THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: Satisfying looks with the highest calibre of accommodation with speed and handling to match.
- What’s Worst: It isn’t cheap, but look what you’re getting
- What’s Interesting: With the addition of the SVO division engineering, the Range Rover Sport SVR is a SUV to reckoned with on any level.
MONTEREY, CA: Range Rover has upped its presence in the super performance SUV segment with the 2018 Sport SVR.
It is one of the first products from Range Rover’s new Special Vehicle Operations department which is tasked with taking Jaguar and Land Rover to the highest levels of performance.
The Sport SVR does this with 575 hp and 516 ft/lb of torque from its 5.0-litre supercharged engine, making it the most powerful Range Rover ever.
The brand’s renowned four-wheel-drive system uses a stout ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission.
This results in a 0-100 km/h acceleration time of 4.5 seconds and a top speed limited to 283 km/h.
A signature SVR touch is a carbon fibre hood with integral engine bay heat extractor vents.
Standard wheel is a 21-inch alloy, but a 22-inch lightweight alloy wheel with two colour finishes is optional.
Treadplates when boarding are illuminated and the new Supersports seats (heated front and rear) are designed for comfort and support particularly on long journeys, while providing a 30 kg (66 lb) weight saving.
The new seats also create more rear legroom, giving the impression of a cosseting four-seat interior, while retaining flexible five-seat capability.
The new Range Rover Sport is also available with Advanced Tow Assist, which helps the driver complete complicated reversing maneuvers by steering the vehicle into the path designated by the driver using the rotary Terrain Response controller on the centre console.
The driver operates the accelerator and brake pedals. The path of the trailer is projected on the central touchscreen by a feed from the reversing camera and rotating the controller intuitively adjusts the guidelines ahead of the trailer.
Hitch Assist is also available to guide the vehicle and tow ball together via the same screen when attaching a trailer.
Also Read: The Porsche 911 of Sport Trucks
The four-wheel-drive system boasts a new transfer case with a “smart” actuator that allows for even torque split between all four wheels.
Air suspension is standard on all Range Rover Sport models, giving it the ability to lower the suspension by 0.6-in at speeds above 65 mph.
Access Height lowers the vehicle close to 2.0-in (50 mm) for easier loading. This feature can also lock the suspension at this lower level, enabling the Range Rover Sport to travel at speeds of up to 25 mph in locations with restricted height like multi-level parking garages.
At the same time, the ride height can be increased for challenging off-road conditions, with two unique options.
The first is Off-Road Ride Height 1, which lifts the vehicle by as much as 1.6-in (40 mm) at speeds up to 50 mph and is ideal for driving at a quicker pace on less extreme off-road conditions like deeply rutted dirt roads.
For more extreme landscapes or wading through water, Off-Road Ride Height 2 takes the car up to 3.0-in (75 mm) above its usual height. This can also be maintained up to 50 mph.
My chance to drive the new Sport SVR came during Monterey Car Week, which is the home to such fabulous events as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the Gathering at the Quail and Rolex Monterey Historic races.
It was a perfect day with a drive up into the wine country hills of central California.
The first impression was the instant delivery of torque followed by the SVR two-stage exhaust system which can be opened by a switch on the centre console to release the most wonderful, guttural sound coupled doing a duet with the rising whine of the supercharger.
The interior was wonderful, with red trim panels and seats offering a commanding view of the road ahead thanks to the big wheels.
I didn’t fiddle with ride heights but just enjoyed the journey. Passing on winding two-lane blacktops was accomplished with ease, along with that song from the exhaust to making it even more of a pleasure.
Like the Jaguar F-Type SVR I also drove the same day, the shifter is a pistol grip — not the hockey puck-sized rotary knob that rises out of the centre console like many Jaguar Land Rover products.
It seemed so much more in keeping with the spirit of the vehicle and it included paddle shifters that will please some but seemed (to me) superfluous.
Always known for combining luxury accommodation with tenacious terrain grabbing, the Ranger Rover Sport SVR significantly raises the ability to cover a lot of ground at a high rate of speed, which gives Range Rover that “Gentleman’s Express” name.
Yes, there are a few challengers out there.
But for a SUV with true panache, it’s hard to top the 2018 Range Rover Sport SVR.
2018 Range Rover Sport SVR
BODY STYLE: Seven-seat, four-door, full size SUV.
DRIVE METHOD: Eight-speed Automatic, full-time 4WD with Terrain Response
ENGINE: 5.0-litre supercharged V8 (575 hp 516 lb/ft of torque)
FUEL ECONOMY: (Premium) TBA
TOWING CAPACITY: Maximum when properly equipped, 3,000 lb
CARGO: 1,686 litres