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First drive: 2024 Range Rover Sport SV. Image by Land Rover.

First drive: 2024 Range Rover Sport SV
Can the new high-performance Range Rover Sport really mix it with the supercar manufacturersí go-faster 4x4s?

   



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2024 Range Rover Sport SV

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Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that the market for high-performance SUVs has ballooned in recent years, but the arrival of the Aston Martin DBX, Lamborghini Urus and Ferrari Purosangue prove demand is there. And that's what Land Rover is hoping to capitalise on with the new Range Rover Sport SV. Building on the foundations laid by the old Range Rover Sport SVR and the new (but less powerful) Range Rover Sport models, it's here to put Land Rover firmly among the greats in this increasingly competitive market. But can it really compete with the supercar manufacturers? And can it do so without diluting the Land Rover brand?

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: 2024 Range Rover Sport SV Edition One
Pricing: From £171,460
Engine: 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol mild-hybrid
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Body style: five-door, five-seat SUV
CO2 emissions: 271g/km
Combined economy: 23.6mpg
Top speed: 180mph
0-62mph: 3.8 seconds
Power: 635hp
Torque: 750Nm
Boot space: 647-1,491 litres

Styling

The Sport SV is designed to feel a bit more aggressive than its less powerful siblings, but only a bit. More muscular bumpers, quad exhausts and 23-inch alloy wheels mark it out from the crowd, along with the odd vent and grille that's missing from the standard car. But otherwise it's a fairly subtle upgrade, as long as you don't choose the optional carbon-ceramic brakes with their lurid green callipers. Or the Carbon Bronze paint, which has a slight greenish tinge to it.

Interior

Just as the SVís exterior design is relatively restrained, so too is the cabin design. The basic design is much the same as that of the standard car, with a minimalist dashboard and centre console, as well as a massive central touchscreen and a big digital instrument display.

Obviously, there are a few tweaks, including the rather deliciously sculpted sports seats, the carbon-fibre fascia trim and the sports steering wheel, but generally itís much the same as your average Sport.

Not that thereís anything wrong with that, because the Sportís cabin is a work of art. Yes, some of the materials leave a little to be desired Ė the plastic gear selector is a particular lowlight Ė but by and large itís tactile and easy on the eye. The tech has come on leaps and bounds since the old SVR was discontinued, too, with the massive central touchscreen offering fast responses and a clear display, as well as great smartphone integration.

And the SV is available with even more tech, including the Body and Soul Seating (BASS), which is a backronym if ever we saw one. Still, the idea is the seat sends pulses of energy through your body in time with the music, which is supposed to be good for wellness, blood pressure and alertness. It just made us nauseous.

Practicality

Because the SV's interior is pretty much identical to that of the stock Sport, the practicality credentials are unchanged. You still get loads of space up front, with plenty of separation between the driver and passenger, and you get ample rear passenger space, too. Headroom and legroom are both ample back there, and though it's a bit dark, the sportier seats are comfortable enough. Boot space is perfectly ample, too, with the same 647-litre luggage space you'll find in your conventional Range Rover Sport, and though the rear seats may be more supportive than standard, you can still fold them down to free up a 1,491-litre cargo area.

Performance

As well as dropping the R suffix, the high-performance Range Rover Sport has also dropped the SVRís rip-roaring 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine. Instead, the SV Ďmakes doí with a 4.4-litre V8 derived from the one used to such devastating effect in the BMW X5 M Competition and M8 Competition. Fitted with a pair of turbochargers, instead of a supercharger, and a mild-hybrid system, it doesnít quite have the vocal range of its predecessor, but itís slightly more eco-friendly (emissions are down 15 percent) and it still makes a lovely grumble when you prod the accelerator.

It moves, too, with its 635hp output representing a 10hp increase compared with the X5 M Competition and a 70hp uplift compared with the old SVR. With that power distributed between all four wheels (obviously) via an eight-speed automatic gearbox, the SV can really lift its skirts. Getting from 0-62mph takes 3.8 seconds, and flat out, the SV is doing 180mph. Thatís quick ó itís on a par with a Porsche Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid ó and itís especially fast for something that weighs 2,560kg.

But because the SV is so big and so heavy, it doesnít always feel that fast. Sure, if you put it in Dynamic or SV modes, the throttle response is sharper and the gearbox responds more rapidly, but the SV only ever feels brisk, even when the numbers on the head-up display tell a different story.

Ride & Handling

The Range Rover Sport SV has a massive remit. Not only must it be a capable 4x4, but it must also be a luxurious grand tourer, a comfortable family bus and a lively, high-performance sports car. And it has a sworn enemy standing in its way: weight.

At about 2.5 tonnes even with the lightweight wheels, it's a heavy, heavy car, and Land Rover's Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) department has had to work overtime to get the better of it. Clever 6D air suspension has been fitted, allowing the car to react to roll and pitch to even everything out and keep the body flat, while there's four-wheel steering (the feel of which has been retuned) and the brakes have been beefed up.

The result is a car that can easily be mentioned in the same breath as the Aston Martin DBX707, the Lamborghini Urus and the Porsche Cayenne. Maybe it isn't quite as agile as those cars, but it gets mighty close, with surprising body control and fabulous steering feel, as well as ample grip from the standard all-season tyres. You can have summer tyres if you so wish, but they really aren't necessary.

And keeping the all-season tyres provides a greater breadth of capability with improved off-road credentials. Although the handbook instructs you to remove the pronounced front splitter (an act that requires the removal of six screws) before doing anything serious, once that's done the SV is remarkably competent. It has all the standard Sport's off-road features, including locking differentials, hill descent control and clever traction control, but there's no low-ratio transmission. Instead, the car just relies on a low first gear and mountainous torque from that V8 engine. Whatever, the SV is almost as good off-road as the standard Sport, and that means it's nigh on unstoppable. Yes, it's big and unweildy in places, but the four-wheel steering makes the turning circle tighter than you might expect, and the sheer grunt means it can drag itself more or less anywhere.

Despite the handling and the all-terrain capability, though, the SV is enormously comfortable. The air suspension does a solid job of ironing out the bumps, and though it is fractionally stiffer at low speed than the standard Sport (perhaps because of those wheels), it's still very composed. At motorway speeds, it's almost completely unflustered, and it's a match for the likes of the DBX707, Cayenne and Bentayga on that front. That it can manage that with such breadth of ability and such massive wheels is little short of incredible.

Value

Sport SV prices start at £171,360, which pays for the Edition One car we tested. For the first year, that will be the sole option, and just 550 examples will be made available to UK customers. Predictably, they're all spoken for, but they come with plenty of standard kit, including a head-up display, climate control and a host of cameras, as well as all the performance-related upgrades. Even with all the options ticked, you can only spend around £195,000, and though that means you can fit more than £20,000 of options (or an entire Renault Clio's worth, if you like), that's a fairly small amount for cars in this class.

However, that's partly because of the cars in this class. At almost £200,000, the SV is in direct competition with the Aston Martin DBX707, the Bentley Bentayga and the Lamborghini Urus, not to mention the BMW X5 M Competition with which it shares an engine, and the most performance-orientated versions of the Porsche Cayenne. The car is certainly capable enough to compete, but the pricing does feel a bit ambitious. Perhaps the full-production SV models, coming in 2025, will be more modestly priced than the Edition One tested here.

Verdict

As a technical tour de force, the Range Rover Sport SV takes some beating. Nothing thatís this good on a race track can possibly compete on a farm track, and few cars this fast prove this comfortable and luxurious. The problem is, the SV is expensive ó tick a few options and youíre looking at spending the best part of £200,000 ó and for that money we were hoping for a bit more drama. Brilliance is all well and good (and itís certainly abundant in the SV), but true greatness requires something more.



James Fossdyke - 20 Feb 2024



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2024 Range Rover Sport SV. Image by Land Rover.2024 Range Rover Sport SV. Image by Land Rover.2024 Range Rover Sport SV. Image by Land Rover.2024 Range Rover Sport SV. Image by Land Rover.2024 Range Rover Sport SV. Image by Land Rover.

2024 Range Rover Sport SV. Image by Land Rover.2024 Range Rover Sport SV. Image by Land Rover.2024 Range Rover Sport SV. Image by Land Rover.2024 Range Rover Sport SV. Image by Land Rover.2024 Range Rover Sport SV. Image by Land Rover.








 

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