Under such conditions the Sport came into its own tearing into the mountains of Mpumalanga without breaking a sweat. The sound and throttle response of the Autobiography was more akin to that of a Jaguar XJR than what one would expect from an SUV. Clearly the Sport tag is not there for decoration.
The latest offerings can only enhance Land Rover’s traction in the local market as the British carmaker looks to unseat the industry leaders in the executive car bracket.
Land Rover operations director for sub-Saharan Africa, Nigel Clarke, said: “The enhancements to the 2012 Range Rover Sport will ensure this car retains its position as one of the most economical and dynamic high-performance SUVs on the market today with exciting new features. The Range Rover Sport continues to live up to its reputation for power and refinement.”
A first glance at the Sport reveals subtle changes to the car’s colour schemes with a touch of gloss black on the headlights and grille. The gleaming bodywork is one of the reasons car enthusiasts ogle at the Range Rover and the 2012 models don’t disappoint.
Under the bonnet, the Supercharged and Autobiography models boast of a direct-injected 5,0-litre V8 engine which produces 375 kW and 625Nm torque. According to the carmaker, it takes 5,9-seconds to get to 100 km/h with the top speed being 225km/h. The LR-SDV6 3,0 proffers a comparatively modest 276 kW and 510Nm of torque.
The Sport takes after its sibling, the Discovery, in more ways than one. They share a similar interior finish as well as a seven-inch touch-screen infotainment system. They both have the “Say What You See” voice command system which enables the interface between the car and driver through the use of specific commands. However the Sport takes it up a notch with the rear seat entertainment package being enhanced with the availability of White Fire wireless technology.
It also boasts of a 17-speaker sound system outputting 825W of power with DVD playback capability as well as Bluetooth audio streaming. A hard disc drive music server which can store up to 10 CDs, audio streaming by Bluetooth and two USB ports, are the other infotainment gizmos in the Sport’s quiver.
The Autobiography is somewhat different from the V6 and V8 Supercharged with its own front and rear styling as well as diamond-turned 20-inch wheels. It also features lush leather finishing on the dashboard and door panels.
Adaptivity is the palpable mantra in the Sport’s design which sees the role of the driver continue to diminish leaving the car to do most of the work.
The Adaptive Cruise Control feature ensures the car maintains a set distance from vehicles ahead. It also takes preventative action to avoid collision, readying the braking system for an abrupt stop.
The adaptive philosophy is also evident in the anti-dazzle mirror which adjusts the windscreen to fit the prevailing day and night conditions. If the driver mistakenly selects the reverse gear whilst in motion, the car automatically engages the neutral gear to protect the engine. Rain-sensing wipers, a rear-view camera, and Park Distance Control sensors also come standard.
Land Rover acquiesced to public demand with a new powered tailgate which enables drivers to set their desired lift height.
The Sport’s off-road pedigree is unsurprisingly solid with the Terrain Response feature being standard across the models. Drive options include General Driving, Grass/Grave/Snow, Sand, Mud/Ruts, and Rock Crawl settings. Hill Start Assist and Gradient Acceleration Control are some of the features that give the Sport its off-road credentials.
Like its sibling, the Discovery, the Range Rover Sport has height extension settings, with a maximum ground clearance of 23cm.
Standard safety features include Roll Stability Control which nips the onset of a rollover situation in the bud. If the need for a hasty stop arises, the driver can count on ABS, in the form of a four channel, all-terrain anti-lock braking.
The chink in the Sport’s amour could be in the wheels which are more inclined towards fabulousity than for the outback. For instance the Supercharged has a 20 inch alloy wheel option finished in Sparkle Silver with high-gloss lacquer.
But then again, flamboyance is one of the reasons why people buy a Range Rover.