The New Range Rover Sport: Following in big brother's tyretracks
The new car was unveiled via a parade through the streets of New York – apparently the model’s best-selling city. Land Rover states that more Sports are sold in the United States than in any other country.
Having been developed alongside the much-admired Range Rover which was recently launched, the Sport shares a similar aluminium structure, again leading to significant weight savings over the previous model – as much as 420kg in this case. The choice of architecture does, however, add weight (excuse the pun) to the new car’s claim of a more sporting character, and offers benefits not only to on- and off-road agility, but also in terms of reduced CO2 emissions and fuel consumption.
The interior has been completely redesigned, with traditional Range Rover design cues joined by new touches such as ‘purer’ surfacing, higher-quality materials and ambient 'mood' lighting. The new car also has its sporting intentions made more apparent inside, too; a thicker, smaller-diameter steering wheel, plumper seat bolsters and a higher centre console give the driver the feeling of being at the helm of a more performance-orientated car, yet the ‘commanding’ driving position familiar to Range Rover owners has been retained.
The off-roading abilities ever-present in Rover Rovers have been improved in many aspects; however, those with less-extreme expectations can opt for a more basic system, with a single-speed transfer case and Torsen differential. This saves a further 18kg over the full-fat, two-speed transfer case system with low-range option. The simpler version is likely to be taken up by the many customers whose cars never leave asphalt, yet it won’t damage Range Rover’s brand lineage in the way that offering a two-wheel-drive option might risk.
A supercharged 5.0-litre petrol V8 (503bhp) and 3.0-litre diesel SDV6 (288bhp) will be offered at launch, to be joined next year by a 4.4-litre SDV8 (334bhp) and a 254bhp version of the SDV6. Due to the significant weight savings offered by the aluminium architecture, the company has also hinted at the possibility of four-cylinder power in the future.
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Photos: Land Rover