The torque converter is tuned for 50 per cent quicker shifts, which Land Rover claims are “shorter, more visceral and audibly crisper” than in the gearbox’s standard application. Gearbox functions include the blipping of the throttle in high-speed downshifts.
Off-road ability is maintained by having permanent four-wheel drive, a two-speed transfer case and an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch in the centre differential.
On-road performance is boosted by a recalibration of the Dynamic Active Rear Locking Differential, which sends torque to the rear wheel with the most traction.
A torque-vectoring differential is imitated by a Torque Vectoring by Braking function, while the Dynamic Stability Control system has been retuned.
The SVR uses a two-stage active exhaust with electronically controlled valves, creating a “racecar-like soundtrack”, according to Land Rover.
The valves in two of the four pipes are closed at low revs and loads, but they open under increased loads and engine speeds of around 3000rpm. A crackle has also been tuned on overrun. The exhaust still works with the Range Rover Sport’s 850mm wading depth.
The chassis has been tuned for improved agility, the SVR featuring air suspension, adaptive dampers and stiffer, lighter components.
Key to the SVR’s cornering ability is an Active Roll Control system, which replaces anti-roll bars with a hydraulic pump on each axle to control body roll and allow the car to “deliver a progressive breakaway on the limit”. Weight has also been added to the variable-ratio electric steering system.
Fitted as standard to the SVR are 21-inch alloys shod with 275/45 R21 tyres. Optional are 22-inch alloys equipped with 295/40 R22 Continental SportContact 5 performance tyres. Stopping power comes from Brembo brakes with six-piston calipers.
The SVR is easily distinguished from other Range Rover Sports by a series of design changes. There’s a new front bumper with larger air intakes, a new grille finish, flared wheel arches, a new rear bumper with integrated diffuser and quad exhaust pipes, and a rear spoiler.
Inside, new and luxuriously trimmed sports seats feature alongside standard aluminium trim and optional carbonfibre trim. Four different colour schemes are offered inside.
The car was first shown off at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2014, where it made several runs up the famous hill climb. At that point it was a heavily camouflaged development car, but still boasted the same engine of the car that is to go on sale. It was also shown as a static display at the 2014 Pebble Beach weekend in 2014.
FIrst ride in the new Range Rover Sport SVR at Land Rover Experience, Eastnor
As a concept, the fastest SUV to lap the Nürburgring is a concerning one. Surely turning a car the size of the Range Rover Sport into a lap record holder is going to have some sort of an adverse effect on everything that makes the Sport so good?
The car that we clambered into was certainly compromised in some way: this was the very one that set the record at the 'Ring, so it was kitted out with a rollcage and bucket seats.