2013 Range Rover Sport unveiled
The new Range Rover Sport goes on sale in July and will compete with the likes of the BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne.
Like the recently launched Range Rover, it's also answering criticisms of the previous version with a complete redesign. Technically, the Sport is now closely linked with the Range Rover; it uses the same lightweight aluminium architecture, promising huge weight savings and commensurate efficiency and economy benefits. Land Rover is also promising that these weight savings – up to 420kg – will lead to far greater performance and on- and off-road agility. The company's engineers also claim that plenty of attention has been given to improving both ride and high-speed refinement.
It also gets a distinctive new design, which makes it look a lot leaner than the previous car, but still clearly one of the new Range Rover family, which also encompasses the new Evoque. However, it's more aggressively sculptured than the other two, especially at the front and rear.
What is the 2013 Range Rover Sport like inside?
The new Sport is longer, wider and lower than the outgoing model, benefiting both interior space and the ease of getting into and out of the back. For the first time it's also available with an optional third row of seats, costing around £1500.
This '+2' arrangement isn't for full-size occupants as in the Land Rover Discovery, but there is enough space for young teenagers. The extra, individual seats fold electrically into the boot floor, so there's no compromise to load space.
Up front, the cabin has the same simplicity as the new Range Rover, with most of the major functions and infotainment system controlled via the touch-screen. It does, though, lose the now familiar rotary-style gear selector and has a gearstick instead.
The biggest step forward is the tangible leap in quality. Cabin materials and craftsmanship are now virtually indistinguishable from the Range Rover's, especially in top-line models, which will get a leather, stitched dash top and digital dials, rather than conventional analogue ones. As with all Range Rovers, you can also specify an optional full-length glass panoramic roof that does wonders for the sense of space and airiness inside.
The driving position is still discernibly different from the Range-Rover's, however. Like the outgoing car, you sit lower and more snugly – much more like being in a saloon, in fact. So there's still the sense of sitting in it, rather than on it, but it maintains the so-called Land Rover 'command' driving position, so this isn't at the expense of all-round visibility.
What's under the 2013 Range Rover Sport's bonnet?
At launch there are just two engines, both familiar from the JLR stable: a 288bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel, and the 503bhp 5.0-litre V8 supercharged petrol.
Early next year the range will grow to include a 254bhp version of the V6 diesel, plus the option of a V8 diesel and a diesel hybrid. Company insiders are not ruling out the possibility of four-cylinder versions in the future, either.
All models have a standard eight-speed automatic gearbox, feature a stop-start system, and have permanent four-wheel drive. The Sport also comes with the latest version of the off-road Terrain Response system, which automatically selects the correct 4x4 mode for prevailing conditions. You can also manually choose settings.
How much will the 2013 Range Rover Sport cost?
Prices start at £59,995 for the diesel HSE, with two further trims also available at launch: HSE Dynamic and Autobiography Dynamic. They will cost £64,995 and £74,995 respectively. The 5.0-litre V8 supercharged version costs £81,550.
From next year a cheaper SE model will be available, bringing the starting price of the range down to £51,550.
As with the Range Rover, there will be more opportunities to personalise the Sport with options including a wide range of technology, wheel size, interior colour and contrasting roof colours.
By Chas Hallett
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