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Range Rover Sport goes plug-in

Hot wired: The plug-in hybrid Range Rover Sport P400e is the harbinger of things to come from JLR, with every model in the Jaguar and Land Rover ranges set to get electrified variants by 2020.

JLR switches on electrification program with plug-in Range Rover Sport

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Land Rover logo4 Oct 2017

By RON HAMMERTON

JAGUAR Land Rover (JLR) has confirmed that its first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) will debut next year in the upcoming facelifted Range Rover Sport range that is set to roll into Australia in April.

The British company has also revealed some details of a more powerful Range Rover Sport SVR, this time boasting 423kW of power from the supercharged 5.0-litre petrol V8 that can propel the flagship of the Sport range from zero to 100km/h in 4.5 seconds – 0.2s faster than the current 405kW SVR.

Theoretically, all variants in the 2018 range will be available from the outset, although JLR Australia is still awaiting confirmation of production schedules and shipping.

The PHEV wagon will be badged Range Rover Sport P400e – P for plug-in and 400 representing the horsepower of the 297kW/640Nm petrol-electric powertrain.

It will be just the first such electrified vehicle from JRL which has promised to introduce a form of electric propulsion in all of its Land Rover and Jaguar models by 2020.

JLR says the new Range Rover Sport variant can travel up to 51km on its 85kW electric motor before the 221kW 2.0-litre Ingenium petrol engine kicks in.

Officially, fuel consumption on the European combined test cycle is just 2.8 litres per 100km, easily making it the most efficient model in Land Rover armoury.

The P400e will go up against a growing battery of rivals in the luxury large SUV segment, including the Mercedes-Benz GLE500e Hybrid, BMW X5 xDrive40e, Volvo XC90 T8, upcoming Audi Q7 e-tron and next Porsche Cayenne Hybrid. To date, most of these vehicles are priced in the $120,000-$130,000 range.

Pricing for specific Range Rover Sport variants are yet to divulged, with JLR Australia only saying that pricing will start from $95,100 plus on-road costs.

This represents a $4200 increase on the current price of entry, the $90,900 2.0-litre SD4S. Range Rover Sport prices currently top out at $225,500 for the SVR. 2018 prices are expected to be announced in coming weeks.

JLR Australia managing director Matthew Wiesner said Australian Range Rover customers will be able to experience “zero-emission near-silent on and off-road luxury without compromising any off-road capability”.

“The pace of change is exhilarating, and the 2018 Range Rover Sport is our first commitment towards our 2020 commitment,” he said.

The P400e, SVR and other petrol and diesel Range Sport variants are set to feature a raft of cosmetic and technology changes in the 2018 range.

“Intelligent” LED headlights, a new-look grille and an upgraded infotainment system are among the range-wide changes.

For the PHEV variant, electricity is supplied from a 13.1kWh lithium-ion battery under the rear seat to the electric motor within the ZF eight-speed automatic transmission.

JLR says the battery can be charged in less than three hours with a 32amp rapid charger or seven hours 30 minutes from a standard 10amp home socket.

The powertrain offers two modes, parallel hybrid and EV. Parallel hybrid is the default driving mode, switching between electric and petrol propulsion.

In this standard mode, the driver can select a save function that prevents the battery dropping below a pre-selected level, or Predictive Energy Optimisation which employs GPS altitude data to maximise fuel economy by intelligently switching between petrol and electric power.

In EV mode, the driver simply locks in battery power for the duration of the journey up to 51km, say for the daily commute.

The new Touch Pro Duo infotainment system features two high-definition 10-inch touchscreens offering what JLR describes as “intuitive, engaging interface and unrivalled functionality”.

Up to 14 power sockets – including a domestic three-pin powerpoint – enable the occupants to keep all their devices topped up.

Like other new JLR models, the P400e can be unlocked and locked by a wrist-worn “activity key”, precluding the need to carry a key fob.

The sunroof sunblind can be opened and closed with a wave of a hand in front of the rearview mirror.

The P400e also gets JLR’s Advanced Tow Assist to guide towed trailers when reversing, using the console-mounted terrain control knob.

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