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Week at the wheel: Range Rover Sport. Image by Land Rover.

Week at the wheel: Range Rover Sport
Sporty, dynamic, get-up and go, no wait, relax, it's the revised, more comfortable 2012 Range Rover Sport.

   



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| Week at the Wheel | Range Rover Sport Autobiography |

Overall rating: 4 4 4 4 4

It's a peculiar thing the Range Rover Sport, but one that clearly does - and rightfully so - appeal to many. More involving to drive than a regular Range Rover, and classier than many of its rivals, the latest additions make it better than ever, whatever mood you might be in.

Key Facts

Model tested: Range Rover Sport 3.0 SDV6 Autobiography
Pricing: 66.695 (70,200 as tested)
Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged six-cylinder diesel
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Body style: SUV
Rivals: BMW X5, Infiniti FX, Porsche Cayenne
CO2 emissions: 230g/km
Combined economy: 32.1mpg
Top speed: 124mph
0-62mph: 8.5 seconds
Power: 256hp at 4,000rpm
Torque: 600Nm at 2,000rpm

Inside & Out: 4 4 4 4 4

Know what a Range Rover Sport looks like? Then frankly you know what this 'new' 2012 model looks like too. There are some new wheels, light treatment and details but for all intents and purposes it's the same as before.

As ever it's incredibly sensitive to colour and trim choice though - darker shades carrying rather more sinister connotations than the beige and brown combination of our example. It's not much different inside either, which means every surface is leather, wood, metal, glass or obscenely deep-pile carpet.

Ride & Handling: 3 3 3 3 3

It's definitely firmer than a full-fat Range Rover, the standard 20-inch wheels on our Autobiography version sending every road ripple through to the cabin. In fact, despite being wheel whores ourselves, we'd stick with smaller rims to improve the comfort, and lessen the ride annoyance.

Because, at the end of the day this Range Rover Sport may be more involving to drive than a Discovery, but if you want a 4x4 hot-hatch now you can choose the excellent Evoque. The Sport is by no means a disgrace, holding on tightly (like your occupants will have to) as you drive it round the bend at high speed, but there is no disguising the weight and lofty roll centre.

The driving position is typically laid back, the chunky centre console enveloping the driver just like a sports car. But it never, ever, feels like a true sports car - whether sat still or barrelling along at indecent pace. Much better is to sit back, bask in the comfortable surroundings and relax all the way to your final destination. Expect it to be like a private jet for the road, rather than a fighter plane, and you'll be much happier with your choice.

Engine & Transmission: 5 5 5 5 5

That's not to say the Range Rover Sport isn't quick in a straight line. The revised 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 diesel engine ups the power from 245- to 256hp, and there's 600Nm of torque available from 2,000rpm. It makes for levels of shove that would embarrass some exotica - even if they don't have to lug around so much weight.

Like a speedboat surging for the horizon, riding a never-ending wave, the Range Rover Sport offers acceleration that is unlike much else. It's partly down to the new eight-speed gearbox (with rising rotary selector a la Jaguar), which offers neatly-stacked ratios and changes so seamless you often don't even notice the cogs being swapped.

Equipment, Economy & Value for Money: 3 3 3 3 3

You get what you pay for in life, and you pay a lot for a Range Rover Sport. Our model just nudged north of 70,000, but did come loaded with optional kit to included surround view cameras, a dual-view touchscreen, tow pack, electric sunroof and an active locking rear differential. We would suggest the HSE offers better value for money, but if you can afford a Range Rover Sport of any description you're not exactly going to be watching the pennies - so have what you want.

Which is why even the less than realistic 32.1mpg combined economy figure, or 445 annual road tax, are not issues. Neither is the depreciation, which in figurative terms is likely to scare most. Is it good value? Depends what price you'd put on peerless quality...


Graeme Lambert - 9 Mar 2012



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2012 Range Rover Sport. Image by Land Rover.2012 Range Rover Sport. Image by Land Rover.2012 Range Rover Sport. Image by Land Rover.2012 Range Rover Sport. Image by Land Rover.2012 Range Rover Sport. Image by Land Rover.

2012 Range Rover Sport. Image by Land Rover.2012 Range Rover Sport. Image by Land Rover.2012 Range Rover Sport. Image by Land Rover.2012 Range Rover Sport. Image by Land Rover.2012 Range Rover Sport. Image by Land Rover.



2012 Range Rover Sport. Image by Land Rover.
 

2012 Range Rover Sport. Image by Land Rover.
 

2012 Range Rover Sport. Image by Land Rover.
 

2012 Range Rover Sport. Image by Land Rover.
 

2012 Range Rover Sport. Image by Land Rover.
 






 

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