However, look closer and you will spot subtle differences that give the 2010 model which was unveiled last week a slightly more aggressive look.
The new 2010 Land Rover Range Rover Sport is the latest progression of the premium luxury SUV intended primarily for people who “allow cash to rule everything around them”.
As the name would imply, the Sport model is a more nimble and manoeuverable variant of the larger Range Rover.
It is all about image and having an imposing 4×4 but with the performance of a sports car and the more gadgets and technologies — to help with the owner’s bragging rights.
The vast majority of changes for the 2010 Range Rover Sport are indeed aimed at increasing its appeal to wealthy buyers seeking luxury and street performance.
Soccer ace David Beckham, rapper Cordazar Broadus popularly known Snoop Doggy Dog and actor Will Smith who have the “latest” car among their fleets would know better.
Up front, the Range Rover Sport’s bumper has been completely redesigned, reducing the previous design’s bulky look.
Fog lights have been moved lower and wider, with the bumper’s sculpted edges giving the Range Rover Sport a more planted look.
New for 2010 is a two-bar grille, replacing the last-generation’s three-bar unit. That two-bar treatment is carried over to the Sport’s new headlight units take a closer look at the turning indicators which feature Land Rover’s new signature LED treatment.
The sides of the Range Rover Sport remain largely the same save for revised fender vents with the rear of the truck featuring a new bumper design and new taillights with the two-bar theme.
While the Range Rover Sport’s interior design isn’t radically new for 2010, it features a heavily revised centre stack and much improved materials. Gone is the sea of black plastics and buttons, replaced with a design more in line with the Range Rover name. Like the LR4, most of the Sport’s buttons have moved to the dash mounted screen, resulting in an overall cleaner look. Interior material quality is now top-notch, with not a single bit of hard plastic in sight. Real wood accents lend a dose of luxury.
The base model Range Rover Sport now comes equipped with a 5,0-litre direct-injection V8 hooked to a revised six-speed automatic transmission. Rated at 375 horsepower and 375 lb-ft. of torque, the 2010 Range Rover Sport is actually just as fast as the previous-generation Range Rover Sport Supercharged was, with a 0-60mph time of just over seven seconds. That extra power is easily felt through a seat-of-your-pants test, with the 5,0-litre model providing enough oomph for all but the most power-crazed buyers.
On road handling is surprising good on the Range Rover Sport, especially considering its off-road prowess. The Sport’s ride is undeniably of the firm side, but nothing worse than you’d find in a luxury sports sedan. Grip is more than plentiful with body roll never becoming an issue.
The most notable change comes in the form of two new direct-injected 5,0-litre V8s. The base V8 is rated at 375 horsepower, a significant 70-hp bump over last year’s 4,4-litre V8.
The supercharged V8, meanwhile cranks out a whopping 501 hp, a boost of more than 100 hp compared to last year and in the same league as the new BMW X5 M and Porsche
All-new LR-V8 engines deliver outstanding performance and efficiency:
- All-new 5,0-litre V8 design with 510bhp SAE supercharged and 375bhp SAE naturally aspirated versions;
- 510bhp engine has 31% more power and 12% more torque than previous 4,2-litre supercharged engine;
- 375bhp engine has 25% more power and 19% more torque than previous 4,4-litre engine;
- Conforms to stringent ULEV2 emissions regulations;
- Multi-hole central spray-guided direct injection is highly efficient — industry first;
- High efficiency, 6th generation Eaton™ twin-vortex supercharger;
- Torque-actuated variable camshaft timing on all four cams in V8 engine — industry first;
- Camshaft profile switching and variable length inlet manifold optimses power and torque;
- Reverse cooling improves engine efficiency and speeds cabin warm-up;
- Class-leading, low-friction design features;
- Lightweight construction uses recycled materials
- 15 000 mile (24 000 km) service intervals.
Paul Nyakazeya recently in Cape Town