If you’re looking for a high performance sport utility vehicle, you’d be hard pressed to find one that does both sport and utility as well as the Range Rover Sport SVR. I had the pleasure of spending some time behind the wheel of this beautiful Estoril Blue Metallic beast on the streets of suburban Chicago and there’s a lot to like.
As with any sports car, the Range Rover Sport SVR is defined by its engine. Under the hood of the SVR lurks a 5.0 Liter Supercharged V8 that makes 550 horsepower. Power comes on early thanks to the blower and pulls fast and hard right through to triple digits. 60 miles per hour comes up in just 4.4 seconds which is an impressive achievement for a vehicle that weighs 5,148 pounds.
The next thing you’ll notice about the SVR is the sound. When you activate the sports exhaust, the tailpipe cracks and pops building to a throaty growl as your foot increases pressure on the accelerator. Just a tip. If you have an early commute and you’d rather not wake the neighbors, wait until you hit the parkway to turn up the volume. This thing is loud. In a very, very good way.
The 8-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly, and though it’s the same unit that’s in the base Range Rover Sport, it’s been retuned to upshift 50% quicker. Something you definitely need with an engine that spins as freely as this unit. The power reaches the wheel through Range Rover’s outstanding all-wheel drive system that features enhanced torque vectoring, electronic traction control and dynamic stability control. With the addition of an independent four corner air suspension that keeps the SVR level through the corners, this is actually a creditable track car, which is as it should be because where else are you going to be able to take advantage of the Range Rover SVR’s 162 mile per hour top speed?
The interior of the SVR is as sporting as its engine. The 16-way performance front seats in my tester were clad in contrasting leather, offering both excellent support and comfort. Rear seat passengers are also treated to sport seats with significant bolstering to hold them in place while the driver does his best Jackie Stewart impersonation on a favorite winding road. The trim along the doors and instrument panel is, of course, carbon fiber because it’s not a real performance car without the lightweight composite adorning the interior surfaces. The full size panoramic sunroof ensures the driver and passengers get to bask in natural light. And while it seats four comfortably, you can squeeze a fifth passenger in the middle seat in the rear.
Yes, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S is more powerful and quicker on the track, but in the real world the Range Rover Sport SVR is a more satisfying vehicle. It’s more mannered, more comfortable and more sophisticated. Plus, the minute you leave the paved surfaces the Range Rover Sport SVR is in a class of one. This is, after all, a Land Rover, so it comes with a full complement of off-road capabilities you’d expect from a product whose ancestors explored the remotest recesses of the world.
Knowing you can go anywhere and do so incredibly quickly is really what the Range Rover Sport SVR is all about.
2015 Range Rover Sport SVR
Priced From $111,350
5.0 Liter Supercharged V8
8-speed automatic transmission
Horsepower: 550 @6,500 rpm
Torque: 502 lb.-ft. @2,500 rpm
0-60: 4.4 seconds
Top Speed: 162 mph
EPA Fuel Economy: 14 city/19 highway