19 December 2022
Patrick Cruywagen takes a walk around the impressive new third generation Range Rover Sport
The dust has barely settled from the launch of the fifth generation Range Rover and JLR is now bringing you the third generation Range Rover Sport, with a starting price of £79,125 in the UK.
The Range Rover Sport first saw the light of day in 2005 at the Detroit Auto Show. To welcome it to the Land Rover family I decided to drive one to Victoria Falls from Johannesburg. On the road from Nata to Kasane in Botswana, I damaged two of the wheels in one large pothole. Nothing that a bit of heat and hammer couldn’t sort out and we were just about good to go again. After an elephant scratched the bonnet I decided that the RRS is a luxury, performance-focused sporty SUV and not for overland expeditions. In the elephant’s defence I had put some peanuts on the bonnet so that I could get a snap of it with the Rangey.
At the unveiling of the third generation RRS they showed us a video of the Bond stunt driver Jessica Hawkins driving it up a 193m-high dam wall in Iceland before driving it against water that was moving at 750 tonnes per minute. Lucky for her the Sport had decent off-road tyres or she would most certainly not have made it. Land Rover doesn’t sell the new RRS with the tyres she had on as an option, however. I like to think that I wouldn’t have damaged those aforementioned wheels if I too had some decent off-road tyres on. So, while Premiership footballers and the team at Urban Automotive might be licking their lips in anticipation at the sight of the 2022 RRS, it’s probably not something that will excite the average LRM reader.
An extra 75mm in the wheelbase will be appreciated by passengers.
Styling has gone ‘minimalist’
We can see from its styling that it is a RRS but the Land Rover designers have been at it with their futuristic and minimalist brushes. Here is what Jaguar Land Rover’s Creative Director, Gerry McGovern, had to say about it. “Our latest Range Rover Sport embraces fully our modernist approach of vehicle design whilst amplifying its unquestionable sporting and confident character. It is a redefinition of sporting luxury.”
While it may appear sleeker than its predecessor, the gen-3 RRS actually has a 75mm longer wheelbase. When looking at it from the side the designers told us it has three key lines: the roofline that slopes down towards the longest ever spoiler on a Land Rover; the angled, seamless waistline; and the lower line that shoots upwards towards the back where all three of these lines converge. To me it doesn’t look much bigger, a visual illusion helped by the short overhang in the front and the longer overhang at the back.
Other interesting differences to note are the flush-fitting door handles which we saw for the first time on the Velar, and the headlights and front grille are also way slimmer than its predecessor’s. I also spotted that the parking sensors are now better hidden. In an effort to make sure no one tries to drive an RSS up a kerb, you can have wheels up to 23-inch now, while the standard size is 20-inch.
For now, you can choose from between six powertrains, all mated to a ZF automatic gearbox. At the top of the pile is the BMW 4.4-litre twin-turbo which produces a massive 523bhp and can go from 0-60mph in just 4.3 seconds. We should see a faster SVR version of the new Range Rover Sport before that. When will we see an all-electric Range Rover Sport? You’ll have to wait until 2024. For now you will have to make do with two plug-in hybrid versions, the six-cylinder 3.0-litre petrol-engined P440e and P510e, which both have a 38.2kWh battery that JLR claims will provide a 70-mile electric-only range. There are three mild-hybrid options, two turbodiesels and one petrol. All are six-cylinders units, that power the D350 and diesels D300 and the P400 petrol.
You’ll need a degree in computer science to negotiate the RRS’s new screen-controlled systems
This is what Alex Heslop, Director of Electrical Engineering, Jaguar Land Rover, revealed: “It represents a technological revolution. A suite of advanced features catapults it into the future, delivering the most connected, intuitive and technologically rich experience for our customers.” At the heart of the interior is the curved floating 13.1-inch Pivi Pro touchscreen that stands alongside the 13.7-inch interactive driver display. You’ll be forgiven for thinking you are Captain Kirk. Amazon’s Alexa has been integrated into the RRS so you don’t need your smartphone to make her work. The vehicle’s 63 ECUs are capable of updating over the air. Then if things go properly awry you can just say, ‘Hey Land Rover’ and the cloud-based voice assistant will tell you how to change your wheel.
Drivers now sit 20mm lower in the new Range Rover Sport and have 31mm more legroom than before. While it might look a whole lot closer to the Tarmac, the RRS’s ground clearance is now 281mm in off-road mode and 216mm at standard suspension height: the latter is only slightly more than a Disco Sport. Boot space has shot up to 835 litres. We were told that the torsional stiffness is up by 35 per cent which will obviously help it to attain that sportier ride which Gerry so craves. The turning circle is now just under 11 metres, a big improvement over that of its predecessor.
For the first year of production there will be a First Edition, while standard trim levels are for the moment limited to SE and Autobiography. The order books are now open and expect to see the first of the new Range Rover Sports on the road from around September. Prices start from £79,125 – just like with the new Defender, expect that to climb quickly if you become trigger-happy on the configurator.
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