Range Rover Sport SVR Test Drive

Without wishing to reduce the Range Rover Sport SVR to a single figure, it's worth knowing that it set a time of 8min 14sec around the Nurburgring Nordschleife. What odds you'd have been given a decade or two ago on a near 2.5 ton machine with a Land Rover badge on its prow ever recording a lap time around that place - let alone a stupendously quick one - we can only guess, but let's take a moment to appreciate how impressive that actually is. And that's only half the story.

Range Rover Sport SVR Test Drive

The SVR borrows the Jaguar F-type R's 542bhp supercharged V8 engine. It's the same unit found in the V8 Supercharged version of the Sport, but in this higher state of tune it has an additional 39bhp and 411b ft. The total torque output is now 5011b ft from 2500rpm.

Big numbers indeed, but the SVR still falls 25bhp short of snatching the most powerful SUV title from BMW's X5M and X6M duo. It's also down on power compared with Porsche's Cayenne Turbo S (by 20bhp). But to criticise it for such shortfalls would be to endorse the absurdity of this super-SUV horsepower race. I think we can all agree that 542bhp is enough.

It's certainly enough to launch the SVR to 60mph in a claimed 4.5 seconds and on to a limited 162mph top speed. The ubiquitous and excellent ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox has been carried over from the lesser supercharged Range Rover Sport, but software revisions have cut upshift times in half.

The air spring system is also unchanged, so effective spring rates are the same, but revised damper tuning and stiffer bushes have sharpened the suspension in overall terms by 20 per cent. The SVR rides 8mm lower and takes the regular Sport's firmest anti-roll setting as its default, but suspension geometry is the same. This is certainly an exercise in tuning particularly of the electrical systems rather than a comprehensive reengineering project.

To that end the Brembo brakes are carried over, too, although by binning the fog lamps and using the apertures as ducts, five times more cooling air is directed to the brakes. That undoubtedly made a great deal of sense during the 10,000km of Nurburgring testing, but as we set off on our own test drive around the rolling Cotswolds hills in impenetrable morningfog, it does seem a little unfortunate.

In SVR trim the cabin is treated to a pair of heavily bolstered sports seats, which immediately set a more sporting tone. Despite the decidedly modest chassis tweaks, the SVR very quickly feels like a different animal to the standard car. Of course, that monstrous supercharged petrol V8 gives the thing a rampant level of straight line performance that would trouble a Porsche 911 - not to mention a dirty baritone voice that makes it sound like the F type's older brother - but there's something else. The steering is a little heavier, more direct. There's also more precision in the chassis and stronger grip.

As standard the SVR comes on a 21 inch mud and snow tyre, but a 22-inch wheel with Continental summer rubber is available as a £2400 option. Early signs suggest that the vast majority of buyers are ticking that box and they're absolutely right to do so. Whereas the standard tyre folds under itself and announces its surrender in a wailing howl, the Continental is altogether more stable when pushing on.

The key to extracting meaningful and enjoyable cross-country pace from the SVR is smoothness. Throw it into a corner with the same enthusiasm that you might a well sorted hot hatch and it just doesn't cope. It's far too tall and heavy for that approach. The sudden build up of momentum and resulting violent weight transfer simply overwhelms the outside rear tyre and the car collapses into scruffy oversteer, which is hurriedly gathered up by the stability control.

But if you pour the SVR into a corner smoothly, allowing the momentum to build gradually, the car turns in positively. It then controls its mass and takes a set mid-corner, finds good grip and exits under power with a discernible neutrality. Adjust your driving style to suit and it really does reward. Rivals from BMW and Porsche are slightly sharper to drive, but the SVR has a trick up its sleeve.

Before I get on to that, it would be remiss of me to not mention a little foul play on Land Rover's part. The promotional imagery showed the SVR Mike Cross-ed-up on circuit like an M3, but customer cars won't do it. The stability control system can't be disabled completely, unless you're an insider and you know the secret handshake.

With the day drawing to a close we take a sharp left off the main road, tuck in behind a Defender 110 and drive directly into a wood. We then spend half an hour crawling through muddy ruts, climbing slippery inclines and tackling treacherous descents - all on the same Continental tyre that was used to set that Ferrari 355 GTB-matching Nurburgring lap time. The SVR retains the standard car's mud-plugging toolkit and although those summer tyres do prevent it from conquering the most extreme terrain, we suspect it'll go a great deal further off-road than an X5M or Cayenne Turbo. We'll endeavour to find out.

The performance SUV is a difficult sort of car to find any good sense in, but when it retains some degree of off-road usability - as the Range Rover Sport SVR certainly does - it no longer seems like complete folly. This might just be the first time a sporting SUV has been both compelling and sensible.

0 Response to "Range Rover Sport SVR Test Drive"

Post a Comment

Silahkan tinggalkan komentar Anda disini. Mohon maaf jika komentar yang menyertakan link aktif, iklan, atau titip link, akan dimasukan ke folder SPAM.