A Multi-talented Brute

Faster and sportier than a 2.3-tonne SUV has any right to be, the new Range Rover Sport SVR is now even more composed, powerful and—yes—thuggish.

Revised along with garden-variety Range Rover Sport models three years after its original launch, the SVR is a potent cocktail of brute force, physics-bending dynamics, extravagant luxury, off-road ability, and conspicuously extrovert styling. It is a creation of Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations and receives an additional 25 BHP, tech improvements and an aesthetic refresh for 2018.

The SVR features unambiguous lines and surfaces. Its immense black 22-inch alloys and grippy 295/40R22 tires help create an air of aggression that is further emphasized by high bumpers and waistline, slim headlights, low descending roofline, high-set rear lights, jutting tailgate spoiler and large, restyled and integrated quad exhaust tips. It also receives noticeably larger front air intakes for improved brake cooling.

Under its vented carbon-fiber bonnet, the SVR is powered by a more powerful incarnation of Jaguar Land Rover’s supercharged 5-liter V8 engine with 59 lb/ft more torque. It now develops 567 BHP at 6500 rpm and 516 lb/ft torque over a wide 3500-5000 rpm plateau, which provides for 0.2-second quicker acceleration and 20 km/h top speed extension. Layered with thick bass, the SVR’s pounding mid-range staccato coalesces to feral growl and bellowing wail at full chat.

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As quick as it sounds, the SVR demolishes the 0-100 km/h in just 4.5 seconds and tops out at 280 km/h, while muscular mid-range versatility allows for vigorous 2.8 seconds 80-120 km/h acceleration. It achieved speeds well-above 200 km/h with effortless ease during test drive at JLR’s UK Fen End proving ground.

Brutally quick around former RAF facility-turned-proving ground’s straights, winding corners and banked high speed bend, the SVR handled with taut and tidy composure that belied its size and weight. Riding double wishbone front and integral link rear suspension for both lateral rigidity and vertical absorption gains, the SVR is also equipped with adaptive dampers and active anti-roll bars to deliver both focused handling and ride comfort.

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The SVR seems to shrink around the driver when powering through corners, while steering is meaty yet quick and precise. It is balanced and taut, especially when suspension is in its firmest setting.

The SVR’s active anti-roll bars and height adjustable air suspension help take the edge off a firm ride, and also allow for improved wheel articulation, ground clearance and off-road driving angles. It is set-up for confident off-road driving, and features low gear ratios and electronic terrain response systems that re-calibrate various parameters for various off-road driving modes. The SVR, however, returns 12.8l/100 km combined cycle fuel efficiency when driven with a lighter touch.

Driving on narrow, imperfect UK roads, the SVR’s upright flanks and high, well-adjustable driving position allowed for good forward and side visibility, as well as accurate placement.

It is refined and well insulated inside as well as amply equipped with high tech infotainment, driver assistance and safety systems. Luxuriously finished and styled with a sporty sensibility, the SVR incorporates two-tone leathers, Alcantara roof-lining and metal and carbon-fibee trim. It is spacious inside, while its thin but stiff front sports seat frames provide support and comfort, and help increase already generous rear legroom.

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Specifications

Engine: 5-liter, supercharged V8-cylinders

Gearbox: 8-speed automatic, four-wheel-drive

Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 567 (575) [423] @6500 rpm

Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 516 (700) @3500-5000 rpm

0-100km/h: 4.5 seconds

Top speed: 280 km/h

Length: 4879 mm

Width: 2073 mm

Height: 1803 mm

Weight: 2310kg

Suspension, F/R: Double wishbones / integral link, adaptive air suspension, active anti-roll bars

Brakes, F/R: 380/365 mm ventilated discs

Tires: 295/40R22