When Land Rover launched the 2nd generation of the Range Rover Sport in 2013, it was six months after the all-new Range Rover had come out. Yet the two have been given a facelift at the same time. And while I have already shared my review of the facelifted Range Rover with you all, I am now going to tell you what’s new on the updated Range Rover Sport. But I shall do that with a delicious twist. You see along with the facelift, Land Rover has also decided to bring us the updated Range Rover Sport SVR. Yes, the mad and potent version of the regular car. We have driven it in the past, and I have come away from that experience – every time – with a big wide smile on my face. So when I heard the car was facelifted I figured, well of course it is – since its non-evil twin has been too. But then came the news that it was also getting more power. Now they had my full attention. What a way to celebrate the Queen’s 92nd eh? Well it was a party of some kind I can promise you!
So off I went with great expectations and knowing it was going to be a fun day. We had stayed overnight at the rather charming Dormy House hotel in the Cotswolds, where I had a rather quaint room called the attic – because that’s what it was! Converted into a delightful and modern room. Okay, that’s done. Now on to the car! The sight outside was grand – two long rows of the new Range Rover Sport – Velocity Blue on the right and Madagascar Orange on the left. And yes – surprise surprise! I chose to go with the Orange one, and not the Blue! Press that start stop button and the engine roars to life. And that smile begins to appear again.
This car now gets the same top-rated powerplant that the Jaguar F-Type SVR now has. Now before I proceed, a quick detail about SVO. Jaguar Land Rover set up SVO – or Special Vehicle Operations in 2014, with an aim to make either more powerful, more capable or more luxurious variants of the two marque’s existing cars. The first product was the F-Type SVR, and the Range Rover Sport SVR followed it. Since then we have had the Discovery SVX and Range Rover SV Coupé amongst others.
So let’s get back to the car at hand then. As I was saying, the Range Rover Sport gets that 5-litre supercharged V8 petrol engine that now makes a staggering 567 bhp and 700 Nm of peak torque! And boy can that powerplant sing! The SVR treatment gives it 50 more horses and 75 Nm more torque than the regular Range Rover Sport 5.0 V8. The gearbox is the 8-Speed torque convertor of course. A few minutes out and two things strike you immediately about the updated car. It is now a tad surer of itself – there’s poise with that drama if you will.
The Range Rover Sport was always a very dynamic car and takes to sporty driving with ease.
The front end feels more sorted, and the engine is even more refined than before. The car’s Terrain Response system has the Dynamic programme of course, and I don’t think I stayed out of it for long! The new Sport SVR zipped me across to Fen End a little too soon, and there it was time to turn it up even more. Fen End houses SVO’s brand new facility – where the specialist team of engineers not only carries out the R&D required to produce a new SVO model, but also builds them separately. And the facility is located at an old airfield, so gets a really nice 2.9 kilometre long test track, complete with embankments and high-speed straights. So basically, quite perfect to test the RR Sport SVR! Or at least I thought so!
The Range Rover Sport was always a very dynamic car and takes to sporty driving with ease. The update is lither and feels more agile, and on the SVR that goes up several notches. As I said before the car now feels more sure, and so it delivers in heaps when pushed near its limits. The chassis is very well balanced, and the car’s steering is quite precise. This allows you to launch it in and out of corners with a fair amount of confidence. It doesn’t give you the impression of being a large SUV, and almost gets to a smaller car characteristic on the track. Top speed is 280 kmph, and all of this while staying a true Land Rover. That is to say, it can still go off-road and into the water like its non SVR sibling. In fact, given that kind of clearance and a relatively high centre of gravity, its remarkable how sporty the car remains. An absolute hoot, I can tell you, and all the while sounding fantastic!
The car’s looking even sexier than before, by the way. And some of that is part of the facelift on the model line in general, while some is specific to the Sport SVR. First the common bits. New front grille – like the Range Rover the slats are gone and it’s a uniform all-over grille pattern. Looks good finished in glossy black for the Sport SVR. That grille adds to the prowling stance the Sport always had, but is accentuated by the slimmer new headlights. You now get Pixel-laser LED lights by the way. The new lithe styling on the bumper also complements the faster look of the face.
There is a hybrid version of the regular Range Rover Sport now, and that gets its charging point hidden behind the grille panel on the right side, just behind the Land Rover badge. At the back, the slim treatment continues into the redesigned taillights and bumper, and you get the rectangular twin exhaust at the base. The two-tone roof offering is still very much there. Inside the Range Rover Sport now gets the Velar’s Touch Pro Duo infotainment system, just like in the facelifted Range Rover. That means two 10″ screens in the central console that let you control (and customise how and what you control) everything. 14 power points, including a regular plug like in your house, an Activity Key, and a virtual cluster make the refreshed cabin look very modern indeed.
Now the stuff that’s exclusive to the Sport SVR. Firstly there has been an attempt to reduce weight. The hood is now made of carbon fibre, and you have the option to leave the central section exposed and not body coloured. And yes leaving paint off that bit costs you extra! The SVR was always fun, and now with the tweaks and weight reduction – is even better. It would seem that Land Rover has married the mad with a good dose of method; and made the car look sexier too! Now lucky for me, I managed to sneak in some extra lap time before getting the car out on the open road again.
So having had the chance to truly test the car on country lanes, highway, and the track, I can truly say the Range Rover Sport SVR is indeed a much improved car. Expect the car to launch in India very soon, since bookings have opened already. And yes – with it Land Rover will no doubt also commence sales of the facelifted Range Rover Sport, if not immediately, then within a few weeks of this launch for sure.