2015 Land Rover Range Rover Sport | Road Test
* Phenomenal Meridien audio system that is an absolute joy to turn up.
* Sheer power is simply exhilarating.
* Impressive low-end torque.
* An alarming amount of wind noise creeps into the cabin at highway speeds.
* Utterly pointless paddle shifters and manual mode as the transmission swaps cogs when the RPM needle hits the limiter any way.
Introduction & Summary
When Land Rover introduced the Range Stormer to the world in 2004 at the North American International Auto Show, a sense of bewilderment proceeded to fill the air, along with the minds of journalists, enthusiasts and individuals all around the globe. But while people questioned the brand’s actions, it was the British marque’s first attempt at building something other than utilitarian rigs and a precursor to what was in store the following year: the Range Rover Sport.
Eleven years on, there is enough reason to suggest that the brand has found a cosy niche on the outskirts of its comfort zone. With sales following an upward trend since its inception and no direct competitors to steal its shine, we put the 2,310 kg Range Rover through its paces to judge if it’s worthy of the Sport insignia on its derriere.
Styling & Design
Embracing the DNA that it shares with its kinfolk, the second-generation 2015 Range Rover Sport flaunts an outer shell that borrows cues from the Evoque and its elder brother to form a fine balance of familiarity and individuality. Simply put, it’s design has evolved well over time.
Within the cabin, however, there are hints that suggest the designers’ creativity simply ran a little dry. Although swathed in fine leather and Morzine trim, a strong sense of apathy is made prominent with all the bits nicked from the Jaguar parts bin.
Although positioned as a performance SUV, the 2015 Range Rover Sport is not restricted to the tarmac. Remaining true to its roots, it is fitted with the renowned Terrain Response system that we’ve all come to love here at AutoMiddleEast. The system allows for adjustments to be made to the suspension, gearing and traction control systems simultaneously with the simple twist of a knob.
Other features amongst a virtually endless list include Cornering Brake Control (CBC) and an Intelligent Four-Wheel Drive system that maintains stability when cornering by adjusting brake pressure and reducing engine torque to correct understeer or oversteer.
Performance, Ride & Handling
Out on the open roads, the Range Rover Sport does a fabulous job of trying to prove that the badge on its rear isn’t just a pretentious claim. A dip of the accelerator pedal is all it takes for the Brit to emit operatic symphonies from its exhaust tips and sprint forward in a graceful, balletic manner.
Providing the grunt to charge down asphalt and rip up treacherous sand dunes, is a 5.0 litre Supercharged V8 engine that packs in 503 horsepower and 625 Nm of torque. What the figures translate into, are the capability to touch 100 km/h in 5.3 seconds and more than enough power to challenge even the sharpest of dunes effortlessly.
In the sand, it doesn’t take long to observe just how wonderfully the 8-speed automatic transmission, un-intrusive traction control system and Terrain Response System interact with one another. Locking and unlocking differentials automatically, it ensures an abundance of power is present at all times.
With suspension settings limited to only height alterations, there are times when the option to stiffen the ride up further wouldn’t go amiss. For instance, when indulging in some loutish behaviour either on or off the tarmac.
Comfort & Practicality
Keeping with the other offerings from the brand, the 2015 Range Rover Sport bears a distinctive identity within the cabin that makes it an unmistakable offering from the British marque. However, while it isn’t uncomfortable on any count, the use of dark colours and the sheer chunky-ness of it all are a little overwhelming, to say the least.
Dimensionally measuring 4,850 mm long, 2,073 mm wide and 1,780 mm tall, the Range Rover Sport isn’t exactly small. Yet, it remains effortless to navigate through the city and in parking lots due to its phenomenal outward visibility and 12.6 metre turning circle. Contributing to its practicality is its boot space that measures 784 litres with the second-row seats in use, or an impressive 1,652 litres when stowed away.
Price & Verdict
Land Rover is adamant on promoting the Range Rover Sport as ‘The Most Dynamic Land Rover Ever Built’ – something they seem to carry in their promotional activities as well. But while it may be the case, we wanted to find out by just how much.
Although we wouldn’t call ourselves a numerically-gifted bunch at AutoMiddleEast, we whipped out our calculators to do a little math before concluding this review. Taking the Range Rover Sport’s horsepower output (503 horsepower) and its weight into consideration (5,093 lb) we arrived at a power-to-weight ratio of 0.100 hp / lb. We then proceeded to compare this to the full-bodied Range Rover that emits the same amount of power and weighs 5,137 lb to arrive at a figure of 0.099 hp / lb.
What we’re trying to say is that the Range Rover Sport isn’t a performance SUV for the hardcore enthusiast and the numbers don’t lie. Yes, it is 0.1 seconds quicker to the 100 km/h mark than its full-grown sibling. Yes, it is 44 lb lighter on the weighing scales. Yes, it is AED 20,000 more affordable. But unfortunately, that’s all it really is; negligibly better than its elder sibling.
To find something that isn’t fictitiously sporty and that falls into the same price range, you’re better off paying a visit to the AMG arsenal.