Is it fast?
The only lost souls who thought the old Range Rover Sport was actually sporty, with its heavy, steel-bodied underpinnings, were the WAGs and footballers impressed by the 2.7-tonne tank’s ability to make the Fulham school run in under twenty minutes.
It’s great to know then that the folks at Land Rover have really tried to make this new Range Rover Sport actually, well, sporty. Engineers have shaved off an impressive 420kg of chub thanks to an all-new aluminium platform and depending on engines – we drove the full fat, 5.0-litre V8 supercharged petrol – a blistering 0-62mph run of 5.3sec can be achieved with a heady top speed of 155mph.
Is it sexy?
If you thought the last Sport was boxy, then you’ll find this one utterly foxy. Gone are the circular LED running lights in favour of Range Rover’s new signature line design. It has a wider stance, a more steeply raked windscreen and smacks of Evoque around the rear haunches (yet another nod to Posh’s design tekkers). If colour is how you define sex appeal, then Fuji White or vibrant Chile are the only paint names you’ll need in your life.
What’s it like to drive?
With 503bhp under your right foot, and an open country lane ahead, the Supercharged Sport manages to deliver its party piece in the form of a howling V8 soundtrack and alarmingly rapid progress. Even the SDV6 diesel engine we tested was able to cream its way down Welsh B-roads thanks to 433 lb-ft of earth-turning torque.
Where you’ll be able to feel unbelievable engineering talent at play, though, is when you flick the terrain response into ‘Dynamic‘. The car stiffens its steering, anti-roll bars and sharpens the 8-speed ZF ‘box whilst turning the dash into a face of red rage. Slip the gearbox into sport and you’ll also be able to flick down a few cogs with the paddleshifts and hear the menacing grumble of the supercharged V8, which will become as addictive as your desire to leave the car in ‘Dynamic’.
If there is a Dynamic downside, it’s the subsequently firm ride that greets your derrière. Fear not, though, as the Range Rover Sport surprisingly performs just as capably off-road than it does on. Terrain response is again your friend and if you do encounter Doomsday and your back garden turns into a canyon, all you need do is increase ride height and select low range via buttons on the centre console to dominate the landscape. The car will even wade in depths of up to 850mm.
Back on the tarmac and pottering around town, the steering feels light but precise and the car feels half its true size, so you need not fret about bumping and grinding with the village tractor.
How about the inside?
I’m fortunate enough to test a fair few cars each year, and it’s when you inspect the cabin that many fall short of the mark. Not so with the Range Rover Sport. As you’d expect from a £70k car, the interior is absolutely top notch, with soft leathers, infinitely adjustable seats, an unrivalled entertainment unit (yes, it’s got that double vision TV too) and speakers that frankly pack more bass than Skrillex.
I got so attached to the Sport, that I created my dream Range Rover Sport on Land Rover’s car configurator, and would’ve ended up £85,455 worse for wear. Luxury costs, people!
Will my mates rate it?
With optional extras including screens in the back of headrests and rear climate control, coupled with subdued styling that does away with the Narcotics R Us image, your mates will definitely love this car. If your friends also happen to kick leather balls around grassy verges for money, they’ll be whipping out their chequebooks like it’s 1999.
And for bonus points, you can option up 2 extra, electronically-folding seats in the boot for two children. Who said the Range Rover Sport was all style and no substance?
Show me three used alternatives
The beastly Audi now has so many younger brothers, we’re starting to lose track. The Q3 and Q5 both sit in smaller niches and appeal to families ballin’ on a budget, but the Q7 is the Rangie’s luxurious rival. Fortunately for JLR, it handles poorly and is bulkier than Ronnie Coleman on cheat day. For under £16k, you can pick up a 2006 plate with close to 100k miles on the clock.
The critically acclaimed X5 is perhaps the closest competitor to the Range Rover Sport. As you’d expect from BMW, it has a class interior, decent resale value, is about to get a technical update but can’t off-road as well as the best-in-class Rangie. A 7-year-old, 3.0-litre diesel will set you back only £9,995.
Perhaps the black sheep of the SUV category, Jeep have made quantum leap improvements with the Grand Cherokee despite a dismally poor cabin by comparison. As the G.C. is useless off-road, you can pick up a well-maintained unit but old unit for only a few grand.Range Rover Sport Supercharged Review: Both Style And Substance?,