of gravity, stable the suspension has been tuned to be on the stiffer side. And that may be a reason to make you worry when it comes to India at the end of the year. Of course, it isn’t as stiff as you’d expect in a sportscar, but definitely not as accommodating as you’d expect an SUV’s springs to be.
With this update, what Land Rover has managed to do is make a really fast toy go even faster and make it a tad more capable around the mountain road. But like all super SUVs, the objective of owning thing can’t be anything apart from just scaring the neighbours with its bang and crackles from the V8 and the drama that happens when you kick down the throttle. And at Rs 1.7 crore (estimated, ex-showroom), it isn’t a cheap toy to own. With its ground clearance, it’s a more peaceful way to go really fast over broken roads that we have around the country. And yes, it’s also got a low-range transfer case in case you need to wade rivers to take a shortcut to the racetrack.
Specs: 5000cc, supercharged V8, 567bhp, 700Nm, 8A, AWD, 0-100kph: 4.5 seconds, to speed: 260kph, price: Rs 1.7 crore (estimated, ex-showroom)
Verdict: Even louder, even more fun and even faster. It’s the SUV to own if you want heaps of drama and plenty of speed