If the Range Rover Sport’s performance is to be understood, its power must be viewed in the context of its weight. Even with the Supercharged petrol Sport, the car's power-to-weight ratio is barely better than that of a Golf GTi. What the Golf cannot offer, however, is the sheer majesty of 461lb ft of torque persuading a 2.5-tonne block of metal to hit 60mph just 5.9sec. The Sport bludgeons its way through the air with real conviction, if not quite the ludicrous velocity of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo.
More impressive, perhaps, is the way the engine interacts with the ZF automatic 'box. There are normal, sports and semi-auto modes, but we concluded it’s best to select Drive and leave the decision making to the intuitive software. The diesel model received a heavy update in 2011 that brought with it a new eight-speed auto, which helps to provide yet more reason to opt for the punchy and more economical, if less extravagantly rapid TDV6, while the V8 kept its older six-speed ’box.
These are all the reasons we would say you’d be better off going for the diesel, despite the temptation of truly gratuitous pace from the V8. The TDV6 isn’t simply the practical option, it’s also a joy to drive, being refined and seamlessly torquey.