Range Rover Sport Light but Heavy-Duty
By Express News Service | Published: 08th December 2013 06:00 AM |
Range Rover recently launched the Range Rover Sport SUV which it claims is the world’s most refined and capable premium SUV on sale. Ammar Alvi took the car for a thorough test drive across the European continent and tried to find out besides loads of technological advances and interesting new gadgets, what are the main highlights of the new version. Read on.
It’s not an update or a facelift. It is an altogether new model. The 2013 Range Rover Sport SUV is around 420kg lighter in weight compared with the 2012 model, for one. Without even beginning to understand the sort of dynamic engineering involved with such a saving, immediate advantages include reduced fuel consumption, increased handling performance, increased acceleration performance, and improved off-road agility.
Approximately 180kg of that saving was found by implementing a new aluminum body, which is 39 per cent lighter than the previous steel setup. As a result of it all, fuel economy is improved by up to 22 per cent on certain variants.
In the looks department, the SUV is a stunner. The front fascia has been revised for a crisper style, with hints of brushed aluminum, slimmer LED-infused headlights, and rounder panel edges, while the side and rear slab-like character remains true to its iconic form.Opening one of the doors makes you feel like you’ve just opened up a special sanctuary. It exudes a heavenly welcome, with two chairs in the front perched up like thrones, both featuring their own retractable leather-bound armrest and a multitude of electronic adjustments. Range Rover has also improved the dash and touch-screen layout for the 2013 version, and says that up to 50 per cent fewer switches are infused into the forward surroundings for a calmer in-car environment.
Air suspension comes standard on the Vogue SE, offering various ride heights for different conditions. It also comes with auto leveling and active ride which helps it actively lean into corners. In the middle of the drivetrain is an active centre diff with an electronic locking mechanism to ensure optimum use of the engine torque, with dual range gearing. Other highlights include tyre pressure monitoring, hill descent control, external cameras front and rear for object analysis, as well as a driving mode system with five different setups. All of these systems combine to help the Range Rover become one of the most comprehensively equipped and prepared mainstream off-road vehicles on the market.
As for the engine in the Vogue SE, I drove the new SDV8 4.4-litre intercooled twin-turbo diesel V8 producing 339 PS of power and 700Nm of terrain-crushing torque (In India the company introduced the 3 litre diesel and 5 litre petrol engines). It’s matched up to an excellent eight-speed automatic transmission. I drove the car across Germany, Belgium and France and was very impressed by the ride and handling. The steering is light and sharp without being overly touchy. You can feed it through tight city streets with one finger, and thanks to the variable gearing, the wheel firms up for a solid and secure feel when you’re out on the highways. Its ability to handle corners is likely to surprise you. Despite a 2360kg mass, it goes from corner to corner like a much lighter vehicle.
Using multiple driving modes is fun, at first, until you end up leaving it on auto. In auto mode the vehicle’s brains communicate with sensors to calculate the best setting required for conditions ahead. It’s impressive technology that actually works. Overall, the Range Rover is superb on and off the road. It truly is the benchmark in refined all-terrain motoring.
The INDIA LINE UP
● F Type S: 3 litre Petrol V6 380 PS; 5 litre Petrol V8 495 PS
● XJ: 2 litre Petrol 240 PS; 3 litre Petrol 340 PS; 3 litre Diesel 275 PS; 5 litre Petrol 510 PS
● XK: 5 litre V8 Petrol 510 PS
● XF: 2.2 litre Diesel 190 PS; 3 litre Diesel 275 PS;
5 litre Petrol 510 PS
● Freelander 2: 2.2 TD4 Diesel 150 PS
● Range Rover Evoque: 2.2 litre Diesel 190 PS; 2 litre Petrol 240 PS
● Discovery 4: 3 litre Diesel 183 KW
● Range Rover Sport: 3 litre Diesel 292 PS; 5 litre Petrol 510 PS
● Range Rover: 3 litre Diesel 258 PS; 4.4 litre Diesel 339 PS; 5 litre Petrol 510 PS
2013 Range Rover Vogue SE SDV8
Engine: 4.4-litre twin-turbo intercooled V8
Output: 339 PS@3500rpm / 700Nm@1750-3000rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Official fuel economy: 8.7L/100km
Price: Rs 1.09 crore to Rs 1.65 crore (ex showroom)