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The Range Rover Sport is the antithesis of cumbersome

by Aaron Borrill

SUVs aren’t known for their go-faster attributes. Yes, there are a handful that are pretty quick, but the fundamental design characteristics of an SUV point towards off-road conquering. But what happens if you combine the speed and agility of a sports car with the size of an SUV? The outcome is pretty simple really; it’s called the Range Rover Sport. The Range Rover’s massive chassis has been fitted with the same 5.0-Litre V8 supercharged power plant found in the Jaguar XKR, but it has been significantly tweaked for all-terrain situations. Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission – its engine kicks out 375kW and 625Nm – which is enough oomph to out sprint a hot-hatch. It weighs in at nearly three tons but the acceleration is mind-blowing: 100km/h arrives in only 6.2 seconds and it can reach a frightening top speed of 225km/h. The engine makes a beautiful noise, too. The sound that emanates from its sixth-generation Eaton supercharger is amazing: a throaty whine which gets progressively louder the faster you go. You shouldn’t be surprised if you find yourself getting carried away in the twisties though. The Range Rover’s damper settings and cornering ability is so refined, that the dynamic stability control system automatically slows the vehicle when negotiating a corner too fast. Thing is, the Range Rover wasn’t built for racing. It’s a pedigreed off-roader engineered to skillfully master any landscape. It’s furnished with an impressive collection of state-of-the-art technologies and flaunts the company’s hallmark four-wheel-drive system: Terrain Response. This system incorporates five modes: general driving, sand, grass/gravel/snow, mud and rock crawl along with a new Dynamic mode (designed for sporting on-road driving), a sand launch control feature, hill descent control system and a revised rock-crawl program. The optional surround camera system is very handy and displays an almost 360 degree view of the exterior to provide hassle-free navigation.Street cred is provided by its 20-inch alloy wheels, chrome tailpipes, signature LED head lamps, and new two-bar grille. The Range Rover is burly and low-slung, suitable for the soccer mom but with enough truculence to suit a high rolling rapper.

Price: R961 000

Engine: 5-litre V8 supercharged

Power: 375kW and 625Nm

0-100km/h: 5.9 seconds

Top speed: 225km/h

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