The new Range Rover Sport was developed under two banners, according to the company. “More Range Rover and more Sport” was the conclusion from customer research, and the aim of the engineering team was to create “the fastest, most agile, most responsive Land Rover ever”, with “a huge breadth of ability”.
So although the all-new Range Rover Sport shares the same PLA aluminium platform as the new Range Rover, some 75 per cent of the components – calculated by part numbers – are different from the flagship car’s.
This, say the engineers, is primarily because “no expense was spared” on redesigning the suspension system and lowering the car to create an SUV with class-leading handling.
The Sport structure also accommodates a third row of seats – a layout that Land Rover refers to as 5+2 – in which a pair of seats is fitted into the boot and can be electrically retracted with minimal intrusion on the load space.
Extensive work went into fitting the hinges, rear stop light and rear wiper mechanism into the upper part of the tailgate while still retaining headroom for the rear occupants. Indeed, Land Rover claims that there is 910mm of headroom in the very rear of the Sport, which is more than in a Mercedes E-class. What’s more, the rearmost seats can also also be packaged into the upcoming hybrid version of the Sport.
Despite the Sport’s hardcore intentions, Land Rover also claims class-leading refinement, both in terms of low-speed road noise on a coarse surface and motorway-speed wind noise.
Luxury refinements include a head-up display (which is a first for a Land Rover), very wide-angle rear parking radar (for use when reversing out of a parking space) and an “industry-first” wading depth sensor, which uses sensors in the mirrors to indicate the depth of the water when wading. Indeed, the Sport has a wading depth of 850mm – a level just under the door handles.
Here are 13 more things you might not know about the new Range Rover Sport:
1. Jaguar Land Rover’s Premium Lightweight Architecture (PLA) is rooted in a common crash and floor structure. The upper structure, suspension mounting points and wheel wells differ between SUVs and future Jaguar road cars.
2. The structure is made from 50 per cent recycled aluminium and is held together with 3722 rivets of between 2mm and 10mm in size, plus 161 metres of adhesives.
3. Its strut towers are made from cast aluminium and the structure is mostly pressed.
4. The side body pressing is claimed to be the largest of any production car.
5. Land Rover will release a smartphone app to communicate with the Sport; it can locate the vehicle, check fuel and range, log journeys for company expenses (and download them as an Excel file) and provide security alerts.
6. A great deal of effort went into the rear packaging in order to fit a pair of compact, electrically folding seats with good headroom and without losing luggage space or hampering the fitment of an underfloor hybrid battery.
7. Despite claims for the Sport’s performance on the track, it is still capable of serious off-roading, with 546mm of wheel articulation – more than the Volkswagen Touareg (467mm) and Mercedes-Benz GL (329mm).
8. The 5.0-litre supercharged Sport gets 380mm discs at the front and 365mm discs at the rear. The brakes can be activated on an individual basis as part of the torque vectoring system, reducing understeer.
9. The engine is set well back between the aluminium crash legs, improving handling.
10. The substantial active anti-roll bars are activated by electric motors.
11. A transfer case sends power from the transmission forward to the front wheels, boosting traction.
12. There’s a choice of two all-wheel drive systems, with either a single-speed or two-speed centre differential. The two-speed, multi-plate centre diff offers low range, 1:1 and 2.93:1, and it can split torque 100 per cent front to rear; standard split is 50/50. If you don’t need low range, the new single-speed torsen centre differential provides a standard torque split of 42/58 front to rear. The maximum torque split is 62/78 front to rear.
13. The Dynamic Active Locking Differential limits rear wheel slip and is “30 per cent faster”. It is part of the torque vectoring system, which works with individual brakes to improve turn-in and reduce understeer.