The 626bhp Range Rover Sport SV has landed | Top Gear
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The 626bhp Range Rover Sport SV has landed

And this two and a half tonne SuperSUV features carbon offsetting! And also a massive BMW turbo V8

Published: 30 May 2023

Stealthier, isn’t it? A bit calmer, classier. The Range Rover Sport SV replaces the old SVR. You remember that, of course: often painted bright blue, made a noise like Hercules gargling chilli mouthwash while having his foot stamped on. The uncouth monster has been civilised. The focus has shifted. Subtler styling, more emphasis on performance, handling and tech, ostentation dimmed down.

No dimming for the powertrain. In place of the old 5.0-litre supercharged V8 (deceased due to emissions) comes not an uprated six cylinder hybrid as fitted to other RRSs, but another V8, this one with a pair of turbos and sourced from BMW. Yes, it’s the 4.4-litre as fitted to the biggest, lairiest M cars. 626bhp and 590lb ft (on overboost, the most the 8spd auto can cope with) for 0-62mph in 3.6secs and a 180mph top end.

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That gives it straight-line speed to rival the Lamborghini Urus, Aston Martin DBX and assorted German metal, not least the BMW X5M. There are obviously faster versions of the first two: DBX 707 and Urus Performante. In time maybe we’ll see a further uprated SVR. Otherwise this surely must be the last hurrah for a thundering V8. Range Rover has said we’ll see its first BEV next year. How long after that before we see a BEV SV?

But V8 SV is what we’ve got now. The badge means different things to different Range Rovers, but essentially it’s a refinement and development of the standard car that emphasises its particular strengths. So an SV Range Rover is more luxurious, while this becomes sportier.

To that end, the suspension has been re-engineered. There’s a new subframe and suspension links front and rear, quite a bit of camber on the rear wheels. But the big news is the 6D Dynamics, where the air suspension is supported by hydraulically cross-linked dampers – y’know, like a McLaren 720S. These not only control roll (the SV has no anti-roll bars, saving 8kg), but in a world first, pitch and dive as well. Handy in a 2,560kg high-rise.

25 metres of hydraulic pipes contain fluid at 35bar of pressure, but in hardcore SV mode that increases to 53bar, while heavy cornering can send that to 140bar. Landing from a jump can see that spike to 270bar. Happy landings.

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Compared to a 48V active anti-roll bar capable of applying around 1,500Nm of torque, the hydraulics deliver the equivalent of 2,300Nm in cornering and 4,000Nm under pitch. Range Rover is very proud of the 1.1g the SV can pull on its standard-fit all-season tyres (285-width fronts, 305s at the back). It rides 10mm lower than the standard car, and engaging SV mode (via a chunky button on the steering wheel) drops you another 15mm.

Land Rover talks about agility and control – not something the old 575bhp blunderbuss was famed for. And at 2,560kg, the new SV is clearly no lightweight. However, there are weight-saving measures. Brembo carbon ceramic brakes save 34kg over the standard iron items (the fronts measuring a huge 440mm across), while there’s the option to have 23-inch carbon wheels, saving a further 35.6kg. That’s all weight saved from the crucial unsprung mass.

Both carbon options are standard on the Edition One cars – which will be the first 550 offered in the UK. Those will be offered in three ‘curated’ specs, with the matt Carbon Bronze car you see here being the SV's signature colour.

Outwardly, there’s less to remark on. The SV continues to exemplify Range Rover’s ‘reductive design’ ethos. The bonnet has been re-profiled and is now constructed from carbon fibre, while the front end has been tweaked to exaggerate the width and improve cooling and airflow. The bonnet vents are fake. The hot-vee engine draws air over the top of the turbos and exhausts its heat underneath. At the back there are carbon finishers for the quad exhausts (yes, you can have the SV with a towbar) and the SV logo has been redesigned in ceramic (the bonnet logo is carbon).

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Inwardly there are now illuminated logos in the SV Performance seats, but the biggest news is BASS. The Body And Soul Seat. Although if you read it as massive bass, then you’re not far off. Range Rover has worked with a Californian start-up called Subpac on a system that enables you to feel, as well as hear, your music. Four ice hockey puck-like transducers are fitted in the front seat backs, generating vibrations in time to the music playing on the 29-speaker, 1,430 watt Meridian sound system.

We had a go. Bass shaker systems are nothing new, but this is much more accurate, focused and in tune with the music. It’s also claimed to promote wellness. Of course it is. JLR has worked in conjunction with Coventry University to develop six music tracks to “help enhance New Range Rover Sport SV’s front-seat occupants’ mental and physiological wellbeing”. We’d argue a twin turbo V8 already does that pretty effectively.

Twin turbo V8 SV still seem a bit of a heavy consumer in 2023? It’s worth pointing out emissions and fuel consumption have improved by 15 per cent over the old car (which did largely stomp around at 15mpg). As an alternative, Range Rover has also enhanced the hybrid with the P510e PHEV becoming the P550e, with a 40bhp power boost.

Nevertheless, Range Rover expects uptake of the new SV to be strong – which will potentially add to problems with the firm’s current 200,000-strong order book, with waiting lists for Range Rover and Range Rover Sport extending to nine months or more. Supply chain issues, Range Rover promises, are now a thing of the past, delivery times are coming down.

No word on pricing yet, but given an X5M is now £125,000 and Range Rover is making much of its step upmarket, we’ve got to be looking at around £140,000 for the new Sport SV. But the message here, according to Jamal Hameedi, Director of SVO is “it’s not about excess, it’s about refinement and focus on the technical details”. Well that and enabling a thunderous V8 to live life a little longer.

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