You need only know one fact about the latest Range Rover Sport to understand its chief advancement. While the first-generation model used the steel hybrid monocoque developed for the Discovery, the new one has been engineered in tandem with its big-brother Range Rover and uses an adapted version of that model’s aluminium platform.
Just as we found with the full-fat Range Rover, however, what it actually does is make it competitive on kerb weight while also allowing Land Rover to offset the effect of richer equipment levels. When weighing a SDV6 model our scales settled at 2360kg, so it’s more than 300kg lighter than we would have expected of the outgoing equivalent, but still not light.
While it has grown dimensionally in all directions, the Sport still looks relatively athletic and, next to a Range Rover, compact. That’s down to the higher belt line, flatter windscreen and a wheelbase that’s 178mm longer than it was. More streamlined styling also flatters the Sport where the old model’s brash looks never did.
Suspension is via aluminium double wishbones and multi-links, along with height-adjustable air springs teamed with continuously variable dampers. The engine range includes an entry-level 2.0-litre diesel capable of 236bhp and 45.6mpg. That is followed by the 302bhp 3.0-litre SDV6 and a hybrid unit utilising the same oilburner, while completing the diesel range is the venerable 4.4-litre V8.
But it’s the cheaper end of the scale that many will be interested in – specifically, 3.0-litre SDV6. It uses a lighter and simpler Torsen-based 4x4 system, shuns the Dynamic chassis and driveline add-ons and – until next year’s diesel hybrid arrives – represents the Sport at its most affordable and economical, and, by extension, palatable in volume terms.
The difference between the heavier-duty transmission fitted to the more powerful Range Rover Sports and the lighter one on the SDV6 model is, in meaningful terms, 18kg. That’s how much weight is saved by substituting the multi-plate clutch and transfer box of the more expensive models for the Torsen centre differential of the SDV6.