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First Drive – Range Rover Sport

rr1We slipped on the Hunter Wellies and Barbour jacket and put the new Range Rover Sport through its paces.

What is it? The Sport is Land Rover’s latest entry in a line-up that has helped propel the British company to be the belle of the automotive ball. Whereas the previous Sport was based on the Discovery this one shares major components with the Range Rover. Crucially its also lighter thanks to an all-aluminium body. The result is the most responsive and the most agile Land Rover ever made.

First impressions of the new Range Rover Sport? With style oozing from the contrasting roof panels to where the beefy 22inch rubber meets the road, the new Range Rover Sport is at once sporty, purposeful, and elegant. Styling details borrowed from the Evoque gives the chiselled exterior a more menacing almost hot hatch like stance.

What about the interior? Inside it is beautifully luxurious with an uncluttered and clean dashboard. The quality is far better throughout. The seating position is lower than before but every bit as commanding. There is also an option of two extra seats in the back making it a good family car choice. The business-class aura extends to the rear where there is a huge amount of space and a host of gadgets to keep all entertained or distracted on long journeys.

And on the road? There are two engines to choose from; a 288bhp 3.0 SDV6 diesel and a supercharged 510bhp 5.0 V8 petrol. At the launch we had the opportunity to drive both versions;
Range Rover Sport on road: The supercharged with the 5.0-litre V8 is an insanely fast car with an impressive surge of acceleration. The one most likely to appeal to buyers is the diesel. Sprinting from 0-100km in 6.8 seconds, the diesel is no compromise and returns 37.7mpg and 199g/km of CO2. Both are mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox that moves seamlessly between gears. On the road the Sport feels nothing like its predecessor and while it is still a huge vehicle and tips the scales at about two tonnes it is light and agile.
Range Rover Sport Off road: At Eastnor Castle Land Rover demonstrated the formidable go anywhere capabilities of the new Sport. From deep water wading, muddy ruts and unbelievably steep climbs and descents, the Sport makes light work of any terrain. Impressively, all of this is achieved on 22 inch road tyres.

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To reinforce the point that the Range Rover Sport is truly a first-class piece of engineering Land Rover’s final party trick for the launch was getting us to drive the Sport onto a Bowing 747. Up a steeply racked incline the Sport nudges through the doors of the aircraft. Once in there’s an obstacle course through the fuselage of the airliner to overcome before passing first class and then under the cockpit to drive out of the plane. Hard to envisage anyone ever needing to drive this way but still good to know you could.

How Much? The new model will arrive in September and prices are likely to start under 90k.

How Safe? There are a range of advanced safety features to keep you safe both on and off road. One of our favourites on the Sport is Wade Sensing where cameras in the wing mirrors monitor water level and this information is relayed to a screen on the dash. The system is not predicative so it can’t tell you the depth of water before you drive in but once submerged it can determine how close you are to exceeding the Sport’s 850mm wading depth.

What about my options? There will be two engines to choose from initially a 288bhp 3.0 SDV6 diesel and a supercharged 510bhp 5.0 V8 petrol. A hybrid will join the range later in the year.

3 words to describe the Range Rover Sport: Dynamic; Robust; Capable

For more information check out Landrover.ie


Geraldine Herbert

23rd of July, 2013

Author: Geraldine Herbert

Contributing Editor and Motoring Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen. Geraldine is also a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping (UK) and to RTÉ Radio One, Newstalk, TodayFM and BBC Radio. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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