LAND Rover has given its super-successful Range Rover Sport a thorough pull-through for the 2010 model year, with an expanded and more expensive 10MY range set for release in Australia early next month – just weeks after its European launch.
The upgraded Rangie Sport line-up benefits from a range of technical and equipment improvements also seen on the 10MY Discovery and Range Rover Vogue, but it is the only SUV of the improved trio to score all three bristling new petrol and diesel engines from Jaguar’s XF sedan.
Opening the sportiest Range Rover’s account is the 3.0 TDV6, which at $99,900 costs $9000 more than the 2.7 TDV6 it replaces. Its 3.0-litre twin-turbo diesel V6 is a development of the 2.7-litre single-turbo engine that carries on in Australia’s 10MY Discovery.
And what a development it is. While the 2.7 offered up a respectable 140kW of power and 440Nm of torque, the 3.0 pumps out 29 per cent more peak power (180kW at 4000rpm) and some 36 per cent more torque, with a class-leading 600Nm at 2000rpm.
So while 0-100km/h acceleration tumbles from 12.7 to 9.3 seconds, so too does fuel consumption – from a combined average of 10.0 to 9.2L/100km (down 8.9 per cent) – and CO2 emissions, by 8.3 per cent to 243g/km.
There’s no doubting the claims, either, with fuel economy numbers hovering around the 10s during the combined global and Australia 10MY launch drive in Scotland last week, despite plenty of spirited driving.
But the biggest surprise from the new diesel V6, which also powers some top-end Citroen and Peugeot models, is the way it delivers more performance than the 2.7 more quietly and more smoothly right across the rev range.
It truly is a significant step forward from its already-satisfying predecessor and with 83 per cent of peak torque (500Nm) available in a claimed 500 milliseconds, its considerable response arrives virtually without delay.
While Land Rover’s even more impressive 200kW/640Nm TDV8 diesel carries over unchanged in the 10MY range (in which it still returns 11.1L/100km and 294g/km), two versions are now available, meaning it should continue to be the most popular variant within the five-seat Discovery-based Rangie Sport range.
The base TDV8 now costs $120,500 (up from $118,900), while a new TDV8 Luxury grade hikes the price by $15,000 to $135,500.
Similarly, two petrol V8 variants are now also on offer – for $125,900, which is $7000 more than the price of the outgoing Range Sport 4.4 V8, and $138,900. Like the V6 diesel, however, the V8 petrol Sport is worlds ahead of the model it replaces.
Also from the XF is an all-new direct-injection 5.0-litre petrol V8 featuring an industry-first centrally-mounted multi-hole spray-guided fuel-injection system to deliver 25 per cent more power than the 4.4 (276kW at 6500rpm – up from 220kW) and 16 per cent more torque (510Nm at 3500rpm – up from 427Nm).
The result is 6.8 per cent lower fuel consumption (13.9L/100km) and 7.1 per cent lower CO2 emissions (326g/km), while the 0-100km/h acceleration time plummets to just 7.6 seconds, making the Rangie Sport V8 more than 1.5 seconds quicker than both the TDV6 (9.3 seconds) and TDV8 (9.2).
Eclipsing even this performance, however, is the muscle of Jaguar Land Rover’s new supercharged 5.0-litre V8, which knocks out a cracking 375kW at 6000rpm (29 per cent more than the blown 4.2-litre V8 it succeeds) and no less than 625Nm of torque between 2500 and 5500rpm – up 12 per cent.
Courtesy of a sixth-generation twin-vortex blower, the performance is enough to rocket the 2590kg Rangie Sport Supercharged to 100km/h in a sportscar-like 6.2 seconds (18 per cent quicker than before), but at the same time average fuel consumption reduces by 6.2 per cent to 15.0L/100km, while CO2 emissions fall by seven per cent to 353g/km.
The top-shelf Rangie Sport is priced at $159,900, which is precisely $15,000 more than the price of the superseded Range Rover Sport 4.2 Super ($144,900).
That makes the new supercharged Sport a direct rival for similarly priced luxury super-SUVs such as BMW’s X6 50i ($146,000), Porsche’s Cayenne GTS ($161,900) and the Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG ($167,500), but the ballistic new force-fed Rangie Sport comes with the poise, refinement and, above all, seat-squashing power delivery to match the world’s most maniacal hyper-wagons.
It might not quite deliver the punchy off-idle response of, say, the ML63 AMG, but the ‘super Sport’ feels strong right across the rev range and always has acres of power in reserve at any speed. Its real forte, however, is a secondary burst of top-end power, just when you thought something this big and heavy couldn’t get any faster, between about 5000 and 6500rpm in ALL six gears.
But engines are the only things upgraded in the 10MY Rangie Sport, which comes with a classier, more upmarket new interior and a similarly more luxurious frontal appearance courtesy of a new bumper with two-bar grille and headlights with LED elements, plus new tail-light clusters and a fresh rear bumper.
Of course, it is off-road capability that sets the most road-focussed Range Rover apart from its chief rivals and in this case both on and off-road performance has been improved by a host of chassis upgrades for 10MY.
Shared with the 10MY Rangie Vogue is a new Adaptive Dynamics variable damping system that works in conjunction with the existing Active Ride Control (ARC) system in the Supercharged flagship.
Combined with a new road-oriented Dynamic mode for the Terrain Response system, the system transforms the Supercharged model’s on-road composure, vastly reducing bodyroll to deliver handling that’s as performance car-like as its acceleration. Rounding out the uprated Supercharged package is a new Brembo package with six-piston front brake callipers and 380mm discs.
Mechanical changes common to all 10MY Sports include a stiffer lower front suspension arm bush to improve feel at speed, complemented by a revised variable-ratio steering rack, new understeer and roll stability control systems, the addition of gradient release control to the hill descent control system and a version of the previous supercharged model’s four-piston brake system for non-blown models.
Other new Range Rover Sport features include a Portable Audio Interface, tow assist, high beam assist, keyless entry, push-button starting and a new five-camera 'surround' system that makes lighter work of parking, towing and off-road manoeuvring.
The 3.0 TDV6, 3.6 TDV8 and 5.0 V8 all come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission, cruise control, Terrain Response, an electric park brake, permanent four-wheel drive, a centre electronic differential with low-range transfer box, electronic cross-linked air suspension with automatic load levelling and multiple modes, power-assisted, speed-proportional steering, acoustic front and front-side glass, automatic wipers and headlights, heated power side mirrors, door puddle lamps and footwell lamps, front foglights, rear parking sensors and bi-Xenon headlights with cornering lamps and washers.
All also offer as standard 19x9.0-inch 15-spoke alloy wheels, an auto-dimming interior mirror, power one-touch windows, illuminated front vanity mirrors, eight-way power-adjustable front seats, leather seat and steering wheel trim, adjustable front armrests, 65/35-split folding rear seat, woodgrain trim, a 240-Watt eight-speaker Harman/Kardon sound system, five-inch TFT info screen, premium hard-disc navigation with voice control and off-road mapping, automatic central locking, Bluetooth phone connectivity and an alarm.
Standard safety systems across the range include electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), an all-terrain anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic traction control (ETC), dynamic stability control (DSC), electronic differential control (EDC), emergency brake assist (EBA), enhanced understeer control (EUC), hydraulic rear brake boost, roll stability control (RSC), trailer stability assist, hill descent control (HDC) with gradient release control (GRC) and twin front, front-side and side curtain airbags.
In addition, the TDV8 and 5.0 V8 offer a rear view camera as standard, while the TDV8 Luxury and 5.0 V8 Luxury models also score steering wheel-mounted shift paddles, a hybrid TV system, adaptive bi-Xenon headlights, Automatic High Beam Assist, front parking sensors, 20-inch 15-spoke alloy wheels, interior mood lighting, keyless entry, a memory pack, premium leather with powered front seat bolsters, a floor mat set, leather armrests/doortops and dashtop, and stainless steel tread plates.
The TDV8 Luxury also gains Adaptive Dynamics, while the flagship 5.0 V8 Supercharged comes with new Brembo high-performance brakes, Adaptive Dynamics, Dynamic Response, a 480-Watt 13-speaker Harmon/Kardon Audio Logic 7 Surround sound system, door mirror approach lamps, chromed exhaust outlet, lower front bumper and 20-inch five-spoke alloy wheels.