Let’s face it, with high performance summer tires mounted 22-inch wheels, a 575-horsepower supercharged V8 under its ventilated bonnet, and a $131,520 price tag, the only ranges this SUV will be roving are at the country club. Even with Land Rover’s Terrain Response 2 system, this is an SUV for those who aren’t the least bit interested in traversing trails in the Rockies, Andes, or Alps.
The Range Rover Sport SVR is as close to a sports car as the bastion of British exploration will ever make. In fact, Range Rover basically took the running gear from Jaguar’s F Type SVR, added a two-speed transfer case, larger wheels, and stretched it to fit under the square-jawed Range Rover, which is okay by me.
Luxurious, comfortable, capable, capacious, fast, and loud, Range Rover Sport SVR takes its place among other high performance SUVs including the BMW X5 M, Mercedes-AMG GLE 63S, the aforementioned Jaguar, and slightly smaller Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio. The Range Rover Sport SVR is a rolling enigma. It is both utterly ridiculous and insanely wonderful at the same time.
The interior is both opulent and practical with all the room you and four of your friends could ever need. There’s plenty of space in the boot for all your golf clubs, shooting equipment, or any other toys you need for your pursuits. The understated black leather with aluminum trim is classic, elegant, and understated. The heated and ventilated Semi Aniline leather seats provide plenty of comfort and support. The panoramic sunroof floods the first and second row with light while the 1700 watt Meridian surround sound system fills the cabin with sound.
The digital instrument panel lets you configure it just the way you want with all kinds of information available as you scroll through the options. The dual-screen infotainment system in the center stack isn’t the most intuitive on the market. The learning curve is high even for simple operations like selecting a radio station or setting the adaptive cruise control, but once you figure it out, it works just fine.
But all of that is expected when you plunk down six large for a Range Rover. What isn’t is the rush you get when you tip your right foot into the throttle and feed the fuel through the injectors into each of the eight cylinders. The supercharger whines. The exhaust roars especially when you engage the sport exhaust setting. 575 horsepower turn the crankshaft and the 5,070 pound SUV leaps forward as all four wheels claw at the pavement. It goes from 0 to 60 miles per hour in a mere 4.3 seconds and will top out at over 160 before the speed limiter kicks in. The SVR was tuned on the Nurburgring which is insane for a vehicle that has a maximum wading depth of nearly three feet.
Nothing about the Range Rover Sport SVR makes any sense which only adds to its charm. It’s just too bad that in the part of the world where I live there are no off-road venues that would even begin to test its limits. And, were I to drive it near its limits on the street, I might as well dip my driver’s license in kerosene and light it on fire. If you’re looking for something practical from Land Rover, wait for the new Defender. If you want a British SUV that will blow your mind, drive the SVR.
2019 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR
Four-door, five-passenger, high performance luxury SUV
Base price: $114,500
Price as tested: $131,520
Options: Driver Assist Pack – blind spot assist, adaptive cruise control w/steering assist, high speed emergency braking, lane keep assist, park assist ($3,185), Meridian signature sound system ($4,540), 22-inch split spoke black wheels ($3,060), Estoril blue paint ($1,525), head up display ($1,325), soft door close ($610), activity key ($410), extended grand black veneer ($410), ebony morzine headliner ($355), heated and cooled front and heated rear seats ($305), destination charge ($1,295)
Engine: 5.0-liter supercharged V8
Transmission: 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters
Power: 575 HP @ 6,000 RPM
Torque: 516 lb.-ft. @ 3,500 RPM
Curb Weight: 5,070 pounds
0-60 MPH: 4.3 seconds
EPA MPG: 15 city / 20 highway / 16 combined