As sen­si­ble and en­ter­tain­ing as a pet ele­phant


THE RANGE ROVER SPORT SVR has never been a car for shrink­ing vi­o­lets. Any il­lu­sion you’d made the sen­si­ble fam­ily choice quickly faded once the 5.0-litre su­per­charged V8 fired into life. Still, out­wardly at least, it was some­what of a sleeper, es­pe­cially on the stan­dard 21-inch rims. No longer. The MY19 Range Rover Sport SVR now looks like it has driven through a F1 team fac­tory, or at least our test car did, clad with the Car­bon Fi­bre Ex­te­rior Pack. This $14,690 op­tion spreads the black weave across the front bumper, grille, guard vents, mir­ror cov­ers and tail­gate, join­ing the stan­dard-fit bon­net. Range Rover claims “its light­weight con­struc­tion de­liv­ers gen­uine dy­namic ben­e­fits”, but then it needs to, as the up­dated SVR is 42kg heav­ier than its pre­de­ces­sor. Our test car is prob­a­bly closer to be­ing on par thanks to the afore­men­tioned added car­bon. The new Per­for­mance seats would look more at home in the Jaguar Project 8 and are yet an­other ex­am­ple of the new SVR’s added piz­zazz. The in­te­rior has un­der­gone the big­gest trans­for­ma­tion, adding the Ve­lar’s twin-touch­screen setup, greater con­nec­tiv­ity and the full suite of ac­tive safety sys­tems. It’s a very nice place to spend time, though the twin-screen set-up feels a bit like tech­nol­ogy for tech­nol­ogy’s sake, as there aren’t enough ve­hi­cle func­tions to make use of all the screen real es­tate. De­spite the cabin over­haul, the pri­mary rea­son to con­sider an SVR is the lump of fire and fury un­der that car­bon bon­net. It now pro­duces an F-Type SVR-match­ing 423kW/700Nm, drop­ping the 0-100km/h claim to 4.5sec. This still feels con­ser­va­tive, the ul­tra-sharp throt­tle re­sponse cat­a­pult­ing this mon­ster for­ward like it’s at­tached to an air­craft car­rier launch line. It sounds mur­der­ous, too, with a gur­gly snarl like a bear in the bath. The racket is ad­dic­tive, but ac­ti­vat­ing it doesn’t do much for the fuel econ­omy, which needs all the help it can get with this much power and weight. Th­ese two num­bers largely dic­tate the SVR’s cor­ner­ing be­haviour. Ap­par­ently the sus­pen­sion has un­der­gone re­vi­sions, but driven hard the SVR is still def­i­nitely more Sport in name than na­ture. The rear-end is es­pe­cially mo­bile and the steer­ing can be cor­rupted when drive is fed for­ward; it’s bet­ter to back off in the bends and just thun­der down the straights. The facelifted SVR is an in­trigu­ing ma­chine. It has at­ti­tude ga­lore, but ask it to re­lax and the throt­tle is doughy and the ride un­set­tled. It’s not dif­fi­cult to see the at­trac­tion but I do won­der how long the ap­peal of this au­to­mo­tive ex­tro­vert would last.

For the ul­ti­mate in street pres­ence, your MY19 Range Rover Sport SVR must come with the op­tional Car­bon Fi­bre Pack ABOVE

BELOW Dig­i­tal screens ga­lore in the up­dated Range Rover Sport, but they aren’t the eas­i­est things to nav­i­gate

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