The second generation Range Rover Sport is at once Land Rover's riskiest model to replace, and one of its simplest.
It was a risk because even towards the end of its life it has sold remarkably strongly; it's the easiest because of the arrival the new, all-aluminium Range Rover flagship.
The new Range Rover made huge gains in styling sophistication and weight reduction (up to 420kg), and it soon became obvious that the same would be possible in a slightly smaller, lower and sportier SUV that shared the same up-to-date underpinnings instead of using the tough but less sophisticated twin-rail chassis from a Land Rover Discovery.
When the new Range Rover was introduced, the almighty fanfare emitting from Gaydon must have been loud enough to rattle the factory windows in Solihull. Clearly it is an icon, but had the hullabaloo been dictated solely by a model’s impact on the firm’s sales sheet, the Sport’s launch would likely have been heard on the far side of the moon.
Unlike the Range Rover Evoque, Land Rover didn't come up with the second best-selling Range Rover all on its own. By 2004, the company was desperate to compete with the new Porsche Cayenne, and showed its intent with the Range Stormer concept at the Detroit motor show.