Future Models - Land Rover 2005 Range Rover Sport
First look: Range Sport debuts at Detroit
Extreme sport: Land Rover’s fifth model differs significantly from the concept car that debuted in Detroit in January.
Land Rover reveals first pictures of the production Range Rover Sport
2 December 2004
LAND Rover will take the final step in introducing its fifth model line at January’s Detroit motor show, where the all-new Range Rover Sport will make its production debut before going on sale here in late 2005.
Described as a sports tourer SUV and claimed to be the best-performing and best-handling vehicle Land Rover has built, the completed Range Rover Sport differs considerably from the Range Stormer concept that wowed the SUV-heavy 2004 Detroit show almost 12 months ago.
Apart from losing the show car’s obligatory super-sized alloy wheels, bonnet scoops and bulging wheel arches, Range Rover Sport’s biggest change – as revealed in the teaser shots that accompanied Land Rover’s pre-release information – is the addition of two doors.
As widely expected, Range Rover Sport will be a five-seat, five-door wagon that’s larger than the next generation Freelander but smaller than both the Ford-owned SUV company’s luxury Range Rover flagship and the Discovery 3 (due on sale here in April), with which it shares its integrated steel monocoque-on-ladder T5 chassis.
Codenamed L320, the new model will be priced below Range Rover to compete with the established performance SUV hierarchy led by BMW’s X5.
Interestingly, however, Land Rover steers clear of comparisons with Discovery, claiming the new model will realise a best-in-class range of ability while complementing Range Rover by offering “inspiring and refined on-road performance”.
But there’s no doubt Range Rover Sport will deliver blistering performance both on-road and off. It will offer as standard Discovery 3’s Terrain Response adaptive chassis technology, as well as an impressive engine arsenal including the debut of Jaguar’s supercharged 287kW/550Nm 4.2-litre V8. Top speed of the flagship Rangie Sport will be electronically limited to 225km/h.
Also available will be the new Discovery’s 2.7-litre 440Nm turbo-diesel V6 and naturally-aspirated 220kW 4.4-litre V8 – both also mated to a six-speed sequential-shift ZF auto with standard low range.
"It takes us into the growing performance SUV market but is different from all rivals. We see it as a less frenetic, more refined alternative to existing performance SUVs," said Land Rover managing director Matthew Taylor.
"It is ideal for fast, comfortable, long-distance driving and practical enough for everyday use. Yet it is also exceptional off-road, offering better all-terrain ability than any competitor.
"Like all Land Rover products, it offers the broadest range of capability in its class. It also perfectly complements the existing Range Rover."
Unlike Discovery 3, Range Rover Sport is claimed to be one of the most aerodynamic SUVs and features a smooth yet powerful stance with a raked, trademark “floating” roof, clamshell bonnet and rear spoiler mounted on the single-piece rear aluminium tailgate with separately opening glass.
Featuring a 2750mm wheelbase (140mm shorter than Disco 3’s), all Sport models will come standard with four-wheel air suspension with double wishbones all round and speed-proportional variable ratio steering to promote low-speed agility and high-speed stability.
Honed at Germany’s Nurburgring circuit, the performance-tuned chassis features the premiere of Land Rover’s new Dynamic Response suspension system, which senses cornering forces, reacts to optimise body control and de-couples off-road. Four-piston Brembo front brakes will be standard on supercharged versions.
Other Land Rover firsts will include adaptive cruise control, while Range Rover Sport will also feature bi-Xenon adaptive front lighting, latest generation on and off-road satellite navigation, Harman/Kardon audio systems and a twin-screen DVD rear-seat entertainment system.
Exclusively a five-seater, Sport’s interior comprises premium leather, wood and metallic finishes, sports seats and a wrap-around cockpit.
"It is the best ‘driver's vehicle’ that Land Rover has ever made," Mr Taylor said.