From £51,5509
It may only be 2015, but there's a new 2016 Model Year Range Rover Sport on the market. Has it changed much? This is our first UK drive

Our Verdict

Range Rover Sport

The Range Rover Sport offers just the right dynamic twist on the well trodden SUV formula

7 August 2015

What is it?

The new 2016 Model Year Range Rover Sport may look just like the 2015-year version but this particular one is fitted with the new 3.0-litre SDV6 diesel engine, which is more than a little different. It has a bit more oomph courtesy of a power hike to 302bhp but, more usefully, some extra torque, taking the maximum output to 516lb ft - the same as a LaFerrari V12.

What's it like?

You might think that with an extra 14bhp and 74lb ft of torque, the new model would feel noticeably quicker but the truth is, it doesn’t. In any case, the SDV6 has always felt pretty gutsy.

The dash from rest to 60mph still takes 6.8 seconds, but it’s the additional surge in the mid-range – from 2000-3000rpm – that makes this such an effective motor, even in a two-and-a-bit-ton car. Also, because the eight-speed automatic gearbox is determined to keep the engine in this rev-range, the minute you prod the throttle, it’s nearly always there, at your disposal, whether you’re in town or cruising on the motorway.

Two issues remain, however. Off boost, when you're pulling out of side turnings, for example, it can take a while for the turbos to spool up and get going.

Also, if you’re pootling around town at, say, 25mph, and put your foot down, the Rangie suddenly becomes overly eager. It drops a gear, the two turbos spin up, and the abruptness and amount of torque catapult you unexpectedly. 

There seems to be slightly more engine noise than before, in the form of a deep bassy thrum at about 2500rpm. However, it’s not unpleasant and adds to the general throatiness that’s always been a part of the JLR V6 diesel experience.

Lower CO2 emissions of 185g/km have dropped the SDV6 down two tax bands compared with the old model, while it’s almost 3mpg more economical on the combined cycle. It’s also now Euro 6 compliant.

Elsewhere, things are much the same as before. This Autobiography Dynamic version comes with handling gizmos such as Adaptive Dynamics, Torque Vectoring and Dynamic Response, which combine to make the Sport handle very well indeed.

The steering is sharp and direct, without being too aggressive on turn-in, and although there’s little real feedback, it weights up nicely as you add on more lock. It’s amazing how little body roll there is, considering the height of the vehicle and the weight the springs have to contend with. The Sport feels as agile as any SUV bar, perhaps, a Cayenne.

Refinement is excellent. Barely any vibration from the SDV6 engine breaches the cabin, which is also superbly isolated from high-speed wind and road roar.

In town, the ride on the 21in wheels is a bit lumpy. The car never crashes over bumps but does thud heavily on broken surfaces. You can almost feel the amount of unsprung mass that’s moving around beneath you. Also, for this tester, the brakes lack some bite at the top of their travel but work effectively beyond it.

Inside the Sport it’s the usual sumptuous Range Rover experience. On this model, that includes lashings of leather, turned aluminium trims on the dash and doors, and a luxury suede headlining.

The infotainment system, despite some upgrades for the 2016 model year that includes an app to remotely lock and unlock your car, still feels rather ponderous compared with the excellent iDrive system in a BMW X5. The 8.0in touchscreen is of a quite low definition by today’s standards, too, but does get sharper surround-view cameras, which are used to create the new bird's eye parking feature.

Finally, if you’re constantly struggling to open a boot with your hands full of shopping, the Sport has the answer to your prayers. The new Gesture Tailgate feature means a quick waggle of your foot under the rear bumper is enough to pop the tailgate open.

Should I buy one?

We were always happy to recommend the old model and this new version remains every bit the great car that one was, with a few subtle tweaks.

There are cheaper luxury SUVs (this Autobiography Dynamic has shot up by £1600, and now costs £77,850 before options) and smoother riding ones, too. None, however, combine the luxury the Sport offers together with its handling poise, agility, off-road ability and, of course, its badge.

Range Rover Sport 3.0 SDV6 Autobiography Dynamic

Location Surrey; On sale Now; Price £77,850; Engine 6 cyls, 2993cc, turbodiesel; Power 302bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 516lb ft at 1500rpm; Gearbox 8-spd automatic; Kerb weight 2115kg; 0-60mph 6.8sec; Top speed 130mph; Economy 40.4mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 185g/km, 35%

Join the debate

Comments
24

289

7 August 2015
"The new Gesture Tailgate feature means a quick waggle of your foot under the rear bumper is enough to pop the tailgate open"

Soooo, I guess there will be even more RR's stolen now, just as soon as the crooks learn how to crack this bit of code...they are probably rubbing their hands right now.
I think it is time for the industry to abandon the whole notion of keyless entry,....(who needs a 'Start' button anyway). Its just laziness in the extreme and a bit of a gimmick. And it plays into the hands of crooks. In all of my years in the retail Motor Industry, I never had a customer come to me and say that they found pressing the 'unlock' button on the key fob exhausting and debilitating - requiring keyless entry. Not even disabled customers! The auto boot opening might be a good thing if you really do have your arms full, however it is usually painfully slow and few people actually carry shopping in their arms to a car these days, and electric closing having loaded the shopping is clearly superfluous and a gimmick.
Time for a reality check I think...do we actually need these gimmicks, or do we just actually need our car to still be where we left it when we return!! I rest my case.

7 August 2015
the boot waggle thing is from the Ford Kuga, so they seem to be just using up a box of bits left behind from the Ford days. I went to test a Kuga once but the electrically opening boot on the one in the showroom jammed not properly shut and then wouldn't do anything. A mechanic was going have to be called out to sort it! - I made my excuses and walked away. The electric boot on my Outlander works perfectly although slowly. I find it very useful as I do carry a lot of stuff. On one of our perpetual rainy days I can start it opening and let it do all the edge dripping from some distance so when I get there I have some shelter to stand under whilst sorting out my stuff.

7 August 2015
£76,000 for a badge. I would think autocar should rise above subjective fashion/trend orientated comments. Cars are products of advanced engineering, where objectivity reigns supreme. While autocar offer praise simply for a plastic badge badge glued to a bonnet, jlr will have no incentive to the drag it's woeful products from the bottom of the reliability lists.

7 August 2015
geed wrote:

£76,000 for a badge. I would think autocar should rise above subjective fashion/trend orientated comments. Cars are products of advanced engineering, where objectivity reigns supreme. While autocar offer praise simply for a plastic badge badge glued to a bonnet, jlr will have no incentive to the drag it's woeful products from the bottom of the reliability lists.

Have you actually ever owned one? Driven one? Even sat in one? Armchair critic dismisses professional journalist. Pathetic.


289

7 August 2015
See.....there you go again WC, criticising poster's, but no actual thoughts comments- or useful in any way, input about automobiles.
Do you actually have a car...or drivers licence by chance?
Have YOU " actually ever owned one? Driven one? Even sat in one"

Maybe you are just on the wrong website!

It is completely possible that this forum member has more relevant comment than a potentially biased journalist. After all Autocar does have previous for biased opinion about JLR product.

7 August 2015

I assure you I'm not biased. Please read my review of the BMW X5M, which I was also highly impressed with.

If something is good or bad, I'll tell you it like it is. That's a promise.

8 August 2015
289 wrote:

See.....there you go again WC, criticising poster's, but no actual thoughts comments- or useful in any way, input about automobiles.
Do you actually have a car...or drivers licence by chance?
Have YOU " actually ever owned one? Driven one? Even sat in one"

Maybe you are just on the wrong website!

It is completely possible that this forum member has more relevant comment than a potentially biased journalist. After all Autocar does have previous for biased opinion about JLR product.

My dear chap, I'm not so sure why you're so angry but may I remind you that you wrote an essay about the boot lid of this car. The boot lid. Your outlook on life is one of the least valued in this manor and, now that your bile has drawn comment from the author, we hope that you'll stop spitting feathers in indignation and observe in silence. Have a pleasant day.


289

8 August 2015
Since you refuse to stop infecting these pages I will take the trouble to set your troubled mind straight.
Firstly I am not angry....just curious as to what your purpose in life is, and why you are on a motoring forum yet never comment on 'motors'.
You clearly feel that you have some god given right to pour scorn on those who DO have an opinion...an opinion they have every right to voice since they are discussing 'motors' NOT peoples character/intelligence/knowledge, which you have an unhealthy interest in by the way.
The 'essay' you refer to was a paragraph about why I don't feel the rear of the car is as resolved as the front...perfectly acceptable to any reasonably minded individual!...what is YOUR opinion about this???? - we have never seen such a comment.
I don't know where you have conjured up "Bile", "Spitting Feathers2 or "indignation"....I certainly don't raise my heart rate over such matters...but then I forgot - YOU are the all seeing 'eye' and know everything about all members of the forum.
The author may be 'unbiased' as he states. If he is, this will be a first in the last 5 years from Autocar and a refreshing change. However Haymarket pay his salary, and my guess is that he will have to 'toe the corporate line' or find employ elsewhere. That's just the way it works.
Finally there is no chance of me observing in silence...just as there is no way you will stop infecting this site, and I will continue to without your permission.
As ever, I will have a very pleasant day thank you.

8 August 2015
289 wrote:

Since you refuse to stop infecting these pages I will take the trouble to set your troubled mind straight.
Firstly I am not angry....just curious as to what your purpose in life is, and why you are on a motoring forum yet never comment on 'motors'.
You clearly feel that you have some god given right to pour scorn on those who DO have an opinion...an opinion they have every right to voice since they are discussing 'motors' NOT peoples character/intelligence/knowledge, which you have an unhealthy interest in by the way.
The 'essay' you refer to was a paragraph about why I don't feel the rear of the car is as resolved as the front...perfectly acceptable to any reasonably minded individual!...what is YOUR opinion about this???? - we have never seen such a comment.
I don't know where you have conjured up "Bile", "Spitting Feathers2 or "indignation"....I certainly don't raise my heart rate over such matters...but then I forgot - YOU are the all seeing 'eye' and know everything about all members of the forum.
The author may be 'unbiased' as he states. If he is, this will be a first in the last 5 years from Autocar and a refreshing change. However Haymarket pay his salary, and my guess is that he will have to 'toe the corporate line' or find employ elsewhere. That's just the way it works.
Finally there is no chance of me observing in silence...just as there is no way you will stop infecting this site, and I will continue to without your permission.
As ever, I will have a very pleasant day thank you.

Another essay? More bile and feathers?

Ad hominem waffle. Go and stalk someone else instead of getting tied up in your own underwear.


7 August 2015
Faultless todate and the best car I have owned which include all the German trio

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