For over a decade, Land Rover’s Range Rover Sport has been the smaller and more exciting alternative to their timeless and traditional full-size SUV. Since we have a 2015 full-size HSE in our inventory, we welcomed spending a week with a new Range Rover Sport V8 featuring the Autobiography package.
(2015 Range Rover Sport Pictured Above)
The Sport’s second generation debuted for the 2014 model year, and many derided the fact that it grew in size, becoming much closer to the full size model in the process. This was a logical step in order to make room in the lineup for the Evoque. Bigger in this case is better. Land Rovers have never quite been comparable in size to American SUVs, as they are built for narrow British roads. This is why we don’t mind the Sport gaining a few inches. If the body was steel, this increase would be more detrimental, but like big brother, the Sport is a mostly aluminum construction.
The exterior may be hip and edgy, but that ethos didn’t carry over to the interior. If you have owned a Land Rover product in the past decade you will feel at home. Insulation is where the Sport really shines. There is no wind or road noise, and even the A/C vents blowing at full blast make less noise than most cars we encounter. Cruising at 70 mph is as close to being in a leather lined library as you will ever get. This also helps the audio system reproduce sound much more efficiently and clearly than the competition. The window sticker lists the Meridian Signature Audio at only 1,700 watts with 19 speakers. It is probably one of the best factory audio systems of all time.
A home-theater-quality audio system is just one of the reasons why you need to drive one. Other parts of the Autobiography package are a fridge in the center console, configurable mood lighting, 16-way climate controlled seats and Shadow Zebrano wood trim. Truly, no luxury was overlooked.
Turbochargers are all the rage due to their ability to multiply an engine’s power output with almost negligible impacts on maintenance. Jaguar Land Rover chose the road less traveled and have repowered their lineup with traditional roots style superchargers. Unlike a turbo, which lies sleeping until you need it, a supercharger is spun by a belt on the engine. The blower is always spinning so this Land Rover has more power than you will ever need. Rated at 510 hp and 461 lb-ft, a wide open throttle releases the Kraken. You need to have a mile of open road in front of you, because this SUV accelerates as if it has been strapped to an ACME rocket. The only downside is that supercharged engines love to breathe, and since this exhaust is designed to not disturb the country club crowds, provoking the loud pedal is not as rewarding as it could be.
Our urban test loop doesn’t feature any African Savanna, Arabian desert or frozen tundra to traverse, but their sales literature assures us that we would be safe, as long as premium 93 octane fuel can be found in abundance. Rated at 14 mpg city and 19 mpg highway, thirst is the price to be paid by a supercharged V8 with permanent 4WD. Speaking of price, the sum total for the most well-appointed Sport model ever made is $98,107. This places it slightly above the lesser trim levels of the full-size Range, but much less expensive than a similarly equipped G63 AMG. Stay tuned to Autofluence for more Land Rover news and reviews.