Mercedes-Benz has one, so does BMW. The Aussie manufacturers have them. But Jaguar-Land Rover ( J-LR) hasn’t.
We’re talking the ‘hot-up’ department, high performance, muscle cars…you know what we mean. AMG, M, HSV, FPV – they’re all names synonymous with very special, very fast and often very noisy vehicles.
And to that list you can now add J-LR’s Special Vehicle Operations.
Launching this new portfolio required a very, very special vehicle. And J-LR has the beast – the Range Rover Sport SVR.
More than just the fastest and most powerful Range Rover the world has seen, the SVR ushers the British brand onto the hallowed turf previously reserved for the Germans. This is a Range Rover tested north of 200km/h on the Nurburgring race circuit rather than at 3km/h in a bog-hole North of Glasgow.
Range Rover Sport SVR Overview
What you get with the Range Rover Sport SVR is possibly the world’s best high-performance full-size luxury SUV. It’s also the most expensive at $224,500.
Powered by the same supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine as the Jaguar F-Type, the Range Rover Sport SVR is bursting with technology and style for one purpose – to go fast. Sure it has the same wading depth as a Range Rover so your creek crossings and off-road adventures are possible, but make no mistake, the SVR is like no other Range Rover we’ve seen.
On the outside are the expected aero enhancements (downforce balance between the front and rear spoilers sorted and adjusted during those Nurburgring tests) and inside are the sporty accoutrements buyers of these sorts of cars expect.
Oh and did we mention it has the same towing capacity as a normal Range Rover? Might be best to give the horses a sedative if you’re thinking of ‘floating’ them behind this beast.
Range Rover Sport SVR Engine
Regular readers of www.carshowroom.com.au will know our inner ‘petrol heads’ love JL-R’s supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine. Boom! Here’s the monster again - this time powering the Range Rover Sport SVR.
It delivers 405kW/680Nm to the SVR’s full-time AWD via the ZF 8HP eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters for manual changes. J-LR’s Special Vehicles Operation has given the eight-speeder the ‘once-over’ to reduce shift times by as much as 50 per-cent – not that this Rangie is lacking in torque at any time.
Like the Jaguar F-Type, the exhaust system features electronically-controlled flaps which open at 3000rpm to let the SVR really howl. And the audio track of roars and pops when the ZF goes about its throttle-blipping downchanges is an absolute masterpiece.
For the stats guys out there: zero to 100km/h takes 4.7 seconds and combined-cycle fuel consumption is rated at 12.8l/100kms.
Range Rover Sport SVR The Interior
‘Astonishing’ is an apt description for the interior of the Range Rover Sport SVR. If you’re a current Rangie owner you may not recognize the SVR as one of ‘yours’.
The eye candy starts with superb leather-trimmed front sports seats featuring aluminium highlights around the racing harness shoulder cut-outs. Full 16-way electronic adjustment plus tilt/telescopic adjustment for the steering wheel sees the driver ideally located.
Dashboard layout is naturally identical to the Range Rover Sport but the SVR scores unique instruments and its own leather-wrapped four-spoke steering wheel. Clutching at minutia our one small criticism of the Range Rover Sport SVR is that steering wheel – for this sort of car at this sort of price we reckon it should be thicker with Alcantara grips.
The Range Rover Sport SVR looks like a four-seater with two seats in the rear sculptured along similar lines to the fronts. But there is a flat centre seat for the fifth person.
Cargo versatility is there as the rear seat split-folds 60:40. Capacity is 1,761-litres.
Range Rover Sport SVR Exterior & Styling
You really need to park the SVR alongside a standard Rangie to get the full picture of changes for the exterior. The SVR is indeed ‘muscled-up’ in the styling department but it’s all brilliantly subtle.
At the front is a new front bumper with trapezoidal air intakes and dark-finish grille. There are also revised bonnet vents.
The side scores new aluminium front fenders with flared wheel-arches and new design fender vents. There are also unique side mouldings and flared wheel-arches for the rear.
At the rear is a special tailgate spoiler which has been tuned in high-speed aero testing to balance with the aero-enhanced from bumper. And under the bumper is a black diffuser and the massive Special Vehicles Operation quad exhaust tailpipes.
Standard wheels are 21-inch alloys or you can option 22s.
Range Rover Sport SVR On The Road
Not surprisingly, J-LR’s Special Vehicle Operation uncorked an armada of technology to transform the Range Rover Sport into the SVR. Just for starters there’s Active Roll Control which uses front and rear hydraulic pumps to reduce body roll under acceleration, braking and cornering, active dampers and, to reduce understeer, a revised rear differential plus sports-tuned torque vectoring by braking.
Stopping is handled by specially cooled six-piston Brembos.
So what’s the SVR like to drive? ‘Miraculous’ is the term which springs to mind.
Over our high-speed mountain roads test loop, with ‘Dynamic’ mode dialed-up, this 2.2-tonne full-size SUV behaved like a high-performance sedan. And it sounded awesome too as ‘Dynamic’ allows you to rev all the way to the redline and beyond.
Aided by the massive Continental tyres, turn-in was instantaneous and the Range Rover Sport SVR took an immediate mid-turn ‘set’ with minimal body roll. Then you just nailed throttle to unleash the supercharged V8 and the massive technology and chassis propelled you out of the corner at an astonishing pace.
This is the sort of rarified atmosphere where only vehicles like the Range Rover Sport SVR (and X5M/X6M/ML63 AMG) operate. It’s no exaggeration to say it takes just one corner to fully justify your $224,500 outlay.
Back in the real world, apart from that tell-tale exhaust rumble, the Range Rover Sport SVR behaved like…well a Range Rover really. But the roar from the exhausts when you briefly accelerate to merge onto the freeway in the peak hour alerts everyone who’s boss.
Range Rover Sport SVR Challenges
As we mentioned our one very minor criticism of the Range Rover Sport SVR is the steering wheel. It’s not thick enough for a high-performance vehicle and, with that $224,500 sticker, some Alcantara grips would be nice.
Range Rover Sport SVR Verdict
They are serious people at Range Rover and they wouldn’t bring a car to market priced more than $25K north of its major rivals if it wasn’t very, very special. The Range Rover Sport SVR is that special vehicle which can more than justify its price tag.
The list of cars which can cover zero to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds isn’t long. The Range Rover Sport SVR can do that whenever you like and then you can hitch-up your caravan, two-horse float or large boat and it will handle the towing chores with ease.
The list of full-size SUVs which can lap the Nurburgring Nordschleife in 8 minutes 14 seconds is even smaller. And the Range Rover Sport SVR can do it thanks to the fastidious work of the team at the company’s Special Vehicles Operations.
Yes the domain of the world’s very best high-performance luxury SUVs is no longer exclusively German. In fact, the new entrant matches the Germans in every department and proudly wears a Union Jack.
Range Rover Sport SVR The Competition
Let’s be realistic here – every one of these cars is a stunner. If ever there was a ‘Dream Garage’ for performance/luxury SUVs, this is it.
We’ve yet to come across a vehicle with an AMG badge we have haven’t fallen in love with and in this sphere we have the Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG. Under the bonnet race fans is the 5.5-litre twin-turbocharged AMG V8 engine delivering your 400kW/760Nm via a seven-speed automatic transmission. That’s good enough for zero to 100km/h in 4.8 seconds (that in a full size SUV which weighs 2.3-tonnes). Your exterior carries the expected AMG-ised massive alloy wheels and inside is a mixture of leather and other expensive stuff tailored in a non-SUV, high-performance kind of way which is just gob-smackingly well done.
Also from the land of Angela Merkel our friends at BMW are offering us a choice of two cars to consider against the Range Rover Sport SVR. The choice is the BMW X5M at $185,900 or the BMW X6M at $194,700. Depends on whether you want to stand out or really stand-out. Both are powered by BMW’s 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine delivering – get this – 423kW/750Nm! Both tip the scales north of 2.2-tonnes yet both will get you from zero to 100km/h in 4.2 seconds. And both carry the expected ‘M’ arsenal of styling and technology enhancements.
Add the Range Rover Sport SVR and honestly it doesn’t get any better than this lot.