‘It’s a case of an evo­lu­tion on the out­side and a revo­lu­tion on the in­side’

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - LUXURY CARS -

No one at Land Rover will go on record but one chas­sis en­gi­neer con­ceded pri­vately that the steer­ing is a lit­tle less sharp on turn-in and slightly more vague off-cen­tre than had been tar­geted.

Un­der the bon­net the Sport gets a trio of new en­gines and re­tains an old favourite. The hero en­gine is des­tined to be the 3.0-litre se­quen­tial twin-turbo diesel, a 180kW and 600Nm unit Aus­tralia will also see in the Dis­cov­ery 4.

The par­al­lel se­quen­tial turbo sys­tem dif­fers from twin in-line tur­bos in that for much of the time only a sin­gle tur­bocharger is em­ployed. How­ever, with the two tur­bos ef­fec­tively elim­i­nat­ing lag, the diesel’s huge urge is on tap from near the bot­tom of the rev range through to peak power. How­ever, if it is good off the line it is bril­liant in the mid-range where the big car pos­i­tively leaps at any op­por­tu­nity to over­take.

The high-per­for­mance card in the en­gine deck is the all-new 375kW 5.0-litre su­per­charged which re­places the out­go­ing 4.2-litre unit bring­ing 29 per cent more power and 12 per cent more torque (625Nm) while re­duc­ing fuel con­sump­tion by 6.9 per cent and emis­sions by 7 per cent. As ag­gres­sive as it is, the su­per­charged eight is still a smooth unit.

As a pair with the nat­u­rally as­pi­rated ver­sion of the en­gine (276kW and 510Nm) the V8s fea­ture a cou­ple of in­dus­try-first tech­nolo­gies with cen­tral sprayguide­d di­rect in­jec­tion and torque-ac­ti­vated vari­able tim­ing on all four camshafts.

All three of the new en­gines are cou­pled to a re­vised ZF sixspeed au­to­matic. Round­ing out the en­gine port­fo­lio is the car­ry­over 3.6-litre V8 diesel with an un­changed 200kW and 640Nm.

De­pend­ing on the trim level there is plenty of fruit in the Range Rover Sport. On the menu is cli­mate con­trol, bi-xenon lights, ac­tive cruise con­trol, 20-inch rims, Blue­tooth, five ex­ter­nal cam­eras for panoramic sur­round views of the car, key­less en­try, leather, satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion and a nine-speaker Har­man/Kar­don au­dio sys­tem.

That’s just the lux­ury stuff. The func­tional off-road gear in­cludes the dial-a-sit­u­a­tion ter­rain re­sponse, hill de­scent con­trol, air sus­pen­sion and low-ra­tio gear­box all avail­able at the twist of a knob or push of a but­ton.

The off-road­ing-for-id­iots pro­gram­ming of the ter­rain re­sponse means that with just a moderate amount of com­mon sense there are pre­cious few places where a Range Rover Sport will not take you in com­fort and con­fi­dence.

Dur­ing the launch drive in Scot­land, al­beit un­der the watch­ful eye of the Land Rover Ex­pe­ri­ence team, the Sport – util­is­ing the new 3.0-litre twin-turbo diesel – tack­led gluti­nous mud ruts, a bon­net-deep river cross­ing, seem­ingly im­pos­si­ble climbs and de­scents and rock crawls without a mo­ment of con­cern.

Im­pres­sive stuff.

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