Motoring: The Range Rover Sport

THIS is the new Range Rover Sport, lauded by Land Rover as its fastest, most agile car ever. Unveiled on Monday in New York, the SUV has been pared back to boost its driver appeal, without losing anything in terms of prestige and go-anywhere prowess.

CAR Range Rover Sport SDV6 and Supercharged V8

PRICE £60,000-£82,000 (est)

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PERFORMANCE Max speed 130-140mph; 0-60mph 5.0-6.8secs

MPG (combined) No figures available

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CO2 EMISSIONS 199-298g/km

Generous use of lightweight aluminium in the body panels and chassis has helped reduce the weight of the car by as much as 420kg, which Land Rover says translates to sharper handling and lower fuel bills, although official economy figures are awaited.

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For the first time, the Range Rover Sport will be offered as a seven-seater – a pair of folding seats in the boot are said to be suitable for children, or adults on short journeys.

Land Rover design director Gerry McGovern said: “The new Range Rover Sport is the ultimate luxury SUV. Alongside the all-new Range Rover and the Range Rover Evoque, the new Sport represents the third distinct product in Land Rover’s product revolution.”

The car will be launched with a choice of two engines – a 3.0-litre, 288bhp V6 diesel and, for those with an oilfield to call their own, a 503bhp supercharged 5.0-litre V8 petrol. A 
diesel hybrid and a V8 diesel will follow next year. However, Land Rover says that weight-reduction measures could pave the way for a pocket-friendly line of Range Rovers Sports with smaller, lighter four-cylinder engines.

Changes over the previous generation Sport include an extra 178mm between the front and rear wheels, to improve passenger space in the back. The sweeping lines of the front and rear light cluster echo those of the Range Rover, while a sloping roofline is a nod to the Evoque.

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Although geared towards on-road driving, the Range Rover Sport promises to be no slouch off it. Maximum ground clearance has been upped by 51mm to 278mm (although everyone inside the car sits 20mm closer to the ground than before) and the revised Land Rover Terrain Response system automatically selects the best suspension, throttle and transmission settings for driving conditions.

Land Rover brand director John Edwards says: “The Range Rover Sport is one of the most road-focused vehicles we’ve ever produced, but of course still offers unsurpassed all-terrain 
capability. We’ve taken ride, handling and 
agility to another level for Land Rover.”