WITH the recent launch of Range Roverís 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 Ö err, engineers at Jaguar Land Roverís Special Vehicles Operation have provided the yin to the PHEVís yang, with a supercharged 5.0-litre V8 beast thatís 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 SVRís 0-100km/h time, stopping the watch at 4.5seconds.
FIRST OVERSEAS DRIVE
Speed and soundtrack; desirability; interior fit-out; breadth of capability Fuel consumption; price; gorgeous but complex twin-screen interface
Model Range Rover Sport SVR
Engine 5000cc V8 (90į), dohc, 32v, S/C
Max power 423kW @ 6500rpm
Max torque 700Nm @ 3500rpm
Transmission 8-speed automatic
0-100km/h 4.5sec (claimed)
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Itís 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. Itís an absolute hoot of unrelenting acceleration and thankfully all reined in with bighearted stopping performance.
Our drive did reveal that even SVO canít 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 driverís ability to hold a smooth and progressive line.
Quite how the new SVR would compare dynamically to its predecessor we canít 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 hasnít done in making these changes is mess with the carís 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.
Inside the cabin the SVR makes every bit as impressive a statement as out, thanks to full leather trim on dash and doors, plus a dark suede headlining and striking new SVR performance seats clad in handsome Windsor leather and boasting 16-way electric adjustment. Other neat features include an 825watt, 19-speaker Meridian surround system and gesture-controlled sunblind and tailgate, which open when you swipe a hand or foot in their vicinity.