These are the key features that define Land Rover’s new Range Rover Sport SUV
Land Rover unveiled the new Range Rover Sport this week at a pre-recorded launch event. It’s a sleek, eye-catching design with no aesthetic surprises, with plenty of the subtly muscular bulges that have become Gerry McGovern’s trademark. Nothing weird and nothing out of place… apart from Gerry’s sneakers.
Apparently the Sport has “a balance between sartorial restraint and emotionally charged driver engagement”. Sounds lovely – if only we knew what it meant.
But we’re less interested in the glitzy launch and more in the features that underpin this car’s attempt to be the Performance SUV. The Range Rover Sport shares the MLA-flex underpinnings of the last full-size Range Rover launched a few months ago, so some of the latest Sport’s innovations derive from its big brother. In the Sport, the emphasis is on balance and handling rather than absolute luxury. Here’s what sets it apart…
1. Rear wheel steering
It was a main feature of the full-size Range Rover, allowing for better stability at high speeds as well as greater maneuverability in tight spaces. In cruise, the rear wheels pivot (automatically) in the same direction as the front up to 7.3 degrees; in car parks they point in the opposite direction, giving a turning radius of 11 meters. A fat V8.
2. V8 full of fat and fuel-efficient hybrids
The P530 is a new 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol, which sprints to 60mph in 4.3 seconds if you engage ‘dynamic launch’. The 530 hp (523 hp) V8 is significantly higher than the 400 that powered the sporty P400 HST straight-six version of the outgoing model, and its torque is 750 Nm (553 lb-ft) from 1,800 to 4,600 rpm. /min.
Petrol and diesel mild-hybrid options are also available. There are also Range Rover Sports P400e and P515e plug-in hybrids which generate just 18g of exhaust CO2 per kilometer and apparently last a gallon of petrol for up to 341 miles – yes, three hundred and forty-one!
Expect an even fruitier SVR version, in addition to an all-electric version in 2024.
Incidentally, the 2.5-ton twin-turbo V8 weighs more than 300 kg less than the PHEV P515e, whose batteries are probably responsible for its relative weight.
3. A minimalist interior
Land Rover prefers the word “reductionist” to minimalist, but whatever. It’s an extremely clean, modern and premium design inside, thanks to lots of smooth, glossy surfaces, chrome details, hardly any physical buttons and a large 13.1-inch haptic touchscreen at its center.
And it should be quiet too, thanks in part to noise cancellation. Built-in microphones at each wheel feed up to 29 Meridian speakers inside, including some built into the head restraints, dampening road noise.
4. These lamps…
Gone are the big lights of the previous model, in favor of those striking flashes.
Like those of its predecessor, the rear lights of the new Range Rover Sport mimic the headlights. The rear number plate is now lower allowing the RANGE ROVER script to sit between the lights. There is also an echo of the distinctive silhouette that characterizes the rear of its big brother.
Up front, digital LED headlights can maintain full beam without dazzling other road users, thanks to 1.3 million ‘micro-mirror devices’ that automatically filter out oncoming traffic.
5. The ‘Stormer Handling Pack’
Do you remember the Range Stormer concept, which revealed the idea for the first Range Rover Sport in 2004? It’s from that big prototype that this new set of performance-focused extras takes its name. The system includes Dynamic Response Pro – adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars, powered by 48-volt electrical circuits and capable of applying 1400 Nm of torque to each axle. It works in combination with an electronic active differential to distribute the torque. There’s also Torque Vectoring by Braking, which applies the brakes to the inside wheel in tight corners.
More handling magic comes in the form of the dynamic air suspension, made possible by new “switchable volume air springs”. In Land Rover’s words, “the intelligent system improves suspension bandwidth by varying the pressure in the airbags to deliver traditional Range Rover comfort with the dynamic handling expected of Range Rover Sport”.
We will put the 2022 Range Rover Sport through its paces as soon as possible. Keep an eye out for a muddy LRO verdict in the magazine…