The Land Rover line up has undergone some drastic changes over the past few years. The line up includes the LR2, LR4, Discovery Sport, a unique departure in the Evoque and the top of the line Ranger Rover and Range Rover Sport. Our tester was a nicely loaded Range Rover Sport featuring the Supercharged V6 with an as-listed sticker price of $77,640.00. Behind the engine resided a tiptronic gearshift managing an 8-speed transmission with a full manual mode by tipping the shift leaver towards the driver. The initial feel of the power was a little slow on take off but built well as the vehicle accelerated. A 0-60 romp brought the big car to speed in the 7 sec range and there was plenty of power when stepping out to pass traffic at highway speed.
The suspension features a range of modes rather than a typical high/low range selector. Shifting into sand and hill mode does engage a low range that brought movement to a crawl and also an on-demand suspension high adjustment keeps the vehicle hunkered low for daily street use but adds significant ground clearance in the off-road modes. This was a sport model and while it felt like it could use a little more power (there is a supercharged 5.0L with 510hp available), the Range Rover handles very well on twisty roads. Testing the skid control and stability control on some fast gravel driving felt exceptionally controlled but even in the lifted position the more streetable tires would remove this car from the harder trails around the cabin. Overall visibility is very good though the wires embedded in the glass for the heated front window were something that I could not look past at times and an option I would personally skip. Fit and finish was everything you would expect from a car in this price bracket. The leather finishes were exceptional, the dash one of the most pleasant I've seen and while packed with technology the dash and steering wheel were not cluttered full of buttons. In the back there is a third row of seating that is electrically controlled in the floor of the rear hatch area for seating up to 7 - though the third row is best suited for children or emergency hauling of people. The technology on board includes an endless array of features that popped up when you lest expect, auto high beams turn on when no on coming traffic is detected in low light driving. Mirrors auto fold when you park, perimeter signals for crossing the center line (seat rumbles as well) adaptive headlights that turn as you do to better illuminate around a corner, park distance control and blind spot warning in the side mirrors. 16 way power seats with memory for three drivers makes it easy to find just the right drivers positions as does the tilt, telescopic steering and adjustable pedals. An excellent audio system/Nav system centers the dash and the four wheel drive modes including several suspension height positions. The heating system included zone temp controls, heated and cooled seats, heated steering wheel - really everything to keep you all occupants comfortable for any length of drive.
Fuel ratings for the V6 engine are reasonable and also feature stop light engine stop restart. Rated under the new 5-cycle method 14L city/10.5L highway for a combined 12.4. Overall a very nice comfortable car, that however we felt needed to be a little more responsive off the line to truly have a Sport label attached to it. Really quite an impressive ride and a vehicle well worthy of the Range Rover badge.
(click images below for larger pictures)