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Road Test: Land Rover Range Rover Sport 3.0 SDV6 HSE 5dr Auto (2011-2012)

£56,225 when new
Road test score

Car specifications

Brake horsepower
Fuel consumption
0–62 mph
Insurance Group


We’ve tested the V8 petrol Supercharged one before, because that’s the best engine to test the Sport part of the name. But mostly you’ll be seeing V6 diesels.

It’s a good engine. Just mussing along at the speed of the traffic, it’s remarkably quiet, riding its well-fed torque curve, emitting nothing more audible than a muffled throat-clearing. Of course, if you’ve just stepped out of that 510bhp V8 petrol, then having ‘just’ 292 horses of diesel V6 does rather put a stop to majestic spontaneous overtakes. But plan ahead, and you’ll get past. On the motorway in eighth gear, it burbles along, as civilised as you like, with every 1,000rpm giving you 40mph.

Compared with the regular Range Rover, the Sport also has a snugger driving position and more embracing seats. That alone is enough to make you feel more connected to the machine, and thus the road.

The steering has a wonderful accuracy and progression; although it’s a monster vehicle, you feel confident to press on, however narrow the road. The chassis systems (torque vectoring by brakes, active anti-roll, active centre and rear diffs, adaptive damping) give the thing surprising agility and also a little throttle-adjustability. So it’s niftier than an actual Range Rover.

Unfortunately, its ride is definitely nibblier than the expensive brother, even in the dampers’ Comfort mode. So a price is exacted for the Sport label.

There’s another price. For the best sporty cornering, you need to get one with Dynamic in the model name. Without it, you lose all the chassis gadgetry mentioned above. I haven’t driven it, but candidly the engineers say the non-Dynamic doesn’t only corner less well, but rides less well as its fixed anti-roll bars and dampers have to be stiffer in their straight-line state.

And yet the £5,000 Dynamic pack also brings the two-range transfer ‘box the non-Dynamic lacks. If you want a road-spec Sport, surely you don’t want the extra weight of that? The quoted weights for the two models are the same at from 2,115kg, but I’d guess that extra chassis and transmission hardware adds 200kg. And that’s before you add other options: tow bar, glass roof, seven seats… there’s 300kg more. Suddenly, you’ve given that fine V6 engine half a tonne more to pull.

What do you think?

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