It’s tempting to pre-judge a new performance car by the number of bespoke mechanicals its maker has lavished on it.
Even the most open-minded petrolhead may be surprised that there’s been no extra-large engine shoehorned into this car and very little special hardware fitted to the standard Sport’s driveline and suspension. But that only serves to show the danger of judging this particular book by anything other than its driving experience.
Instead, SVO’s approach was to be fairly pragmatic in deciding what to replace or simply retune or enhance from the Range Rover Sport. In doing that, it has run a risk. But it has also rather cleverly taken the opportunity to emphasise the engineering integrity of the standard Range Rover Sport by demonstrating – more or less – what it was always capable of.
The SVR is powered by the same ‘AJ133’ supercharged 5.0-litre V8 that goes in the V8 S/C model, albeit here in the more rarefied 542bhp tune with which it powers the Jaguar F-Type R Coupé. Although curiously SVO turned the wick for the F-Type SVR which produces 576bhp.
The driveline is materially unaltered, although new electronic controls for the eight-speed automatic transmission deliver faster shifts, while revised settings for the electronic locking rear differential make for enhanced traction and directional control.