Range Rover Sport gets lighter, sleeker and sexier
The Range Rover Sport, long a staple of the affluent, inner-city SUV demographic, has had an urban makeover for 2013. Out from under the tarp at New York’s Auto Show the new Sport is espoused to be the most agile and responsive Sport to date. Given New York proper is the largest Range Rover Sport market, it’s fitting the new Sport should unveil here.
Sleeker of body, lighter and newer of design, the new Sport is ready to tackle most any "Sex in the City" shopping spree a New York female can throw at it. Seriously though, regular folk like hockey players, rap stars, realtors, famous people, etc… who live in the New York metropolitan area, also get to drive/own the Sport.
But back to the agile, fast responsive aspects. Shedding weight to the tune of 420 kg (925 lbs) is cause for celebration thanks to a new powerplant and various aluminum architectural revisions. Featuring an all-aluminum body structure, the lighter stronger body helps with that whole responsive and agility, enhanced sustainability thing. With 39 percent less fat than previous models, Range Rover used a mix of extruded and rolled aluminum alloy parts in critical areas to keep weight down while keeping torsional strength up.
New to the Sport in 2013/2014 comes a choice of two engine options. The first, a delicately balanced bit of English engineering, is Range Rover’s V8 supercharged 5.0 liter gas motivator. Developing 503 hp the gas option powers the Sport to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 5 seconds, while cutting fuel usage by 24 percent and keeping emissions to 194 g/km. A new stopping/starting system has also been introduced which cuts gas use by 7 percent according to Land Rover.
The second set of engine options won’t be ready until 2014, but will include two diesel options in the form of a 3.0 liter turbo-diesel V6 delivering 255 hp, and a 4.4 liter SDV8 that delivers 335 hp. No torque figures are available at this time. Land Rover also reports a high efficiency diesel-hybrid option available sometime in 2014. Both gas and diesel models have their gearings managed by an electronically controlled ZF 8-speed automatic transmission. An all-new, electric power steering setup is also implemented designed to provide more direct steering feel.
A subtle redesign makes the new Sport distinctive from previous years while still retaining signature design cues. At 62 mm (2.5 in.) longer than its predecessor, the Sport is still stubbier relatively speaking in comparison to other 7-seaters. While the body only grew a few inches, the wheelbase on the other hand made a significant stretch, up 178 mm (7 in.) from previous iterations. The rationale behind the wheelbase stretch is that it translates into better access and increased passenger space. Shorter overhangs, fore and aft, help shore in those excessive inches while a wider stance by 55 mm (2.16 in.) helps to better proportion out the new Sport.
A newer aggressive windscreen angle, combined with a lower roofline and other revised design elements makes the Sport 8 percent more aero-friendly. Relative to the new Range Rover, the Sport is 149 mm (5.87 in) shorter, 55 mm (2.16 in) squatter and 45 kg (99 lbs) working on the "lower/wider/lighter" is better mandate.
Of course no Range Rover would be welcome in Soho without the usual stable of customization options. On the corners and keeping the tires in check, buyers have their choice of 19-inch, 20-inch, 21-inch or full on mac-daddy 22-inch rims in the Viper’s Nest pattern. Range Rover also offers an extensive array of colors, finishes and details to create a personalized Sport.
Inside the Sport’s urban interior, buyers are ensured of something called sport luxury experience. Long known for their interior treatments, Land Rover makes no exception for the Sport. The interior receives cleaner, more minimalist surface treatments, with more soft-touch surfaces located at key touch points throughout the cabin. A smaller diameter, thicker steering wheel provides a sportier hands-on affair, while a vertical gear shifter, higher center console, customizable mood lighting and generous seat bolsters set the mood. And since you’re in the mood, how about an additional 24 mm (0.95 in.) of knee room? Oh yeah, you like that. I knew you would. The wider specs also translate into a wider cabin, which in turn translates into a new integrated third row with optional 5+2 seating.
To help manage a variety of road-going scenarios the new Sport sports an upgraded suspension system. A fully-independent, lightweight aluminum suspension with wide-spaced double-wishbones up front and advanced multi-link layout out back are designed to improve handling. For crawling over parking blocks maximum ground clearance has been increased to 278 mm (10.95 in.).
The Sport’s upgraded air-suspension system automatically varies between two ride heights, while the next generation Terrain Response 2 system automatically selects the most suitable program for the terrain/shopping mall. The reworked air suspension also allows the Sport to remain in off-road mode at much higher speeds, up to 80 km/h (50 mph) from 50 km/h (30 mph).
A choice of two full-time 4WD systems is also offered; one provides a two-speed transfer case with low-range option, for extreme up/down scenarios. The other system, at 18 kg (40 lbs) lighter, features a single-speed transfer case with a Torsen differential that automatically distributes power to the axle with the most grip. This system is designed to deliver ideal traction under all conditions.
And no Range Rover Sport is complete without a proper list of technological wizardry and enhancements. On the chassis front, a new Adaptive Dynamics system featuring continuously variable dampers (CVD) is in place. According to Land Rover, a dedicated Dynamic mode configuration via the Terrain Response 2 system, is available for more powerful models and more "enthusiastic" on-road driving.
To keep the SUV’s lean strategy in check, a twin-channel Dynamic Response active lean control system is combined with a Dynamic Active Rear Locking Differential and Torque Vectoring program that adheres braking as needed. The system transfers power to the outside wheels during spirited cornering, thus minimizing understeer and those embarrassing flip-over stains.
A new, optional color Head-Up Display (HUD) presents key vehicle and navigation data without the driver needing to look away from the road, using laser technology for superior clarity and contrast. The Sport also introduces a digital camera system which supports three driver assistance features. First, you’re leaving the road: A Lane Departure Warning signal advises when you are in fact leaving the road. Second: Traffic Sign Recognition i.e. you are about to hit a stop sign, put your cell phone away you fool. Third: Automatic High Beam Assist so as to not blind oncoming drivers.
Finally, the funnest Wade-inspired floatation innovation since water wings comes something known as the new Wade Sensing system. This Hurricane Sandy necessity/feature provides "depth" information when driving through water. Up 150 mm (5.9 in.) to 850 mm (33.5 in.) from the previous model, the new Sport can now comfortably travel about New York during floods with little concern.
The Range Rover Sport will be available the third quarter of 2013. Customers will have a choice of three equipment levels from launch (HSE, HSE Dynamic and Autobiography Dynamic), and an SE derivative available on TDV6 models from early 2014.
Source: Land Rover