By Breda Corrigan
The new Range Rover Sport effortlessly combines assertive and instinctive on-road performance with trademark Range Rover refinement, progressive design sophistication and cutting-edge connectivity. Now in its third generation, the new Range Rover Sport is the most desirable, advanced and dynamically capable yet.
Powerful Powertrain Options.
A suite of powerful and efficient powertrains are available in the new ‘Sport’ and include a six-cylinder extended range Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV), a potent new V8 and mild hybrid six-cylinder petrol and diesel Ingenium engines, with a fully-electric (EV) version due to be introduced in 2024. Buyers can choose from S, SE, HSE and Autobiography specifications, with a First Edition available throughout the first year of production featuring a specially curated specification. All new Range Rover Sport models are fitted with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission and Intelligent All-Wheel Drive, which intuitively anticipates where traction is required, efficiently engaging to provide the most effective progress in all conditions, while optimising efficiency. The new Range Rover Sport introduces more advanced chassis technologies than ever before, providing a comprehensive dynamic toolkit for the most engaging and dynamically capable driving experience. The inherent stiffness and strength of the flexible mixed-metal architecture (MLA-Flex) – which provides up to 35 per cent higher torsional stiffness than the previous Range Rover Sport – lays the foundations for this technology. It harmoniously works with a suite of systems governed by the Integrated Chassis Control system – all specially tuned for new Range Rover Sport. Like the larger Range Rover, the mid-size Range Rover Sport has received a full redesign that includes fresh styling, a revamped cabin and pioneering tech. However, the ‘Sport’ isn’t much smaller than the full-sized Range Rover. In fact, the wheelbase is identical between the two cars, and this means that it genuinely offers rear seat occupants excellent levels of space, as well as sumptuous comfort.
The sophisticated exterior is unmistakably Range Rover Sport with taut surfacing, a dynamic stance and instantly recognisable profile, perfectly accentuated by stealth-like detailing and muscular proportions – giving the impression the vehicle is poised and ready for any adventure. Dramatic proportions accentuate the Range Rover Sport’s distinctive character, with short overhangs, an assertive front-end and steeply raked glazing at the front and back. These trademark elements provide a strong and imposing road presence that communicate power and performance. The clean lines of the exterior are enhanced by beautifully executed flush glazing and door handles, a hidden waist rail finisher and a laser-welded roof for a precise, technical and sophisticated appearance.
Commanding Driving Position.
The new Range Rover Sport’s reductive design extends to its all-new interior, which features the trademark Range Rover Command Driving Position, the latest technologies and the finest materials, which combine for a compelling balance of sartorial elegance and visceral desire. The cockpit-like cabin sets the tone for the dynamic driving experience, providing excellent visibility while simultaneously cocooning the driver with a high, sloping centre console and intuitive technologies. No matter where you sit in the Range Rover Sport, you are guaranteed to enjoy luxurious surroundings, and all occupants will enjoy a good view out courtesy of big windows. The front seats are multi-adjustable, and provide excellent support, with the rear seats also providing pure opulence for passengers. The dashboard is dominated by two screens – a 17-inch one for the driver information and a 11.3-inch infotainment display – both of which have razor-sharp clarity, and are intuitive to use. You do still get a pair of climate control dials underneath the infotainment display, so that the driver doesn’t have to take their eyes off the road in order to adjust the temperature.
My Eiger Grey metallic Range Rover Sport 3.0-litre PHEV SE Dynamic test car looked stunning from every angle, and its comprehensive list of standard equipment was enhanced even further by optional features that included 22” Satin Dark Grey alloy wheels (Style 5127), reduced section alloy spare wheel, loadspace floor partition, SV bespoke carpet mats, ‘ClearSight’ interior rear-view mirror, heated steering wheel, heated screen, heated washer jets, sliding panoramic roof, privacy glass, and a Head-Up Display. The punchy and superbly-refined 3.0-litre 6-cylinder petrol engine works in conjunction with the electric motor to produce a combined power output of 440PS, along with 620Nm of torque. This incredible hybrid combination means that a 0-100km/h sprint can be completed in as little as 5.8-seconds. Moving off from a standstill, you feel an immediate rush of power, but it is virtually impossible to distinguish when the hybrid system is switching between electric and petrol power, and it can run all the way up to motorway speeds without activating the petrol engine at all. The electric steering has a nice weight to it and the traction management system does a marvellous job of making you feel like you are driving on dry surfaces even when you are definitely not. The supreme suspension set-up in the Range Rover Sport allows for a remarkably smooth ride quality even when driving on rutted road surfaces, and it never feels cumbersome or unstable. With 835-litres of cargo space behind the rear seats, and up to 1,860-litres available when the rear seats are folded, the Range Rover Sport provides terrific practicality for families and leisure thrill-seekers alike.
Verdict & Pricing.
The new Range Rover Sport PHEV is an ultra-premium SUV in every respect. It is very luxurious, suitably fuel-efficient, powerful, tech-laden, practical and highly capable both on and off-road. Pricing starts at €111,400 (ex-works), with my test car specification (including optional features listed above) priced at €123,785.