New Range Rover Sport vs BMW X5: interiors

The new Range Rover Sport steps up to the plate to face its luxury SUV rival from BMW. Let’s see if it can knock the ball out of the park...

NEW Range Rover Sport dashboard

Behind the wheel

Driving position, visibility, build quality

If there's one thing Land Rover does better than just about anyone else, it's driving positions - and the new Range Rover Sport holds up its end just as well as the full-size Range Rover. You sit noticeably higher than in the BMW X5, looking down on the road as though you own it - and you'll stay comfortable all day long, thanks to a terrifically comfortable 20-way electrically adjustable driver's seat and loads of steering wheel adjustment (also electric).

The X5's driving position feels slightly less natural, although it's still easy to get comfy; it, too, offers electric steering wheel and driver's seat adjustment, and the latter grips you just as well as the Sport's through corners. And while the air-con buttons are slightly fiddlier to use than the Sport's dials, at least you get proper physical controls in both, as opposed to having to use the touchscreen like you would in a Volvo XC90.

BMW X5 dashboard

The X5's thicker windscreen pillars, combined with that lower driving position, mean visibility at junctions isn't as impressive as in the Sport, although you should have no problem manoeuvring either car, thanks to front and rear parking sensors. The Sport also has a surround-view monitor – a feature that can be added to the X5 (which comes with a regular rear-view camera) for £650. 

Few cars this side of a Bentley Bentayga give you an impression of luxury better than a Range Rover when you're sitting behind the wheel. That's partly down to the design and colour schemes (Light Cloud/Ebony in our test car) but also because the materials, particularly the leather, feel really upmarket. 

However, that doesn't mean build quality is any better than in the X5. The Germanic design is certainly less effusive, yet there are no squeaks or rattles and everything feels solidly bolted together. In the Sport, you'll hear the odd creak as you open the glovebox, and you might wish the action of the electric seats was a little smoother, although it isn't enough to distract from the overall experience. 

Infotainment systems

Range Rover Sport

NEW Range Rover Sport infotainment

Range Rover’s system (called Pivi Pro) can only be controlled by touch, but at least the 13.1in screen is sharp and responsive to inputs. It also gives haptic feedback so you know when you’ve properly pressed an icon. Ultimately, the operating system isn’t as intuitive as the X5’s, but it isn’t so far behind that it should influence your buying decision. Like the X5, the Sport comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, plus wireless phone charging.


BMW X5 infotainment

BMW is the best in the business when it comes to infotainment, and the version of iDrive fitted to the X5 is actually slightly more intuitive than the latest iteration (found in the BMW iX, for example). The dial between the front seats is the best way to control the system when you’re driving, although you can use the touchscreen if you prefer. The Harman Kardon sound system that comes as part of the Technology Pack delivers good sound quality.

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