Range Rover Sport: Better than ever

The new Range Rover Sport has a hell of a pair of shoes to fill, but its lighter, faster, and arguably better-looking than its predecessor. It'll also do everything a full fat Range Rover will do...does it mean the Range Rover needn't exist?

The new Range Rover Sport is a difficult followup to a massive success. It's "The Empire Strikes Back." It's "Jaws 2." It's "The Matrix Reloaded." Wait, that one was a bit rubbish. Anyway, the point is that the first Range Rover Sport was a hit; it offered a bit of handling finesse to one of the world's most sought-after brands.

Time, and its habit of continually moving, means the Sport has had to evolve and change for the better. Land Rover has listened to customers, the press, and those with loud voices to address any concerns there may be and to make it better enough to justify a full refresh.

Improving on something like the old Sport is a tricky thing -- it was a huge hit, but the new car is nothing short of brilliant.

Thanks to an all-aluminium construction it feels light, nimble, and, erm, sporty. Yes, it has the caveat that it's "sporty for an SUV," but there's something unnerving about how ready its 5.0-litre V8 is to send you hurtling toward the horizon with worrying urgency. That 0-62mph comes and goes in 5.0 seconds, and it'll manage the fun side of 150 mph if you're feeling brave, too.

Pop it into "dynamic" mode and everything becomes rather fun, as well. The suspension gets firmer, steering weightier, and throttle more responsive; oh, and you can do unholy things with something that weighs well over 2 tonnes.

While you're flying, as it were, you'll notice you appear to sit quite low in the Range's cockpit. That's intentional -- it's to make you think you're in a sports car. You're not, but it's a neat touch. You'll also notice that it's quite windy as there's less sound-proofing in there. The full-fat Range gets that.

The question it leads me to, though, is why buy a "proper" Range Rover? The new Sport does everything it does, but a bit quicker. Though it is noisier, and you sit lower in it, if you're not fussed about overt luxury then it'll do all you want it to.

If you want to feel like royalty, though, get the proper Range.

Specs
Engine 5.0-litre supercharged V8
Power 510 bhp
Torque 460 lb. ft.
0-60 mph 5.0 seconds
Top speed    155 mph (limited)
 

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