With a cross section of top crossovers and SUVs arrayed at the Aria and available to test, it was a chance for serious gearheads to play Goldilocks. Was the ride too hard or the braking too soft? Handling too hot or cabin trim cold? For some, the Range Rover Sport SVR was just right. While the Bentley could be found too polished for the backcountry and the Jeep underdressed for evenings out, this Range Rover carries the same gravitas on gravel as it does on Rodeo Drive. Our aluminum-bodied example wore the marque’s Santorini Black with carbon fiber for the hood and exterior accents, while the inside was elegant in ebony.
Jaguar Land Rover has given the model its Special Vehicle Racing (SVR) designation due to the numerous performance upgrades that make it the fastest in Land Rover’s lineup. The biggest boost comes from a 575 hp, five-liter supercharged V-8—with 516 ft lbs of torque—tempered by a ZF automatic transmission. The combination can cycle through eight speeds quick enough to rocket the Rover from zero to
60 mph in 4.3 seconds before it maxes out at 176 mph.
When the time came to slow it down for some off-roading, the Range Rover SVR moved adeptly through all types of topography with help from Land Rover’s Terrain Response 2 programming and its surface-specific modes of Grass/Gravel/Snow, Sand, Rock, Mud/Ruts, and, when conditions call for it, Rock Crawl.
Even after hours of travel, the drive experience never deteriorated—a testament to the improved chassis and suspension that provide better grip, pitch, and body control over varied terrain. Of course, also adding to the comfort factor are the interior’s heated Windsor leather seats, heated steering wheel, and increased rear-passenger legroom—just in case three bears want to ride in the back.