New Range Rover SportIs the new Ranger Rover Sport better than ever?
-In 2005, Land Rover launched a new type of car, a proper sports utility vehicle. A car that was designed to go like [unk] handle well and still be able to tackle the wilderness. This one is its sibling. It was a Range Rover GTI of sorts. It was called the Range Rover Sport. And now, there's a new one in town. Land Rover says it's better than its dad in nearly every single way, claiming it come out dunk better or something. Maybe less of the dunking but the Sport is lighter, faster, and slightly more useful than its predecessor. And come to think of it, it's still bucks for its bigger brother. The full-fat Range Rovers would ferry execs and the elite from A to B through whatever terrain they encounter, whereas the Sport is more for going out and having a little bit of fun. This new one, thanks with its all-aluminum construction, weighs up to 420 kilos less than the old one. That means three things. One, few remissions; two, better mpg, and three, more speed. All versions of the Sports have been designed to give the best on-road dynamics of any Range Rover ever. Boosting its performance pretensions are a windscreen, regs bag for sporting and aerodynamic reasons. It's 8 percent slippier than the old car, which looks like a brick. If you're gonna take the plunge, it would also be a shame to miss out on the 5-liter supercharged V8. Because over 500 brake horsepower [unk] with all the engineering in this thing, it's fun. For me, this thing is rapid in a straight line. Jesus, it really is. Catasrophic speed aside, I mean, this really is like sort of Range Rover GTI. You sit a lot lower in the cabin. You're more ensconced by the cup where everything is very close to home. I'm loathe to say like you're in a sports car because you're not. You're in quite a tall SUV. But it feels quite light and quite quick. It's quite a strange experience wherein you don't expect something like this to have quite the turn of pace it does. And that's especially thanks to the car's Dynamic Mode. It does have the terrain response system that you get in a Range Rover and an Evoque. But as this is a Sport, it's important to concentrate on Dynamic Mode. What Dynamic Mode does is it basically sharpens everything up. So, the stirring gets a bit heavier and the throttle response gets a bit better. Everything sort of goes on to tent ready to Pounce Mode. And if you stick the gear box into Sport, the gear box is absolutely beautiful and speed-automatic. When you got yourself a pretty racy little car, it will do [unk] to 60 in 5 seconds. This thing weighs around 2-1/2 tons. It's just-- it's disgustingly fast. It actually offense me a little bit just how fast it is. But everyone likes to be offended every now and then, especially if you add in the noise of that V8. It's a 5-liter supercharged [unk]. It's got over 500 brake horsepower. But what they've managed to do with this one is a thing they've addressed so that the complaints-- 'cause what people used to do with the old Range Rover is change the exhaust system so you could hear the V8 on to the [unk]. After all, if you paid for it, you'd [unk] want people to know you've got it. And it sounds really fruity. It's like this elegant luxury thing. This sounds like a muscle car. The Sport is set up for awesome on-road driving-- that's its thing. But it's actually a car of two facet. You see, Land Rover offers two four-wheel drive systems with this-- one for off-road, and one for on-road. The last of which incidentally weighs 18 kilos less than the off-road one. So, if you live in the countryside, you can have a car that will get very quickly up your drive. If you live in the city, well, you don't have to bother with all the off-road stuff. Similarly, the Sport's aesthetics can take more of a center stage. You can have a Sport with 22-inch alloy. It's 22. That's massive and insane. But that said, when we're driving the full-fat Range Rover in Morocco last year, the support drivers are all accomplished off-roaders. They're all saying that even on 20-inch alloys with road rubber, a Range was more capable now that the Defender is, which is quite interesting-- especially it's underneath the skin here. It's got a little same bit. As well as having all the sane terrain response system and being just as capable as a Range Rover upfront-- I mean, it really is. You can throw this thing anything. The off-road system flatters you. If you're an idiot and have very little off-road experience, you can just put the terrain response into auto, set the gear box into low range, and drive it through a riverbed or up a verge, it will look after you. So, it doesn't break itself and you don't die. While it's just as capable, it's not as refined. Where the Range Rover was benchmarked for noise against the likes of the Rolls Royce Ghost and the Bentley Flying Spur, this one wasn't. This one is a bit more noisy, a bit more engaging, a bit more sort of visceral. It grabs you by the scruff of the neck and goes, "No. This is a sports SUV. You're actually going to use me for sporty stuff." And that's where the difference lies between this and the Range Rover. But what it reminds me of is actually a BMW M5 in that you can feel it's big and heavy, and it's got lots of power. But dynamically, it rewards you. And it doesn't make you look like an idiot. It's just this one comes with the added bonus of being able to climb a mountain. Land Rover says the Sport is 45 kilos lighter model for model than the Range Rover on which it's based, and that it has 75 percent unique parts. But that leaves me with a question. Is it a bit of a shot in the foot? You see, this will do everything the Range Rover will do off-road. It's set up for on-road driving as well. And it's a bit quicker. It's better on fuel. You can have more seats in there and see more people. And it's smaller. So, it will be just that little bit easier to park. But what the Range Rover does over the Sport is have a little bit more elegance. Where a Range Rover is comfortable everywhere in the world, the Sport, well, it's a bit more Cineplex and Colosseum.