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.