The Range Rover Sport is the best-performing and best-handling vehicle that Land Rover has ever built. Designed to complement the renowned Range Rover - which continues as the company's flagship - the Range Rover Sport is a completely new vehicle, a more compact, more agile and more performance-oriented SUV.
It combines invigorating dynamic ability with outstanding comfort and refinement. Land Rover calls it a 'sports tourer'. This reflects its ability effortlessly to cover long journeys quickly and comfortably, and yet also to deliver sharp handling and exhilarating performance. Its on-road prowess is complemented by class-leading off-road capability.
The top-line version uses a 287 kW (390 bhp SAE) Jaguar-derived supercharged V8 engine and has a top speed of 225 km/h (140 mph), electronically limited. It is the fastest and best-accelerating vehicle that Land Rover has ever made. A normally aspirated V8 and advanced turbodiesel V6 are also available (diesel not available in North America and some other markets).
"The Range Rover Sport is an additional, fifth nameplate for the Land Rover brand," says managing director Matthew Taylor. "It competes in the growing performance SUV market, but is different from all rivals.
"It is a sports tourer that offers the excitement of a performance car but with the versatility and go-anywhere ability of a Land Rover. Unlike rivals, its high performance doesn't stop when the road gets rough - or runs out. It is an outstanding four-wheel-drive off-roader, as you'd expect from Land Rover. And on road, compared with its rivals, we believe it is less frenetic, more refined and more comfortable. It all adds up to the broadest range of capability in its class.
"It also perfectly complements the existing Range Rover - the most complete luxury SUV. It will be priced between the Discovery 3/LR3 and the Range Rover in the Land Rover product range."
Refined, High-Performance Engines
The top Range Rover Sport model uses a 4.2-litre supercharged 287 kW(390 bhp SAE) V8 engine. Derived from the renowned engine used in Jaguar performance models, it has been specially developed for Land Rover needs. Maximum torque is 550 Nm (410 lb ft), and power and torque are fed, full-time, to all four wheels through a ZF six-speed 'intelligent shift' automatic gearbox. The transmission features sport programming and Land Rover's Command Shift™, which offers manual control of gear changes. Low range is electronically selectable 'on the move', for tough off-roading.
Other engines offered are the Jaguar-derived 220 kW (300 bhp SAE) 4.4-litre normally aspirated V8 and the advanced new 2.7-litre 140 kW (190 bhp) turbodiesel V6, which produces a healthy 440 Nm of effortless torque. They use the same six-speed ZF automatic gearbox and the same full-time four-wheel-drive system as the supercharged model. Other high-technology features of the powertrain include an electronically controlled centre differential, which improves the vehicle's handling both on-and off-road.
Tuned For On-Road Performance, But Class-Leading Off-Road
The new Range Rover Sport is the best "driver's vehicle" that Land Rover has ever made. The company's new and unique Integrated Body-frame™ structure, first seen on the Discovery 3/LR3, has been tailored for the Range Rover Sport. To reinforce the vehicle's sporty character, and improve agility, the wheelbase is 14 cm (six inches) shorter. The fully independent, air-sprung suspension has also been tuned for exhilarating on-road performance. Minimum body-roll and maximum driver feedback were priorities. Double wishbone suspension front and rear - as typically featured on the world's leading sports cars - is used.
A new Land Rover technology, Dynamic Response, further reduces roll and improves handling. This computer-controlled active anti-roll system senses cornering forces and then acts to reduce lean. It's one of the key reasons why this powerful SUV has the agility and handling of a much smaller sporty vehicle. It is standard on the supercharged model, and optional on other versions.
In keeping with its "driver's pedigree", much work on the chassis tuning of the Range Rover Sport was undertaken at the Nürburgring race circuit in Germany, in addition to the extensive and rigorous on-road and off-road Land Rover development programme. On the supercharged version, four-piston race-bred Brembo front brakes help give superb braking ability.
In addition to its inspiring on-road performance, the Range Rover Sport is exceptionally competent across all terrains, from packed snow to boulders. Land Rover's highly effective new Terrain Response™ system, which made its production debut on the new Discovery 3/LR3, is standard on all models. It allows the driver to choose one of five terrain settings via a pop-up rotary control on the centre console. Terrain Response then automatically selects (or guides the driver to select) the most appropriate settings for the vehicle's many advanced electronic controls and traction aids - including ride height, engine torque response, Hill Descent Control, electronic traction control and transmission settings.
High-Speed Luxury. Packed With Technology
The Range Rover Sport is one of the most aerodynamic of all SUVs. Although packed with recognisable Range Rover cues, it is stylistically different in many ways. The windscreen is more steeply raked, the roofline is lower and sloped, the glass is flush fitting, the characteristic Range Rover bonnet castellations have been smoothed away and the vehicle sits lower.
The Range Rover Sport has five doors, with a single-piece rear aluminium tailgate that includes an opening rear glass for easy access.
Despite its comparative lowness, it is still a roomy SUV, offering space and comfort for five people. Premium materials - including leather, wood and metallic finishes - are used extensively. The cockpit is designed around the driver, and is more enveloping than other Land Rovers. The high and sweeping centre console helps the driver reach across to the controls, rather than down to them. The seats are sporty and supportive.
"The interior is far more cocooning than the SUV norm," says Matthew Taylor. "Yet there is still the characteristic Land Rover Command driving position, which gives a superb view of the road ahead and the scenery around you. The Range Rover Sport will appeal to those who currently drive luxury executive cars (sedans) as well as the more sporty SUVs, thanks to its overall refinement and unmatched breadth of capability."
It is also the most technologically advanced Land Rover to date. Apart from Terrain Response, Dynamic Response and a host of other advanced powertrain and traction controls, the Range Rover Sport features Adaptive Cruise Control (its first Land Rover application), bi-xenon adaptive front lighting and the latest generation satellite navigation, both on- and off-road. Audio systems by harman/kardon and a twin-screen DVD rear seat entertainment system, using high-resolution screens enclosed in the front seat headrests, are available.
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