Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR Review
The Range Rover SVR was the first mass-production vehicle to emerge from Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations department and it has been built to contend with the best fast SUVs from Germany. Models such as the new Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, BMW X5M and Mercedes GLE 63 AMG.
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
- Terrific engine
- Still brilliant on and off-road
- Priced well against rivals
What's not so good
- Only four usable seats
- Firm ride at low speeds
- Some rivals are sharper to drive
Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR: what would you like to read next?
Power comes from the same supercharged 5.0-litre petrol V8 fitted to the Jaguar F-Type R coupe. It’s good for 542bhp; enough to fling the heavyweight Range Rover Sport towards the horizon at an alarming rate. It can get from 0-62mph quicker than a Porsche 911 Carrera 2, while simultaneously emitting the kind of V8 rumble that sends even hardened tree huggers scrambling for cover.
Sadly, the running costs that come with making such a big car move so quickly could also scare off the odd enthusiast, although if you can afford to buy an SVR you’ll probably be able to run one, too.
To beat its rivals – especially the surprisingly nimble Cayenne Turbo S – the SVR also needs to handle in the twisty bits. To do it, the standard car’s suspension has been retuned and firmed up, although some of the standard Sport’s cosseting ride quality has been lost in the process.
It’s mad in the current climate of reducing emissions and fuel consumption that the SVR exists, but I’m very glad it does
Although there are no go-faster stripes, a gaping front spoiler, extended roof spoiler, quad exhaust pipes and unique badges make the SVR easy to distinguish from one of the more run-of-the-mill Sport models.
The inside has changed only a little, with sport seats in the front and extra bolstering for the outer seats on the rear bench. The latter means there’s now only really space for two passengers and (unlike the rest of the range) the SVR does without a pair of extra seats in the boot.
That aside, and given the performance on offer, it is a surprisingly practical car. Its tall body gives the driver an excellent, commanding view of the road ahead and makes for a roomy cabin, with a big boot. Excellent off-road ability is a given, too.
As expected from a Range Rover (especially one that retails at nearly £100,000), the SVR has an excellently appointed interior, with a good chunk of the cabin’s trim pieces being crafted from aluminium or high-quality leathers.
The Range Rover Sport SVR is great for its driver, but it’s not as good for rear-seat passengers as the standard Range Rover Sport – and you can’t get a seven-seat version
The SVR team has done some amazing work, but to the detriment of practicality. Mind you, if you're looking at an SVR, space is probably the last thing on your mind
If there’s one downside, it’s that the seat space is considerably down on the Range Rover Sport SVR in comparison with the standard models – the heavily bolstered outer rear seats make the already narrow centre spot almost unusable for adults, although there’s a third seatbelt there for anyone willing to give it a go. Unlike the regular Sport, the SVR cannot be specified with a pair of spare seats.
There are many storage places within the SVR with a good-sized glovebox and large door bins. Under the centre armrest, there is a further storage area which can be refrigerated at no extra cost. In the back, there are map holders behind the front seats, a centre armrest with bottle holders and another pair of door pockets.
The 489-litre boot is big enough for most people’s needs and it rises to a huge 1,761 litres with the seats down. The Sport also comes with a gesture-release tailgate, so you can open it by simply sweeping your foot under the rear bumper.
Despite being the most performance-focused model that Land Rover currently produces, the SVR isn’t substantially different to the regular Range Rover Sport in terms of day-to-day driving.
The SVR strikes a fine balance between handling and ride comfort
The SVR comes with only one engine: a 5.0-litre, 542hp supercharged petrol V8 that’s essentially the same unit found in top-of-the-line Jaguar performance models, such as the F-Type R Coupe.
Unsurprisingly the 2.3 ton SVR isn’t as brisk as Jaguar’s coupe, but it’s still phenomenally quick for a car of this size – 0-62mph takes just 4.7 seconds, and the SVR will gallop on to a limited top speed of 162mph.
It may have a relatively modest 39hp power hike on the standard car, but it feels more significant than the raw figures suggest, with more enthusiasm throughout the rev range. That’s down to the engine’s phenomenal torque delivery – a whole 502lb ft of the stuff from just 2,500rpm.
And, if the performance doesn’t get you the fruity exhaust note, which transforms into a raging snarl at high revs, most certainly will.
Fuel economy – you’ll be unsurprised to learn – isn’t particularly impressive, with Land Rover claiming the SVR will only return 22mpg. That said, buyers who can afford this car will most likely be able to stomach the fuel bill, and it’s worth pointing out the standard petrol V8 Sport is no better.
The beefed-up suspension and larger wheels (21 inches as standard, with 22-inch wheels fitted with performance tyres optional) do result in a slightly firmer ride and a bit more tyre noise. Nevertheless, the SVR is still a very well-composed car that works well on the open road.
Let it stretch its legs, however, and the SVR turns into a noticeably different car from the standard model. The firmer suspension and a 40kg weight saving over the standard Sport results in a car that, although not quite as responsive as a Porsche Cayenne Turbo or BMW X5M, does drive with the kind of precision that’s highly at odds with its size!
Yet it’s just as capable off road as the standard car. It comes with a whole array of gizmos for driving off-road, ranging from hill descent control to a Terrain Response system that comes with preset settings for a range of different driving conditions, making the car easy to drive off-road even for novices.