Poms de­liver re­gal SUV thun­der that reigns

Wheels (Australia) - - Contents - GED BULMER

Burly Brit brings the noise!

WITH the re­cent launch of Range Rover’s first plug-in hy­brid elec­tric mod­els, one might be tempted to think the Brit brand has gone all PC and for­got­ten about its V8 roots.

But put that thought aside folks, be­cause the hooli­gans … err, engi­neers at Jaguar Land Rover’s Spe­cial Ve­hi­cles Op­er­a­tion have pro­vided the yin to the PHEV’S yang, with a su­per­charged 5.0litre V8 beast that’s the hard­est, fastest and un­doubt­edly the loud­est Range Rover ever built.

Pow­ered by the fa­mil­iar su­per­charged 5.0-litre V8 of the pre­vi­ous it­er­a­tion, the en­gine has had its wick turned up to ex­tract an ad­di­tional 18kw and 20Nm, push­ing out­puts to 423kw and 700Nm. Com­bined with some tar­geted weight sav­ing ini­tia­tives, the ex­tra Ned­dies help shave twotenths off the SVR’S 0-100km/h time, stop­ping the watch at 4.5sec­onds.

It’s ab­surd that some­thing this big can cover ground so quickly and ca­pa­bly, but it also makes for an ab­surdly fun driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, the whine of the blower ut­terly over­whelmed by the rau­cous blast from the multi-modal ex­haust sys­tem as the nose lifted like an off-shore power boat. It’s an ab­so­lute hoot of un­re­lent­ing ac­cel­er­a­tion and thank­fully all reined in with big­hearted stop­ping per­for­mance.

Our drive did re­veal that even SVO can’t defy the im­mutable laws of physics, and while the SVR is ut­terly pre­dictable and con­trol­lable through the tight stuff, its height and weight do work against the driver’s abil­ity to hold a smooth and pro­gres­sive line.

Quite how the new SVR would com­pare dy­nam­i­cally to its pre­de­ces­sor we can’t say with­out a back-to-back test, but SVO claims to have paid at­ten­tion to its dou­ble wish­bone front and multi-link rear sus­pen­sion, with a view to con­trol­ling pitch un­der heavy ac­cel­er­a­tion and brak­ing, and tun­ing the damp­ing for im­proved turn-in, mid-cor­ner grip and body con­trol.

One thing the team hasn’t done in mak­ing these changes is mess with the car’s im­pres­sive ride qual­ity. De­spite this be­ing the most fo­cused model in the Range Rover Sport line-up, it still rides lumpy and pot­hole-peppered UK B-roads with im­pres­sive air­sprung com­fort and re­fine­ment.

Stylis­ti­cally, the MY2018 SVR is dif­fer­en­ti­ated from ear­lier mod­els with a few en­hance­ments, in­clud­ing slim­line pixel LED head­lights, a car­bon­fi­bre bon­net with in­te­grated cool­ing vents, and new front bumper de­sign also fea­tur­ing en­hanced brake cool­ing ducts. The MY 18 Range Rover Sport SVR is avail­able for or­der from Aus­tralian deal­ers now, with the first cars hav­ing made land­fall in early April.

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