Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
The plug-in hybrid P400e Range Rover Sport combines a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine and an electric motor for a healthy 0-62mph time of 6.3sec (after a bit of hesitation). The BMW X5 45e and Volvo XC90 T8 are faster, but the P400e is more than punchy enough on the road. It’ll run on electricity alone for up to a claimed 25 miles (less than 20 miles in the real world), some way off the X5 45e and Mercedes GLE 300de.
Confusingly, there’s also a P400 (without the ‘e’). It’s a 3.0-litre, straight-six petrol engine with mild-hybrid assistance, and it’s quick but needs working hard to feel it. Our preferred engine is the D300 six-cylinder diesel, which has far more low-end oomph and is a wise choice if you plan to tow a heavy trailer. Rivals such as the Audi Q7 50 TDI and BMW X5 xDrive40d are a little faster, although the D300’s 0-62mph time of 7.3sec is ample. We wouldn’t bother paying the extra for the slightly quicker D350 diesel, and the entry-level D250 is only available with lowly trim levels.
Suspension and ride comfort
Most versions of the Range Rover Sport offer exemplary ride comfort, with high speed suppleness a particular virtue. That makes this a superb car to spend a long journey in. Unlike in some luxury SUVs, you don’t have to fiddle with lots of system preferences to get the car into a comfortable mode. We would say, though, that the Audi Q7 has the edge on it for overall smoothness.
The best-riding Range Rover Sports are those at the bottom of the range, which have smaller wheels. The entry-level HSE comes with 20in wheels with deeper tyre sidewalls that absorb road surface imperfections better. Higher-spec versions with 21in and 22in wheels are still comfortable, but are less supple over bumps. The hybrid P400e feels firmer than conventionally powered models.
The D300 and D350 diesels are delightfully silken and quiet, remaining smooth even when pushed hard. That should bode well for the less powerful D250 too. Nothing in the range beats the plug-in hybrid P400e in electric-only mode for refinement, but its 2.0-litre petrol engine only stays quiet at lower revs. It can also be a little clunky when switching between petrol and electric power.
Despite its six cylinders, the 3.0-litre P400 doesn’t offer any real sonic excitement. It gives off a faint murmur when you’re accelerating gently, but otherwise it’s quiet at a cruise and the engine only sounds gruff at high revs. If you want proper aural excitement, you need the thunderous SVR with its aggressive, bellowing V8 engine.