Range Rover Sport SVR – Review
By Liam Bird
In the time it takes you to read this page the Range Rover SVR, albeit in the hands of a professional driver, could’ve completed half a lap of the Nordschleife, the infamous northern loop of Germany’s Nurburgring.
Now, I’ll grant you half a lap of anywhere doesn’t exactly sound impressive, but let me explain a few things. The Nordscheife is not the modern Grand Prix Circuit you see Lewis Hamilton and Co circumnavigating on a Sunday afternoon. Instead it’s the tortuous 14.173 mile long ribbon of Eiffel Mountain tarmac on which Niki Lauda very nearly got killed in 1976 and the one that Jackie Stewart christened The Green Hell.
Half a lap is over seven miles long and consists of approximately 40 corners. The Range Rover SVR is an SUV; it weighs over 2.3 tonnes, will seat five, comes with Land Rover’s legendary 4×4 off-road ability and Terrain Response system as standard, and can tow 3 tonnes; “ours” even came with (optional) wading sensors. Perhaps now we have your attention?
By taking the 5-litre supercharged V8 engine that usually powers the flagship Jaguar F-type coupe and placing it under the trademark square–cornered clamshell bonnet of a Range Rover Sport, Jaguar Land Rover’s newly opened Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) department – think of them as to JLR what M-sport are BMW, AMG are Mercedes Benz, and Q branch are to a certain Mr Bond – have created the fastest and most powerful Range-Rover to date. How does 0-62 in 4.5 seconds, 680lbft of torque and 550bhp sound?
“Firmed and tweaked”
Magnificent, that’s how, especially if you press the little button that opens up the butterfly valves in the wickedly cackly exhaust system, swap through the 8 gears yourself via the paddle shifters, and indulge yourself in the SVR’s sonorous 8-cylinder symphony. Honestly no 4×4 has ever sounded so good.
The SVR looks and feels good too. There’s a new deeper front bumper complete with a trio of black mesh grilles that help cool both the engine and huge blue calipered Brembo brakes. At the rear the quartet of tail-pipes have been integrated into a gloss-black lower bumper that’s been fitted, together with a re-profiled boot-spoiler, to reduce drag.
Inside, four individual, leather clad, heated, and snug-fitting bucket seats hold you firmly in place (there are even hoops for race harnesses) and there’s also a generous helping of contrasting, brushed-aluminium trim. The steering and suspension have been firmed and tweaked for sharper responses, better feel and to help reduce body-roll in corners, and JLR’s software boffins have made alterations to the Dynamic Drive system’s settings in order enhance the SVR’s dynamics and handling ever further.
The result is a Range Rover that is like no other, it’s both Jeckyll and Hyde; both sublime and ridiculous.
It’s supremely capable either on tarmac or tundra, and devastatingly quick on either. It’s also more than capable of providing a supremely comfortable, hushed and luxurious means of transportation when you’re simply not in the mood for its theatrics. The SVR provides the near perfect mix of GT car, family transport and load-lugging off-roader all in the same package.
But the Range Rover Sport SVR comes at a price: £95,150+. And then there’s the small matter of its insatiable thirst: 22mpg. I saw just 16 in places. And a range of little more than 300 miles between fill-ups.
So, should you, if you have the means, buy one?
If you do (and many have placed deposits already), few of us will ever be able catch up quickly enough to tell you we thought you were right.
Range Rover Sport SVR
Engine: 5.0L Supercharged V8, petrol.
Transmission: 8 speed auto, four wheel drive.
Power: 550bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque: 680 lb ft @ 3500-4000rpm
0-62MPH: 4.5 sec
Max Speed: 162 mph
CO2: 298 g/km
MPG: 22.1 (combined)
Price: £95,150 (as driven £102,635)