Land Rover Range Rover Sport (2013 -) Driving & Performance

Review by Kieren Puffett on
Last Updated: 10 Aug 2016
4.3
The Land Rover Range Rover Sport is an ultra-premium sporty 4x4 and this is the second generation model, which has been given a comprehensive redesign. It’s closely based on the new 2013 Range Rover, but is shorter, lower and weighs 45kg less.

4.5 out of 5

Performance

Clearly Land Rover Range Rover Sport performance is a major strength of this premium 4x4 car.

The Sport will be offered with two petrol engines, three diesels and one diesel hybrid system. There will also be a four-cylinder engine offered for the first time that will bring the Sport’s overall weight down to below 2,000kg.

Petrol engine choices

At the top of the range is the firm's excellent 5.0-litre V8 supercharged petrol engine. With a much lighter car to shift, the V8 engine with 503bhp accelerates the sport from 0-62mph in just 5.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 155mph.

That’s significantly up compared to the outgoing 5.0-litre V8 model which took more than 6 seconds to hit 62mph from rest and could only manage a top speed of 140mph.

The new model also sees a similar uplift in efficiency, with the new model reducing emissions to 298g/km of CO2 (down from 348g/km), but that still means the Sport sits in the top road tax band.

There will also be an all-new 3.0-litre V6 supercharged petrol engine offered with 335bhp and CO2 emissions of 249g/km which takes it down one band from the road tax’s top tier.

Diesel engines

Land Rover is also offering a range of other engines in the Range Rover Sport including three diesel engine options, as well as a hybrid version.

On offer is a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine with two outputs and a 4.4-litre V8 diesel. The V6 engine can be ordered with 288bhp (badged SDV6) or 255bhp (TDV6) power outputs.

The more powerful SDV6 feels very strong in the Sport and able to match the top-of-the-range 5.0-litre petrol engine for the vast majority of road driving conditions. While it can’t match the big V8 petrol for higher speed acceleration and sheer aural delight, the diesel is far more frugal (indicating 28mpg on test) and emits a lot less CO2 with 199g/km.

If you're concerned with running costs, the lower powered V6 diesel (TDV6) emits even less CO2 with 194g/km and packs the same pulling power as the SDV6.

The 4.4-litre V8 (tagged SDV8) has tremendous pulling power spread throughout the rev range and can dash from 0-62mph in just 6.5 seconds while emitting 229g/km CO2.

Finally, Land Rover will launch a hybrid diesel that is claimed to be nearly as quick as the SDV8 but only emits 169g/km of CO2 thanks to assistance from an electric motor.

5 out of 5

Handling

Like the original Range Rover Sport, handling is something this 4x4 does very well. What is really noticeable is just what a big leap forwards the new version is. The steering feels sharp and accurate, with a good resistance as you turn the steering wheel.

The Sport responds quickly to direction changes and rather than feeling like a large, heavyweight it feels like it is easy to boss into corners and throw into roundabouts.

This is all aided by the Dynamic package which adds a host of driver aid tech including ‘Torque Vectoring Control’ that works by transferring more pulling power to the outside wheels thus tightening the line through a corner.

It may sound like science gobble-de-gook but the reality is a car that turns in sharply and holds a much tighter line than you’d think possible.

Off-road handling

The same applies to off-road driving, with the Sport showing the same remarkable off-roading skills that the Range Rover has. Steep, slippery ascents, deep wading in nearly three feet of water and clambering over rocks, the Sport seems to take everything in its stride.

Land Rover has gone to great lengths to point out that ultimately the normal Range Rover has the greater ability off-road but you’d have to be contemplating an ascent of the north face of the Eiger to really notice the differences between the two cars.