Range Rover Sport 3.0-litre first drive
The Range Rover Sport can now be had with the supercharged V6 from a Jaguar F-Type. We take it for a spin
- Sport gets 3.0-litre petrol for first time
- Gives sporty thrills for less than a V8 SVR
- Gets JLR’s new infotainment system
- On sale now
With a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol borrowed from the Jaguar F-Type, this Range Rover Sport is the enthusiasts’ choice – blending the comfort expected of the breed with a sporty power delivery and a soundtrack to match.
Sounds good, but how does it work in practice?
Pretty well, actually, if you truly want a Range Rover that feels (a little) like a sports car, that is. The 3.0-litre engine delivers 340hp and, more importantly, 332Ib ft of torque at a peaky 3,500rpm. As a result, to get the kind of pace the Sport is capable of – 0-62mph in 6.9 seconds and a top speed of 130mph – the engine (and smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox) need to be worked. That’s no hardship, because its six-cylinders deliver the sportiest bark of the range – revving it becomes an addiction rather than a pain.
It helps that the Sport is pretty decent in corners. Its air suspension doesn’t have the pillow-soft ride of a full-sized Range Rover, but its added tautness is most welcome in bends, where the car does an impressive job of shrinking around you. Huge 21-inch wheels and tyres to match mean that grip isn’t in short supply so you can trust the light-but-direct steering to send the big SUV exactly where you point it.
A reminder of its 2,147kg bulk only comes when you apply the brakes – they require a harder-than-estimated stomp on the pedal as you barrel into corners.
Is it as luxurious as a Range Rover should be?
Oh yes. Clamber into the Sport’s drivers seat and you’re treated to a cabin that’s as plush as SUVs get this side of a Bentley Bentayga, which costs double the price. The cabin is literally weighed down with all manner of leather, metal and fancy trim pieces.
There’s plenty of tech, too – new for 2017 is the 10-inch InControl Touch Pro Navigation system. It allows you to heat the car remotely, provides door-to-door navigation that transfers over to your phone when you leave the car, and the ability to locate vacant parking spaces.
Standard kit in HSE Dynamic trim (the only one available with this engine) also includes things like heated front and rear seats, a reversing camera, auto lights and wipers, keyless entry and hands-free boot opening.
That our car had £20,000 worth of options is an indication of quite how far you can go – highlights included a Meridian sound system (£5,180), rear-seat entertainment (£2,590) and electrically adjustable, massaging front seats (£1,350).
Running costs must be atrocious, though?
Pretty much. The 3.0-litre petrol puffs out CO2 emissions of 243g/km and drinks fuel at an alarming rate of 26.9mpg – or an eye-watering 13.4mpg if you’re the kind of rogue that likes to venture into town. Eep.
An elephant in the room comes in the form of the cheaper 3.0-litre V6 diesel which is as-near-as-makes-no-difference fast as its petrol-powered brethren but can top 40mpg if you’re exceptionally well behaved with the accelerator pedal.
Should I buy one?
For most people, the latest addition to the Range Rover line-up will make little sense. It costs lots to run, while being no quicker than the comparable diesel, and the top-end power delivery is at odds with the Range Rover’s effortless wafting ability.
But, if you want an SUV that has a genuinely sporty feel, a racier sound than the pricier V8, a beautifully appointed cabin, lots of space and off-road ability that’s second to none, then the supercharged 3.0-litre Sport is an extremely safe bet.