Performance – The Range Rover Sport’s base engine now happens to be a 2.0-litre unit, offered in the same tune as the F-Type P300, thus it produces 300 PS and 400 Nm which might seem less for an SUV that tips the scales at 2.1 tonnes but the tuning of the motor is such that performance is adequate. There is good punch throughout the rev range, low-end lag is well contained but it’s really past 2000 RPM that the engine comes into its own and starts to pull strongly, all the way till 6500 RPM where it redlines. 0-100 km/hr is claimed at 7.3 seconds while the top speed is a shade over 200 km/hr.
The petrol engine is very refined and offers good enough performance along with a sporty exhaust note
This might be a 4-cylinder engine but sounds really nice and is terrifically refined at low revs, to the point it feels as if the mill isn’t running but gets very vocal past 4000 RPM, in a good way. Mated to this engine is an 8-speed gearbox which although smooth with shifts, isn’t the fastest at lower speeds. The Range Rover Sport doesn’t get any drive modes that alter the vehicle’s behaviour, although there are off-road modes and the only way to extract the most out of the engine is to slot the gear lever into S. Fuel economy in real-world conditions is 7-8 km/l (there is a start-stop function too), thus Land Rover has given the petrol Range Rover Sport a bigger fuel tank at 104-litres, against the diesel’s 86-litres.
Driving Dynamics – The Range Rover Sport gets an air suspension and as soon as you cross 105 km/hr, the car lowers itself by 15 mm. One can raise or decrease the ride height with a touch of a button, you sit really high and get a commanding view of the road ahead. Ride quality is fantastic and on the 20-inch wheels of our test car, we found the vehicle gliding over the worst of roads. The suspension is on the stiffer side and it’s only the sharp bumps that catch out the car.
Ride quality is truly remarkable and the steering conveys excellent feedback
Handling is good by SUV standards although there is roll which can be felt around the corners but the steering offers terrific feel and feedback, weighing up very well at higher speeds. The Range Rover Sport is equipped with a slew of electronics, including a lane keep assist which works flawlessly, collision alert and Adaptive Dynamics which monitors vehicle movement 500 times a second and adjusts the damping for a smooth ride. The brakes offer strong stopping power and there is aeons of grip on offer from the 4-wheel drive system.