Car Review: Pricey RR Sport all the rage | Business

Car Review: Pricey RR Sport all the rage | Business

Range Rover enthusiasts know a good thing when it stares them in the face, and the newest Sport is just that. It mirrors the kind of sportiness unique to this hefty four-wheeler riding on Pirelli Scorpion Zero 23-inch paws for off-road ruggedness and on pavement stability.

While not the largest SUV offered in the Land Rover lineup, we feel the Sport is one of the most fun to drive with oodles of high tech, luxurious interior amenities and unmatched high performance. Yes, it is expensive. Jaguar Land Rover is owned by Tata Motors of India, a $37 billion manufacturer of high-end cars, SUVs, trucks and defense vehicles.

We snagged the Sport First Edition top of the line model for a week of exhilarating driving. The tester delivered 523 ponies within a 4.4-liter V8 twin turbo that produced 553 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough to propel the more than 2½ ton mid-size SUV to 60 miles per hour in a scant 4.1 seconds using a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission. If you don’t have a need for mighty horses, there are smaller six-cylinder offerings starting in the $80s or, said differently, $52k less than the Sport First Edition we tested.

With its abundance of onboard off-road gear, we couldn’t resist taking it into the woods for some fun. Its Terrain Response system with selectable driving and off-road modes adjusts for gravel, snow, mud and ruts as well as rock crawl, sand and forging. This is a very capable vehicle.

Although you can manually fidget with all the Sport has to offer — with hill descent control, low traction launch, dynamic air suspension, all-wheel steer, electronic active differential and twin speed transfer case — we found there is an easier way. Lacking expert training, the system defaults to auto control. It senses what the tires are seeing and feeling, and computer adjusts to the right mode using air suspension to create more ground clearance and rear-wheel steering to manipulate the trail.

Back on pavement, the cabin is a quiet place to be with sound deadening material throughout and lavish seat coverings that pamper occupants with soft leathers, suede headliner, panoramic roof and premium cabin lighting and adjustable massaging seats up front.

Audiophiles will be thrilled with a 28-speaker Meridian sound system that includes stereo headrests for front seat occupants. A cabin air purification system is available to keep out unwanted allergens and viruses.

For all its opulence, we found back seat legroom tight although seats can be fully reclined. Cargo space is okay; however, golf bags will not fit horizontally.

High waist exterior lines give the Sport a rich look and quad exhaust tips show off the V8 rumble from the get-go.

If you are a fan of digital showcasing, the Sport will not disappoint. A curved 13.1-inch touchscreen dominates the center console and houses cabin comfort controls, audio and navigation features although we found drilling down required eyes off the road. A larger 13.7-inch screen in front of the driver displays instrument gauges in a straight-forward manner and provided meaningful feedback.

We’d recommend a test drive in the Range Rover Sport along with Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7 and Mercedes Benz GLE.

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