At first glance the Range Rover Sport SVR should be recognisable, if somewhat different from how you remember it. This is the pumped-up, pimped-out Sport, and while that might seem a world away from a typical Range Rover the reality is buyers want more – which the SVR supplies in spades.
So with an SVR you get 20-inch wheels (with the option of 21s) and other modest external flourishes including more vents at the front, sides skirts and a large spoiler on top of the tailgate. More importantly there’s more power under the bonnet from the 5.0-litre supercharged V8 and revised damper settings for better control. The interior also gets some smart new seats and a retrim.
If it’s subtle you’re after then the SVR might not be for you. Sure, finished in black you might mistake it for a standard car but one brief blat from the exhaust will change all that. It squats on its huge wheels and the big front air vents – essential for cooling the engine and brakes – certainly give it some significant menace. It’s clear that Land Rover is going Porsche chasing with the SVR, and although the name tag is new it probably won’t be long before the SVR logo signifies business.
Happily the SVR doesn’t give away much in the way of practicality compared to the standard Range Rover Sport. The only concession is the reshaped rear seat, which while still offering three seat belts is really optimised for two. However, there’s still plenty of space front and rear, and although it’s not as big as a full-size Range Rover you should be able to deal with most eventualities. It even retains a useful amount of off-road ability; quite a lot more than anyone spending this much money would dare use in any case.
Right from the moment you start the engine the SVR lets you know that performance is the name of the game. There’s a snarl from the exhaust that wouldn’t be out of place in something with two seats, and there’s the performance to back it up; the SVR has 543bhp to power it and you hear every single one of them as it tears along. For a car weighing 2.3 tonnes the SVR is hilariously fast.
It doesn’t fall apart when you try to do something other than go in a straight line either. Sure it’s tall but the steering is sharper than the standard car and helps you accurately place it on the road. The suspension changes are modest but the SVR can be hurled about with impressive ease for something so large, and the brakes are more than a match for the performance. Ultimately it’s huge fun, but capable of being calm and controlled when you need it to be.
Make no mistake, the SVR is an expensive car; £93,450 before options to be precise, but then you are in no doubt that you’re getting a lot for your money. The sporty new seats, leather everywhere, a slick infotainment system (although there’s a high-end Meridien system for another £5k), climate control, reversing camera – you name it. It’s worth remembering at this end of the market price isn’t so much of an issue as it is a badge of honour.
Anyone who thinks the standard Range Rover Sport Supercharged – 0-62mph in 5.5 seconds and 155mph flat out – isn’t quite fast enough will love the SVR, and while that might seem like a pretty small audience the truth is that the SUV market continues to grow whether you’re spending £10,000 or £100,000. It’s no harder to live with than any other Range Rover (with the possible exception of petrol station visits) yet is undoubtedly more fun than any other.
Engine: 5.0-litre petrol unit producing 543bhp and 502lb/ft of torque
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic driving all four wheels
Performance: Top speed 162mph, 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds
Economy: 22.1mpg combined
Emissions: 291g/km of CO2