2018 Range Rover Sport: New infotainment, promised PHEV lead the changes

The entire Range Rover Sport family has been updated for 2018, with changes including styling and performance tweaks and perhaps most importantly, Land Rover's new InControl Touch Pro Duo infotainment system. On top of that, the Green Oval luxury bruiser has still more news -- Land Rover has confirmed that the company's first plug-in hybrid model will come to the Range Rover Sport family just in time for the 2019 model year. 

Offering 398 horsepower, 472 pound-feet of torque, and 31 miles of pure-electric range, the new PHEV will be badged P400e. The model features a 296-hp version of the 2.0-liter Ingenium four-cylinder found in the Evoque and various Jaguar models paired with an 114-hp (85kW) electric motor. Land Rover says the SUV will hit 60 mph in 6.3 seconds and run to a top speed of 137 mph. 

We're still waiting on fuel efficiency figures, which we expect the EPA to offer up closer to the PHEV's on-sale date next summer.

As for the internal-combustion-only Range Rover Sports, you'll be able to spot 2018 model-year examples by their new, slimmer LED headlamps bookending a matching narrower grille. Revamped lower fascias and fender vents are also part of the program, as are new wheel patterns.

Inside, a redesigned cabin features slimmer seats, more storage space, and a new air ionization system. The cabin's big new party trick? A gesture-controlled moonroof sunshade. That's right, the blind will whir its way open or closed when you dismissively wave your hand.

The Sport interior's biggest upgrade, though, is almost certain to be Touch Pro Duo, the same twin 10-inch screen infotainment system that I experienced in August in the new 2018 Range Rover Velar. Throughout my couple of days driving in the latter, Touch Pro Duo proved to be snappy, gorgeously crisp, and -- most importantly -- largely intuitive, despite its myriad functions. It'll take a lot more time with TPD to really sign off on its abilities (preceding JLR systems have not been known for trouble-free operation), but it's a very promising system.

Touch Pro Duo looks to be a much-needed infotainment upgrade.

Land Rover

Most stateside Range Rover Sport models will be fitted with either Land Rover's well-regarded 3.0-liter supercharged gas V6 (340 hp/332 pound-feet) or its 5.0-liter supercharged gas V8, the latter of which sees power nudge upward to 518 hp (from 510) and peak torque set at 461 pound-feet.

Land Rover's optional Td6 V6 diesel powertrain returns, again offering 254 hp and 443 pound-feet of torque, EPA highway fuel economy of 28 miles per gallon and a bladder-perforating 658 miles of range per tank.

For those who want a Capital S with their Sport Utility, the Range Rover Sport SVR returns, with its newly fettled supercharged V8 making 575 horsepower (+25) and 516 lb-ft (+14). 0-60 mph falls in just 4.3 seconds and top speed is a scarcely believable 176 mph -- deeply impressive stuff for a nearly 5,100-pound SUV.

Suspension changes to the SVR include redesigned damping for reduced pitch under acceleration and braking, as well as better body control.

In addition to sporting a similarly revamped look as its 2018-model-year siblings, the SVR gets a new carbon fiber hood which can be specified with an exposed weave on the center section. A redesigned front bumper cap feeds more cooling air to a set of improved brake rotors and pads. 

Despite all the new equipment, Land Rover has held the line on pricing. A base 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SE fitted with the gas V6 starts at the same $66,750* MSRP as its predecessor, with the Td6 diesel coming in at $2,000 more. Stepping up to the V8-powered HSE costs $82,050*, and the ultra-lux Autobiography still rings in at $96,650* (*all models subject to a $995 delivery fee).

After driving the stunning new Velar in August, I wondered aloud why buyers might still consider the costlier Range Rover Sport, mainly because of its inferior infotainment tech. Apparently, I may have spoken too soon.