Sometimes in this role I get to do some things that are an incredibly fulfilling experience. Driving the Range Rover Sport SVR is one of these experiences. SVR vehicles are built by the Special Operations section.
“At Special Vehicle Operations our passionate team push the boundaries of performance, luxury and capability to meet and exceed the expectations of the most Discerning Land Rover customers.” Michael Van Der Sande Managing Director – Special Operations
Range Rover Sport SVR Exterior
SVR has a distinguishing appeal about it that extends far beyond the normal Sport look. Starting with the unique bonnet design in optional carbon fibre composite which can be specified in the vehicle’s body colour or in the striking, exposed Gloss Black Carbon Fibre as in our vehicle. SVR’s muscular stance is complemented further by a mesh grille with SVR badging and new side fender vents in Narvik Black. The look is completed with Pixel LED headlights and distinct signature Daytime Running Lights.
At the rear there are four large, chrome tipped exhaust pipes and the distinctive SVR badge, that lets the world know there is something special under the skin.
For a large vehicle it cuts a svelte shape that belies its size and real 4WD capability. From its low fully integrated family front grill is slopes in a linear fashion through to the rear. Its lines are subtle yet impressive. The large 21inch wheel, 275/45 R21 tyre combination fills the muscular bulging wheel arches (there is even a full size spare). This is one fine looking beast.
Other exterior features of the SVR include: Automatic headlights, follow me home lighting, Centre high mounted stop light, rear fog lights, headlight power wash, roof rack mounting provisions, heated rear window, acoustic laminated windscreen, rain sensing windscreen wipers and integrated exhaust.
Range Rover Sport SVR Interior
Stepping inside the Range Rover Sport is like stepping into a lounge room. The new lightweight, special SVR partial Windsor leather, quilted seats are extremely comfortable with integrated headrest, adequate squab length and plush side bolsters for hips and shoulders. Along with the embossed SVR logo, they are multiply electronically adjustable so that even larger drivers such as myself can find a comfortable driving position. This is aided by the electronically adjustable leather thick steering wheel. My immediate impression siting in the SVR is that this really feels like home. It has an unusual, comfortable ambience.
The steering wheel itself houses a number of controls, that once you get used to them increase user efficiency. They are a little touch sensitive though, requiring a definite touch in just the right spot. The two stalks behind the wheel sit proud of the steering wheel spokes to allow good visibility without taking your eyes off the road. There are paddle shift selectors, which I still didn’t use. The 12inch customisable instrument panel allows the driver to select the view that best suits them.
This optional heads up display presents key data such as speed, navigation and gear position on the windscreen so you never have to take your eyes off the road. It utilises lasers to avoid ‘washout’ and is configurable to your preferences. Visibility from the driver’s seat is excellent, with clear rear view and large external side mirrors and the brilliant all round camera system displayed on the 10 inch screen in the centre stack.
Rear seat passengers are also treated to luxury. Again there isn’t as much room as you might expect but the individually tailored seats are sculptured to provide maximum comfort for two passengers.. While there is plenty of head and shoulder room, the leg, knee room is a little restricted. The front seats also seem to dominate a touch. Occupants have controls for the multi-zone air-conditioning as well as USB ports etc.
In contrast the boot space is quite large with a load tie down system along with the 60/40 split rear seats provides a flexible load area. It provides around 780L in 5 seat configuration, and the shape allows useful space for all the luggage.
Range Rover Sport SVR Features
Like all Range Rovers there is a long list of standard features equalled by a long options list. This allows more personalisation of the vehicle. Some key features however like the centre console and stack again puts occupant comfort at the forefront. The console bin not only provides a good arm rest but houses a chilled section for cool drinks. Sitting next to the drivers hips is the transmission hub. This houses the electronic controls for some features such as auto stop start, hill descent control, in addition to the controls for the brilliant 4WD system. Next to the transmission lever is a covered section for cups, out of the way.
The sloping centre stack allows easy access to the A/C controls and above that is the large 10 inch touchscreen. This houses the InControl Touch Pro’s next-generation hardware and software systems. Designed to advance Range Rover Sport’s connectivity and entertainment to the highest level, this is a system that takes a little getting used to. It features a 10” Touchscreen, Touch Pro Navigation and a Range Rover Audio System. It also displays the surround car camera system as previously mentioned. Once you are familiar with it, it is very easy to use.
There are also little luxury touches throughout like the ambient interior lighting, one touch anti trap electronic windows, illuminated visor vanity mirrors, 2 zone climate control air conditioning system, dual lockable glove boxes and grab handles everywhere.
Sport SVR Engine and Drivetrain
The SVR is powered by the awesome 5.0L SCV8 and produces power of 423 kW @ 6500 rpm and torque of 700Nm @ 3550 rpm. This is delivered to the wheels through a silky smooth 8 speed transmission. To assist with driving stability and safety the SVR also possesses Terrain Response 2 with Dynamic Program, Electronic Active Differential with Torque Vectoring by Braking and Dynamic Response along with Sports electronic air suspension.
The SVR will accelerate from 0-100kmh in 4.5 seconds and top out at 283km/h. The new performance flagship features bold design revisions and increased use of lightweight materials to enhance performance, handling and agility. Coupled with changes to the chassis, the new SVR delivers more dynamic responses without compromising traditional Range Rover comfort. The engineers at SVO focused on controlling pitch under heavy acceleration and braking, and changes to the damping hardware have improved turn-in, mid-corner grip and body control.
Range Rover Sport SVR Driving Experience
This is what the SVR is all about! Where do I start? Some vehicles, when you first jump in just seem to fit. Like pulling on an old pair of jeans, that fit perfectly, you feel comfortable and feel you can do anything in them. Range Rover Sport SVR just fitted me from the moment I first heard the exhaust burble on start up. I hadn’t even sat in it yet.
Driving experience starts with how comfortable you, as the driver, can be. When I sat inside, again, it just fitted. The SVR sports seats could possibly be the most comfortable I have ever sat in. Little things like the foot rest placement, height of the window sills, positioning of the steering wheel, lumbar support, ease of entry and exit, everything came together like a jigsaw puzzle to provide superb driver ergonomics.
Start the engine, hear and feel the burble and head off. Firstly you notice that there is nothing pretentious or demanding about the SVR. In fact you could be forgiven for questioning the performance, as it potters so easily around town. Some sport SUV’s are niggly and temperamental when pottering, they are better when driven fast and almost downright uncomfortable when driven slowly. Not the SVR.
This is after all a Range Rover and luxury cruising is what you expect. It’s quiet, the suspension is compliant, if a little reluctant over sharp speed bumps and progress is easy and relaxed. You can drive the SVR in a relaxed manner every day. On the freeway, around town, picking up the kids or going to the shops, the SVR is a normal luxury SUV, albeit with a faint exhaust burble providing aural teasing.
Find a nice piece of tight twisty road, either leave the drive program in auto or switch to dynamic, plant the right foot, and all hell breaks loose. Even though the SVR will propel the occupants from 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds and will run faster than almost every other SUV on varied surfaces, the real purpose of such a vehicle is transporting the family from point A to point B in luxury, comfort and style while providing a truly engaging experience for the driver.
Driving the SVR like this requires dramatic reshaping of perspective. Like the Audi SQ7, this is a 2500kg behemoth that feels like it’s a BMW M2. Driving fast the SVR is smooth, provides direct response to driver inputs, composed and almost impossible to unsettle.
There is no delay, simply an explosion of torque that shoves you into the seat and off you go. There is direct response through the accelerator and the electric power assisted steering. I’m sure that you could push the SVR to excess of its limits, however that is a level far beyond my courage and available road conditions. There is no white knuckle moments, no “oh shit” exclamations, at all times the driver feels in total control. It simply does what it has to. And it does all this while the driver feels like they are sitting in a lounge chair.
Range Rover Sport SVR Dimensions
Let’s have a look at some of the dimensions and capabilities of the Range Rover Sport. The overall length is 4879mm with a wheelbase of 2923mm. It has a peak height of 18020mm and width of 2073mm (with folded mirrors). The kerb weight of the SVR is 2302kg. Turning circle kerb to kerb is 12.39m.
I find it hard to believe, neigh almost impossible to believe that buyers of the SVR would ever contemplate taking their vehicle off road. Even I, who desperately wanted to take some photos of the SVR on the beach, thought extremely hard about taking it there and declined. Imagine the agonising if it were actually my vehicle, well there would be none, I SIMPLY WOULDN’T DO IT.
However the design philosophy of Range Rover is that all vehicles must perform to their standards, so I guess that means that the SVR has similar capabilities as other Range Rover Sport vehicles. It is almost a given that buyers of the Range Rover Sport SVR are buying the aspiration of adventure rather than the actual participation. However that doesn’t diminish its capabilities.
So for those who may actually contemplate it, the off road configuration numbers are: approach angle of 26.9 degrees, rampover angle of 26.9 degrees and departure angle of 27.8 degrees. It has a wading depth of 800mm – 850mm standard to air suspension and an unladen ground clearance between 213mm – 278mm again standard or air suspension.
To further complement the capability the towing capacity is 3000kg, with a tow ball rating of 300kg and electronic towing stability aids.
Range Rover Sport SVR Safety
As you would expect the Range Rover Sport SVR is packed with all forms of driver assistance systems. These include: Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Low Traction Launch, Electronic Traction Control (ETC), Roll Stability Control (RSC), Cornering Brake Control (CBC), Hill Descent Control (HDC), Hill Launch Assist (HLA), Electric Parking Brake (EPB), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Gradient Acceleration Control (GAC), and Gradient Release Control (GRC).
Additional driver assistance systems include: Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Cruise Control and Speed Limiter, Low traction launch, Rear and Front Parking Aid and Rear view camera.
Safety features include: Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Emergency Brake Assist, Customer configurable auto lock, Power operated child locks, Front airbags, with passenger seat occupant detector and seat belt pre-tensioners.
Range Rover Sport SVR Fit for Purpose
As I mentioned, the true purpose of a sport SUV is to transport the family in luxury, comfort and provide an engaging experience for the driver. Rather than outright speed the point to point drive is more important. If this is the criteria, the SVR is perfectly designed for its purpose.
Range Rover Sport SVR Summary
The Range Rover Sport SVR is simply stunning. It will transport four occupants in complete luxury and comfort, along with all their luggage. It has true 4WD capabilities, that to be honest very few, if any owners will ever explore. Along with awesome performance it possesses balanced ride and handling. It can be easily driven around every day as if hiding what lies beneath, yet will blast into action whenever asked without any hint of fuss.
The SVR is expensive and comes with a long list of options to make it even more expensive. Is it worth twice as much as a BW X4 M40i or another half again on an Audi SQ7? I’m not sure, only the buyer can decide. I know this much, after driving all of them, I would be happy with any of them, but if I could afford it I would buy the SVR without hesitating.
Also look at:
- Superb driver engagement
- On/Off road capability
- No Apple/Android connectivity
- Rear seat knee room restricted
Model Range Rover Sport SVR
- Model Price From $237,828 MLP*
- Engine 0L SCV8
- Drivetrain 8 Sp AT 4WD
- Power 423 kW @ 6500 rpm
- Torque 700 Nm @ 3500 rpm
- Safety TBA ANCAP
- CO2 294 g/km
- Economy 8L/100 km ADR
- Servicing Fixed price plan
- Tow Rating Max 3000 kg
- Tow Ball Rating 300 kg
- Warranty 3 Yrs / 100,000 km 3 Yrs Roadside Assist
*Includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of options.
Overall Rating 92/100
- Behind the Wheel 10
- Comfort 10
- Equipment 9
- Practicality 9
- Performance 10
- Ride & Handling 10
- Fit for Purpose 9
- Towing Ability 9
- Off Road Ability 9
- Value for Money 7