What is it?
This is the all-new Range Rover Sport, which goes on sale in the autumn. Autocar has driven a near-production version powered by the range-topping supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine, which develops 504bhp. The company claims it is the ”fastest, most agile and most responsive” model ever developed by Land Rover.
The key phrase for the Sport project was ‘breadth of ability’ - meaning that it should be able to both lap the German Nürburgring race circuit and still have serious off-roading ability. It was a task summarised by Land Rover engineers as ”both having two feet of suspension travel and 'staggering' times around the Nürburgring”.
To that end, much of the new Sport has been designed from scratch. Although it shares the same aluminium architecture as the recently launched flagship Range Rover, company engineers say that 75 per cent (measured by part numbers) of the components that go into the new Range Rover are unique.
Much of the (“no-expense spared”) re-design work has gone into changing the aluminium, air-sprung, suspension system which gets, for example, a bigger motor on the active anti-roll system, redesigned front suspension legs, re-valved steering and active dampers that take readings ”more than 500 times per second”.
Engineers say that the Sport’s new ‘Dynamic Mode’ much reduces body roll compared to the previous model. It also gets a torque vectoring effect via individual wheel braking - which kills off understeer before it begins to build up. A new Dynamic Active Locking Differential - 30 per cent quicker than before - is also fitted. The steering is also the quickest ever specified by the company.