CAR REVIEW: New Range Rover Sport

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It’s become a habit, a Sunday morning ritual that I’ve unknowingly fallen into. As the toaster gently singes my wholemeal slice, I check my lottery ticket, flick through the property section of Saturday’s paper, and mentally compile a list of all the cars I’m going to fill the stable block with should the numbers on my ticket match those displayed on my iPhone.

I’m going to need a few cars of course, one won’t do it all. I’ll need something to take my folks out in, so a four-seater is essential, one with a big boot preferably. Then there’s the supercar (or supercars), no discerning petrol-head’s garage would be complete without one or three of those. A four- wheel drive, that’s a requirement as well; something capable of carrying me to the further-flung corners of my country estate when the winter comes, and it goes without saying it’ll have to be able to tow my historic racing-cars too. Plus I’ll need something to pop in to town in, and above all something that’s entertaining to drive on a B-road. This little collection of mine, I fear, isn’t going to be cheap.

However, there might just be a way of carrying my family, towing my classics, and getting my thrills without resorting to spending a king’s ransom. Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you the new Range Rover Sport.

Park a new Range Rover Sport next to the model it replaces and the older car instantly looks dated. The new Sport is altogether better proportioned. The front and rear over-hangs that even Land Rover designer Gerry McGovern admitted weren’t entirely right on the previous model have been well and truly sorted. The new cars’ design – which gains the wrap-around camera lens-like head, and tail lights, first seen on the Evoque – is altogether more cohesive: it’s more athletic and infinitely better looking too.

The new Sport doesn’t just look more athletic either; from the first turn of the wheel it feels it. Whereas the old car sat on a modified Discovery chassis and was little more than the four-wheeled equivalent of a fat bloke in a track suit (sadly it’s begun to attract a similarly sartorially clad clientele) the new Sport’s underpinnings are aluminium and thus altogether lighter. The new Range Rover Sport weighs in at 420kg less than the car it super-cedes. It’s faster, more economical and better to drive.

Should you pick the Diesel V6 and your efforts will definitely be rewarded. Not only does this engine produce stump-pulling levels of torque (443lb/ft) it returns 37.7MPG (stop-start technology helps with that), produces just 199g/km of CO2, and dashes to 60 in just 6.8 seconds: That’s pretty quick in anyone’s book –especially for a 2 tonne SUV. However, if your budget allows it there’s a 5 litre supercharged petrol V8 – the fastest Range Rover ever. That despatches the 0-62 benchmark in just 5 seconds, has an exhaust note that cackles just like a supercar and, is completely and utterly addictive. But, you’ll need deep pockets to run it – don’t expect more than 15MPG in day-to-day use, and that’s if you drive it carefully.

But what’s really impressive about the new Range Rover Sport is just how capable it is – at absolutely everything. In two days it’s carried me in a cabin that’s equally as quiet as that of a luxury saloon over the kind of extreme terrain that anyone in their right mind wouldn’t let a leather-lined 5 seater  (there’s a 7 seat option too) encounter. It’s waded through water up to its headlights; it’s cruised down motorways at the (nearly) legal speeds we all like to travel at these days; it’s taken me to dinner in a five star hotel and not looked out of place parked outside. It’s crossed forests and fields; it’s taken me to 151mph, the fastest I’ve ever driven (I was on a runway not a road, don’t worry); and I’ve even driven through an aeroplane (there’s a video on youtube if you don’t believe me).   Wherever you point it, thanks to air suspension, a luxurious interior, an automatic terrain response system, some seriously stylish lines, Torque Vectoring (it helps with cornering) and even depth sensors in the wing mirrors, it takes everything all in its stride.

The new Range Rover Sport is the vehicular equivalent of the Swiss Army Knife; it’s an automotive multi-tool. Quite simply it is every car you’ll ever need.

Now, where did I put that lottery ticket?

Range Rover Sport SDV6 Autobiography

Engine: 2993cc V6 24V Twin-Turbo Diesel
Transmission: 8 speed auto, four wheel drive.
Power:  288bhp @ 4000rpm
Torque: 443 lb ft @ 2000rpm
0-62MPH: 6.8 sec
Max Speed: 138mph
CO2: 199g/km
MPG: 37.7 combined
Price: £74,995

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