The new Range Rover Sport is bound to continue the outstanding success of its predecessor, writes car reviewer Tim Barnes-Clay.
What's the difference between an aeroplane and a car?
Quite a lot really, so you might wonder why, when reviewing the all-new Range Rover Sport, I was asked to drive it into a Boeing 747.
It was all part of Land Rover's cunning plan to make sure the world's media was aware of the latest Range Rover Sport's ability to handle impossibly steep gradients.
It worked too. Most journalists seemed stunned when encouraged to manoeuvre the motor up a near-vertical ramp into the 747.
However, it was child's play for the four-wheel-drive sport utility vehicle (SUV) to scale the equivalent of a three-storey building.
Seat up to seven
Aesthetically, the new Range Rover Sport, on sale at the end of July, has a more self-assured exterior and lavish interior than the outgoing model.
It's also more flexible as it now comes with the option of carrying seven people.
The comfy cabin mixes style and luxury with elegant lines, top quality materials and spoonfuls of sporting character.
The athletic air of the car's cocoon is also reflected in the smaller, thicker steering wheel, higher centre console, configurable mood lighting and generous seat bolsters.
High driving position & light steering
The Range Rover Sport's high driving position instils a sense of confidence and the steering feels light and direct.
Maximum ground clearance has been increased and the improved air suspension system automatically varies between two ride heights.
Land Rover's Terrain Response 2 gadgetry instinctively chooses the most appropriate programme for whatever the wheels are driving over.
Range Rover Sport: Spec
The Range Rover Sport is available with two engines: a supercharged 5-litre V8 petrol and a 3-litre SDV6 diesel engine.
I was lucky enough to try them both, cloaked in flagship Autobiography Dynamic trim.
The supercharged gas-guzzler is bonkers-quick, surging from a standstill to 62mph in 5.3 seconds.
It also sounds marvellous - the throbbing V8 engine releases a delightful roar when you give it some welly.
On the downside it officially gets through an outrageous gallon of unleaded every 22.1 miles.
Poor fuel economy
On test, travelling through a variety of settings, from fields to B-roads and duel carriageways, I never got more than 20mpg out of it, but that's close enough to the on-paper figure.
Mind you, it does cost £81,550 so if you can afford to buy it, fuel economy probably isn't particularly important.
The 3-litre diesel version isn't as quick off the mark - but zero to 62mph in 7.2 seconds is by no means sluggish.
It still feels brilliantly quick and will do 138mph. Even better for real-world driving, the oil-burner gave me mpg figures in the 30s.
Eight-speed automatic gearbox
Both Range Rover Sports are paired with a velvety eight-speed automatic gearbox.
It made driving, on- or off-road, so easy and, apart from anything else, it left me free from fatigue.
The new Range Rover Sport is bound to continue the outstanding success of its predecessor, which quickly became one of Land Rover's most admired models following its release in 2005.
It goes on sale at the end of this month.
Range Rover Sport: Pros & cons
- Performance √
- Off- and on-road ability √
- Slick gearbox √
- Looks √
- Comfort √
- Expensive X
Range Rover Sport: Fast facts
- Max speed: 155 mph (Petrol) / 138 mph (Diesel)
- 0-62 mph: 5.3 secs (Petrol) / 7.2 (Diesel)
- Combined mpg: 22.1 (Petrol) / 37.7 (Diesel)
- Engine 4999 cc, V8 (Petrol) / 2993 cc, V6 (Diesel)
- Max. power (bhp): 503 (Petrol) / 288 (Diesel)
- Max. torque (Ib/ft): 461 at 2,500-5,500 rpm (Petrol) / 442 at 2000 rpm (Diesel)
- CO2: 298 g/km (Petrol) / 199 g/km (Diesel)
- Price: £81,550 (Petrol) / £74,995 (Diesel)
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