What is it?
Like its Discovery sister car, the 2010 Range Rover Sport gets a major makeover. The interior has been completely re-designed (with a big step-up in perceived quality) as has the front-end. The chassis has also been substantially re-worked.
The most significant change is under the bonnet with the introduction of the new 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 diesel, which offers 29 percent more power and 36 percent more torque than the outgoing 2.7-litre unit.
The overall aim, Land Rover says, is to make the car ‘More sporty and more sophisticated’. Aside from some of the more crass stylistic details, the company has achieved its aim.
What’s it like?
The new diesel unit is only just shy of delivering the same wall of torque as the new supercharged petrol V8 engine and it does it with tremendous refinement.
Even though this car still weighs 2.5 tonnes unladen, it’s capable of pile-driving progress without disturbing the calm of the cockpit.
This is achieved not just by the sheer wallop of the motor, but also because the dynamic response system and active anti-roll bars do such an exceptional job of keeping this monster vehicle in check.
Usually, the side-forces built up when the driver accelerates around a bend result in a counter-reaction of body roll when the car straightens up.
Not here. There’s an uncanny delicacy in the way the chassis’ electronics can gather the Sport’s tall body and marshal the shifting weight when it’s driven briskly on winding B-roads.
The new, variable ratio, steering also has a new found accuracy, biting immediate off the straight-ahead, making it easy to place the car on the narrowest of roads.
What really appeals is the car’s extraordinary breadth of ability. It will happily ford rivers and clamber up unwalkable mud tracks, then run straight out into the tarmac, to deliver a genuine luxury car experience.
There’s a certain arrogance about the Range Rover Sport, but it has much to be arrogant about.
Should I buy one?
This is a polished update of an extraordinarily capable vehicle. Probably no other luxury car can touch the sense of wellbeing delivered from the front seat of the Range Rover Sport.
Add to that the impressive ride and handling – thanks the air suspension and Dynamics Response system – and the very refined and punchy diesel and this has to be regarded as compelling luxury vehicle.
However, we could live without the blingy exterior details and have to acknowledge that it still weighs 2.5 tonnes. An aesthetically toned-down version would be welcome.