From £48,925
A car others love to hate, but it's an extraordinary driving experience

Our Verdict

Range Rover Sport 2005-2013

Charming and likeable luxury SUV offers polished Land Rover handling for a price

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19 August 2009

What is it?

This is the new, thoroughly re-engineered version of probably the most controversial model ever made by Land Rover.

As well as the redesigned, better-quality interior and redesigned front end, the most important changes lie in the drivetrain and chassis.

For most buyers the most significant upgrade will be the all-new supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine, which now offers 503bhp and a monster 461lb ft of torque with a claimed combined fuel economy of 19mpg. The six-speed automatic gearbox has been updated and there’s also the option of wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

The Terrain Response set-up has been upgraded to include a new, sixth setting called Dynamic Response. This uses an adaptive damping system, in conjunction with the air suspension, which can make calculations about the road and driving conditions 500 times per second. This model also gets an updated Brembo braking system.

According to Land Rover, the new supercharged Range Rover Sport has lapped the Nurburgring (on road tyres and in the dry) in just 8min 49sec.

What’s it like?

This really doesn’t feel like a 2.5-tonne SUV. It’s extremely well balanced, tidy, controlled and contained, even when pressing on.

The real appeal of this range-topping Range Rover is the supercar-standard engine. Under the hard acceleration of a tricky overtaking situation, the new V8 is extremely refined. Only a background hum is emitted from the engine bay, adding to the turbine-like sensations.

The Dynamic Response system, active anti-roll bars and variable-ratio steering keep this giant in check to a degree that drivers could once not have been hoped for.

The side forces built up through cornering are controlled and then dispersed as the driver pulls back onto the straight. Even the ride is good on the 20in wheels. Overall, there’s a great delicacy in the way the chassis’ electronic systems work together when it’s driven briskly on winding B-roads.

The new, variable-ratio steering also has the kind of accuracy you never thought would be achievable in a car capable of hard-core off-roading.

As with the diesel-powered Sport, what is really appealing is the car’s extraordinary breadth of ability.

It will cross deep rivers and clamber up otherwise unwalkable mud tracks, but can then act either like a luxury car or a very rapid road car, depending on the driver’s mood.

I tried a full-bore 0-100-0mph sprint on a closed track and managed a time of just under 19 seconds. The new V8 is significantly quicker at both accelerating and stopping than the outgoing model.

Should I buy one?

This is a car others love to hate. Indeed, it was the subject of a Greenpeace-led invasion of Land Rover’s Solihull factory.

However, it also delivers the most extraordinary driving experience. Most of the time you can just bowl along, elbows perched on the door and centre tunnel, revelling in the V8’s huge potential. Occasionally, you can open the taps and really fly.

And there’s no other car, not even the Range Rover itself, that offers such a sublimely relaxing driving position.

If you look past the Premiership-inspired bling and experience the V8 Sport, you’ll have to come to the conclusion that it is one of the most remarkable - if not politically correct - cars to come out of the UK.

 

Join the debate

Comments
71

20 August 2009

Will go down very well out here with the Sheiks and will a good export for JLR. Will only cost about 20 quid to fill it up here too . Cant see many people having one in the UK though as it will be well over a hundred quid to fill up and second hand deprecaition will be horrendous , shame as it looks like a really capable car.

20 August 2009

So does this knock the X5 and X6 off the top of their "best-handing SUV" perch?

20 August 2009

[quote Old Toad]Cant see many people having one in the UK though as it will be well over a hundred quid to fill up and second hand deprecaition will be horrendous[/quote]

I don't think the depreciation will be horrendous actually. Look at the old one. You're hard pressed to find one below £30k which isn't bad considering the oldest ones are nearly 5 years old.

This car is awesome and the Nurburgring time demolishes the 4x4-hater argument that they're pointless for the road.

20 August 2009

[quote Old Toad]Cant see many people having one in the UK though as it will be well over a hundred quid to fill up and second hand deprecaition will be horrendous[/quote]

I don't think the depreciation will be horrendous actually. Look at the old one. You're hard pressed to find one below £30k which isn't bad considering the oldest ones are nearly 5 years old.

This car is awesome and the Nurburgring time demolishes the 4x4-hater argument that they're pointless for the road.

20 August 2009

[quote Steelydan]I don't think the depreciation will be horrendous actually. Look at the old one. You're hard pressed to find one below £30k which isn't bad considering the oldest ones are nearly 5 years old.[/quote]

Depreciation on the RR Sport as a whole isn't bad compared to the Range Rover, but It certainly aint good, and the Supercharged versions are particualrly bad as despite the huge premium for the supercharged version, they are worth little more than the standard diesel version come sale time.

This car's problem isn't and has never been the ability of the car itself, the problem is the type of people that buy them.

20 August 2009

[quote Orangewheels]This car's problem isn't and has never been the ability of the car itself, the problem is the type of people that buy them.[/quote]

What problem is that?

20 August 2009

[quote Steelydan]What problem is that?
[/quote]

The obnoxious twats, drug dealers and footballers who drive them.

Also, what is the point of a Nordschleife time for a Range Rover? I can appreciate they develope the car for road use more than the valleys, but a track?

Competance executes, character inspires

20 August 2009

[quote adam2853]The obnoxious twats, drug dealers and footballers who drive them.[/quote]

Ridiculous. Not worth even debating.

[quote adam2853]Also, what is the point of a Nordschleife time for a Range Rover? I can appreciate they develope the car for road use more than the valleys, but a track?[/quote]

To demonstrate that it is an all rounder. Supreme off road (try it in an X5 and see where you end up) and truly fast on the road as this time at the track proves.

20 August 2009

YAWN @ obamabeach/horseandcart/acarjlrbs/vwrectumlicker

Usual excrement from a serial JLR hater

Global Warming.. My Rs

20 August 2009

[quote acarjlrbs]

first, factual (wilful) mistakes:

0-62mph (0-100km/h) = 6.2 s not 5.9 s.

[/quote]

Yes. It does 0-60 in 5.9s.

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