Range Rover Sport SVR road test: Off-roader for everyday and race track use
What M GmbH is to BMW and AMG to Mercedes, SVO is now to Jaguar Land Rover: the specialist division for power, luxury and onomatopoeia. As its first project, it made the Sport SVR into the most powerful Range Rover of all time and a conqueror of the Nürburgring.
They're mad, the Brits: first they drive their new Range Rover Sport SVR around the Nordschleifeof the Nürburgring in 8 minutes and 14 seconds – a world record for a series SUV - and now, with the same 2.4-tonner, they are driving us into the woodland of the idyllic county of Gloucestershire. Through mud and streams, over stones and gravel, but not on the standard 21-inch all-year tyres, but on new 295/40 R 22 high performance tyres to cope with the maximum speed having been increased to 260 km/h. And then the heavy lump only twitches slightly with a gentle application of the accelerator, lurches a little on the sludge, sprays it wildly around itself and simply rampages on through. It is incredible but true, the same as the way the central display allows you to observe from a bird's eye view if you have ordered the Surround camera system for 800 Euros extra.
However much weight and money the whole effort involves, the majority of customers never drive off-road: in the case of a Range Rover even the greatest off-road competence is purely a matter of pride. Thus the new Performance version of the Sport also has permanent all-wheel drive plus a two-speed transfer case and off-road reduction on board, and thanks to the pneumatic suspension it can increase the ground clearance from 200 to 265 mm and wade in water up to a depth of 850 mm. Only the slope angles are a little lower due to the lower front and rear skirts of the Range Rover Sport SVR, along with the towing load (3,000 kg with the brakes applied) and the load capacity (665 kg). In addition you have to forego the headlights and optional folding seat in the generous loading area (784 to 1,761 litres)Powerhouse with hair-raising sound
In their place, the inventors from Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) have installed a genuine powerhouse beneath the front bonnet of the Range Rover Sport SVR - the top-of-the-range version of the in-house-produced V8 compressor engine, which until now has only driven the hottest Jaguar models. The optimised engine management and improved cooling of the suction air push 542 HP (an increase of 40) and a maximum torque of 680 Newton metres (an increase of 55 Nm) from the five-litre aluminium engine. This propels the luxury SUV from 0 to 100 km/h in a laid-back 4.7 seconds, without increasing the standard consumption (12.8 l/100 km). The power is transmitted by a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission (also redeveloped) with paddles on the steering wheel, the switching time of which has been almost halved. In Dynamic mode it doesn't necessarily engage a higher gear even when reaching the maximum torque and this holds the car permanently on alert, so to speak.
And then there is another button on the centre console with two stylised tailpipes, which opens a valve in the two-tier, quad-flow exhaust system and generates an unashamedly thunderous racing sound – goosebumps included. In so doing, in normal mode the Range Rover Sport SVR avoids that half-hearted pose, and goes about its business with a majestic serenity, also foregoing post-pubescent visual affectations. The larger air inlets to the front and sides, the special honeycomb grille and side sills and the stability-improving roof spoiler do their best to highlight the powerful design, but do not undermine the car's serious appearance. Especially the simple operation and good controllability in everyday driving, with the exception of the considerable width (2.07 m, or 2.22 m with the wing mirrors).
The Range Rover Sport SVR offers three cars in one
The interior also displays a stylish combination of function and noblesse – with electrically adjustable sports seats to the front and a split-folding, specially shaped rear seating bench made from Windsor leather, aluminium and carbon element and the omnipressent SVR logo. Otherwise the equipment is comprehensive, but by no means better than the 503 HP, 99,710 Euro 5.0 SC Autobiography Dynamic. So are the Brits mad to ask almost 25,000 Euros more for the Range Rover Sport SVR? Yes and no, for it not only costs as much as three average new cars in Germany, but also offers three in one: a spacious everyday car with room for all the family, a talented off-roader and even, if required, a sports car of sorts.
Date16 July 2015