From £95,72510
More power and an intoxicating soundtrack have breathed new life into our love affair with the biggest, baddest Range Rover Sport variant

Our Verdict

Range Rover Sport SVR

JLR’s first ‘special vehicle’ is big on charm, pace, capability and driver engagement. Expertly judged and executed

  • First Drive

    Range Rover Sport SVR 2018 UK review

    More power and an intoxicating soundtrack have breathed new life into our love affair with the biggest, baddest Range Rover Sport variant

What is it?

Well, the Range Rover Sport SVR certainly isn’t an exercise in restraint, that’s for sure. When this, the biggest, baddest Range Rover Sport money can buy, rocked up on the scene back in 2014, it did so with all of the subtlety of a severely hung-over grizzly bear. 

Created by the in-house skunkworks that is Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations division, the SVR was equipped with an apocalyptic supercharged V8 engine, a stance that looked steroid-enhanced and a Nürburgring lap record to boot. It was rabid and exciting and gave off the impression that it would punch you in the face just for looking at it the wrong way. In short, we loved it, and subsequently awarded it the full five-star rating when it was put under the microscope that is the Autocar road test.

Now, it’s been ever-so-slightly refreshed for 2018, and the good news is that it’s even more of a sporting SUV brute than when it was launched four years ago. The headline change here is that the 5.0-litre supercharged V8 - a powerplant that never felt particularly lacking in the performance department - now produces 567bhp at 6000rpm, and 516lb ft from 3500rpm – improvements of 24bhp and 14lb ft respectively.

The chassis has been fettled, too, with Land Rover engineers tweaking the SVR’s active dampers to improve turn-in and grip and better contain body roll. That's no small task when you consider the fact that the SVR tips the scales at 2310kg. A body-coloured carbonfibre bonnet has also been introduced as standard, marginally reducing weight over the front axle. For a not-so-modest £6225, you can opt to leave the carbonfibre exposed, while also adding further carbonfibre panelling around the body. Our test car came equipped as such, and we’ll leave it up to you to decide whether that look is a tasteful one or not. The cabin, meanwhile, gains the latest dual-screen infotainment system first introduced on the smaller Range Rover Velar.

What's it like?

For all of the gawdy exterior details - the black 22in alloys, bright orange paint and lashings of carbonfibre - and performance-orientated underpinnings, the SVR is actually a hugely comfortable and refined beast to drive. Even with the firmer suspension, it rides in the manner you expect a Range Rover should, ironing out ruts and bumps in the road. You sit high up in the firm, but largely supportive, sports seats, with a commanding view of the road and no shortage of interior space. The cabin is plush and luxurious, and every bit as high end as you would expect from a car costing almost £100,000. It’s all very calm, very relaxing and very Range Rover.

Well, that is until you give the throttle pedal a good old prod with your right foot. Doing so is like stepping on a landmine. First, there’s the acceleration, which is staggering. There’s a perverse sense of joy to be gained from sitting in a 2.3-tonne SUV as it accelerates from a standstill to 60mph in 4.3 seconds. Something this big just shouldn’t be able to pick up speed at such an alarming rate.

Then there’s the soundtrack, which dominates the SVR’s driving experience. It starts off as a deep, bassy growl before developing into an unhinged, savage roar as the tachometer needle approaches the 6500rpm redline. It’s intoxicating, antisocial and thoroughly brilliant, and is only made better by the fact that when you lift off, the excess fuel exploding in the exhaust system makes for an overrun that sounds like a dozen muskets being fired in quick succession. It’s excellent stuff.

As impressive is the way in which the SVR can be hustled down a particularly challenging stretch of country road. It’s never going to be as nimble or adjustable as a hot hatchback, but considering its size, it stops, corners and grips tenaciously. Body roll is well contained, and the steering, while not exactly bristling with feel, is healthily weighted and reasonably quick in its gearing. And while you may not be able to maintain quite the same levels of speed through the bends as you would in a smaller, lower sports car, you always have that atomic bomb of an engine to rely on when you exit.

Oh and before we forget, the SVR features Land Rover’s Terrain Response 2 system and four-wheel drive, which means it can still go where the vast majority of performance SUVs can’t. Even the frozen, muddy, rutted tracks of a Cotswold wood weren’t enough to bog down the SVR, even when it was equipped with summer tyres.

Should I buy one?

Let’s be honest, the Range Rover Sport SVR is not a car that has been designed with sensible, rational people in mind. At £99,680 it’s expensive, and with a claimed combined economy figure of just 22.1mpg (which you’d be lucky to achieve in the real world) it drinks fuel with reckless abandon. It emits 294g/km of CO2, so it’ll also cost a small fortune in vehicle excise duty (VED).

But a car such as this is never going to be one you buy with your head. Instead, it has been designed to appeal to the heart, to that inner child who’ll never tire of the explosive performance, or raucous soundtrack.

It’s a very special car, and if you can stomach the steep asking price and the ridiculous fuel bills, chances are you won’t regretting forking out for the SVR. If money were no object, this tester would have one in a heartbeat.

Range Rover Sport SVR

Tested Cotswolds On sale Now Price £99,680 Engine 8 cyls, 4999cc, supercharged, petrol Power 567bhp at 6000rpm Torque 516lb ft at 3500rpm Gearbox 8-spd automatic Kerb weight 2310kg Top speed 174mph 0-60mph 4.3sec Fuel economy 22.1mpg CO2, tax band 294g/km, 37% Rivals Porsche Cayenne Turbo, BMW X5 M, Mercedes-AMG GLE 63

Join the debate

Comments
25

22 March 2018
This is an obscene car to produce in this day and age. I am surprised it got five stars.

23 March 2018

This is why you drive a Volvo.

22 March 2018

Love the mechanicals, but would rather have them in a body that didn’t have such a high c of g and frontal area. It would also be advantageous if the body looked a bit less like a block of flats. Range Rover don’t ‘style’ they just add bling!

289

22 March 2018

.....now our lanes around here are going to be littered with shards of carbon fibre....remains of prats 'down from town' for the weekend using inappropriate amounts of power on lanes onle one and a half cars wide.

The only thing more impressive than the acceleration will be the explosion of air bags and carbon when it meets a John Deere!!

22 March 2018

Are those seats made by Umbro?

22 March 2018
JnrMofo wrote:

Are those seats made by Umbro?

I thought the same.

22 March 2018

I'm not the Green type with their endless tut tutting at anyone not riding a low emmissions bicycle but if you insist on sticking the proverbial two at everyone else, there will very likely be consequences down the road.

22 March 2018

This is meant to be the ultra sporting version, so But let's be honest here, how does the RR SVR really compare with its rivals like the X5M and Caynne in terms of ride, handling roadholding, performance, build, ergonomics etc? Let's face it, objectively speaking the RR is comprehensively outgunned, even if Autocar would like to pretend otherwise and forever overrate JLR vehicles.

23 March 2018

Have you actually driven one, try it and it makes the BMW and Cayenne look boring?

22 March 2018

Is there a Land Rover/Range Rover that Autocar doesn’t adore?

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