FEW PEOPLE HAVE $150K TO SPEND ON A NEW 4X4, BUT IF YOU DO, THERE’S ONLY ONE CHOICE.
THERE are no surprises that a Range Rover of some description has made the Dirty Dozen list. The question is: which Range Rover? For our money it’s the Range Rover Sport SDV8, which is not only the pick of the vast Range Rover/ Range Rover Sport line-up, but it’s better than any 4x4 or SUV from Audi, Bentley, BMW, Mercedes-benz, Lexus or Porsche. The RRS SDV8 was our 4X4OTY two years back, so it joins the other 4X4OTY winners on this list.
For those who don’t know their Range Rovers, the SDV8 designation means it has the 4.4-litre bi-turbo-diesel V8, one of a vast array of engines available in the RRS or indeed the RR itself.
The distinction between the Range Rover and the Range Rover Sport is important here, too. In effect there’s little mechanical difference between the two as they share platforms and most of the multiple powertrain options. The key difference is in the body. The Range Rover’s is longer, taller and wider than the sleeker and, for most, more handsome body of the Sport.
That this second-generation RRS can claim to be a proper Range Rover sets it apart from the first-generation Range Rover Sport, which was built on a Discovery 3 platform.
Key to this generation of RRS (and RR) is the all-aluminium monocoque construction, which brings considerable weight savings over both the steel separate chassis of the first-generation RRS and the steel monocoque of the previous-gen RR.
At 2400kg, the RRS Sport is still heavy but doesn’t feel it due to impeccable road manners and the effortless and ample power of the 250kw/740nm diesel V8.
The SDV8 is one of three diesels on offer, the other two being 3.0-litre V6 diesels in different states of tune. There’s also a dieselelectric hybrid and four petrol engines, two supercharged V6s and two supercharged V8s, the most potent of which, the SRV, makes a mighty 405kw. That’s a truckload of fun, but it’s another $75K over the SDV8 – and it’s thirsty.
The SDV8 is the complete package. On-road it’s a luxury car with sports car performance and frugal economy, yet offroad it’s amazingly capable and will scramble up a gnarly hill with the best of them. The wheel/tyre spec isn’t the most practical, but at least in this generation of Range Rover and Range Rover Sport there’s been a move towards higher-profile tyres for any given wheel size, a welcome move in terms of offroad functionality.