(Trevor Lamenya) The Range Rover Sport has been the epitome of sheer SUV luxury for the past six years, gaining respect from its peers due to its unmatched breadth in its capabilities on and off tar.
Widely recognized as a status symbol for the high and mighty, the Range Rover Sport embodies sheer opulence and comfort second to none.
It is in this light that the team behind the success of the Range Rover sport, shipped motor journalists from key African markets to the exclusive Sabi Sabi bush resort in the heart of Madiba’s homeland, just to experience the car’s ability over different types of terrain.
Despite being a spectacular SUV, JaguarLandrover have done subtle upgrades to the range rover sport model range, with much emphasis on the exterior, engine and transmission systems.
Cosmetically the car went through a nip and tuck process quite visible at the frontal aperture; the headlamp’s reflective surface has been darkened to illustrate its more aggressive nature which is enhanced with the grill, air vents and the tail gate strip emblazoned with the cars name plate,
At the heart this car, JLR have added a revised version of the capable V6 twin turbo diesel engine, which also does service in the Jaguar XF-S.
Power output has risen from 218 to 278bhp thanks to revised fuel pressure delivered in to the engine by advanced piezzo injectors. Range Rover’s engineers also increased boost pressures to the 1.8 bar, therefore spreading the torque curve for greater response and pulling power, delivering 600Nm from as low as 1800rpms.
Also added to the stable is the now famous 5.0 litre supercharged V8 power plant that reigns supreme in the Jaguar XJ SuperSport, delivering 510 rabid horses and immense pulling power of 625Nm. Enough to tug a 747 jumbo jet.
After a detailed presentation by JaguarLandrover, it was time to put to test the Sport’s ability to take a hard beating over the twisty roads in the Nelspruit Mountains in South Africa.
While taking charge of the Autobiography variant, I was taken by surprise that a car of this size and stature was very composed on sharps and crests unlike many of its peers.
According to the technical guy in charge of development, the Range Rover Sport has a wide array of features that try and maintain stability by eliminating body roll to a bare minimum, thanks to electronic torsion bars and a host of nanny aids.
Hitting the road at excessive speeds over 140kph, the Sport maintained composure and assurance never seen before. To demonstrate its stopping power, the Range Rover team set up a braking test at the Sabi Sabi airstrip, the first one at 60kph to zero, 120kph to zero and 160kph to zero.
The results were an astounding efficient braking system; with a braking distance comparatively similar to the Jaguar XJ, which is a much lighter car.
The highlight for this braking test was the slalom test at 60kp and 80kph, which involved driving in a straight line full of cones spaced out and trying to avoid knocking them down. It proved to be the most difficult test I have done so far but with great results.
In summary the range rover still retains a substantial advantage over the competition. Its ability to be the perfect all rounder makes it the best four by four by far.