Range Rover Sport

Top Gear (UK) - - CONTENTS - PAUL HORRELL

WE SAY: WITH THE NEW DISCO, JLR STRENGTH­ENS ITS GRIP ON THE SUV MAR­KET

Ih­e­si­tate to con­fess, but I didn’t re­alise at frst that two cylin­ders were ab­sent. I was be­ing driven by a friend in the four-cylin­der ver­sion of the new Dis­cov­ery, and we were mak­ing good and peace­ful progress. Then I had a go my­self, and de­lib­er­ately tried to take it to places where it would likely show in­deco­rum – hold­ing it in low gears and us­ing big revs – and still I was im­pressed.

This is by far the best In­ge­nium en­gine yet, thanks to lon­gi­tu­di­nal mount­ing and dou­ble blow­ers. It has 93 per cent of the V6’s power and 83 per cent of its torque, and be­cause it’s lighter the 0–62mph fgure trails by just 0.3sec. Let’s not get car­ried away: you still want the V6, be­cause it feels more efort­less and costs and drinks lit­tle ex­tra. But nei­ther en­gine can re­ally over­come the Dis­cov­ery’s farm-shed air re­sis­tance, so A-road over­tak­ing needs lots of space.

The new Dis­cov­ery’s on-road man­ners are im­pe­ri­ous, thanks to a nice soft ride and sur­pris­ingly pre­cise steer­ing. It’s never car-like, though, and doesn’t want you to go berserk through a se­ries of bends. But com­pared with the old one you don’t have to count so many ele­phants be­tween brak­ing, steer­ing and ac­cel­er­at­ing.

Of the road it’s as­tound­ing, even on stan­dard tyres. All ver­sions get low ’box, rais­able air sus­pen­sion, and sec­ond­gen­er­a­tion Ter­rain Re­sponse. It’ll wade to the tops of its tyres, ease through foot-deep muddy ruts and for all I know as­cend the Great Pyra­mid of Giza.

Top-end Land Rovers man­age a spell­bind­ing con­trast be­tween the hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment out­side the win­dows and the warm lux­ury within. The Dis­cov­ery’s cabin is a gor­geous mix of clean de­sign with plush ma­te­ri­als.

But it’s the cabin prac­ti­cal­i­ties that keep peo­ple com­ing back for more. The cabin is ver­sa­tile and mag­nif­cently thought-out for any com­bi­na­tion of seats from two to seven. All the chairs hold grown-ups and pro­vide stor­age and charg­ing for the pro­vi­sions and de­vices manda­tory to long-dis­tance travel. For the driver, long jour­neys are eased, at last, by the as­sis­tance and con­nected nav­i­ga­tion that its ri­vals have done so well for so much longer.

Limo, minibus and quad bike all in one? Un­likely but it works de­li­ciously

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