Terrain-conquering Range Rover Sport really strikes a chord


Terrain-conquering Range Rover Sport really strikes a chord

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From $182,000 + on-road costs
5.0-litre V8, supercharged
375kW @ 6500rpm
625Nm @ 2500rpm
8-speed automatic
5.3 seconds

AS FAR as instant hits with the football and celebrity set went back in 2005, they didn’t come much bigger (or heavier) than Range Rover’s first-generation Sport model. Its authoritative stance, premium-feeling interior and go-anywhere capability had the bold and the beautiful waving their plastic like cornered Samurais.

But here’s an uncomfortable SUV factoid few knew – that first-gen Sport was as much a proper Range Rover as RuPaul is an attractive black woman who looks good in lingerie. It may have looked like a Range Rover, carried the badges that proclaimed it a Range Rover, but underneath the original Sport was the rudimentary steel ladder chassis of the built-for-the-bush Land Rover Discovery. Let’s just say there was a bulging bloke’s cut lunch where one might have expected a svelte mont de Vénus.

For this second generation, the new Sport has no borrowed bits or compromised componentry. It’s built on the same all-aluminium monocoque as the new Range Rover, so it’s what it should have been all along – a more agile and dynamically focused Rangie.

This first-gen model was sporty in a Posh way; the new car, thanks in part to a weight loss of 420kg, is way more Becks. The kilo count comes down from 2420kg to around 2000kg, the suspension controls the body with newfound authority, and it now goes around corners in a way that performance SUVs theoretically should not.

Two diesel and two petrol engines are offered, but for the true Rangie rock-star experience, and hopefully armed with a corporate fuel card, we’d urge you to lay down $182,000 for the supercharged 5.0-litre Autobiography making a rousing 375kW and hauling it to 100km/h in a faintly ridiculous 5.3sec.

It may have theoretically less off-road ability than the regular Range Rover, but it’s still brilliantly accomplished at taking you into the type of godforsaken terrain that would have Malcolm Naden calling for the Westpac chopper.

Weave in a properly premium interior, a vast array of comfort and convenience equipment, along with the option of a thundering 700-watt Meridian audio system driving 23 speakers, and it really is the rock star’s SUV.