Land Rover has evolved the Range Rover Sport into a symbol of wealth and excess, which once meant it was best fitted with a thirsty V8. But times are changing, and buyers expect their big four-wheel drives to also be designed with the environment in mind. That's where the new Range Rover Sport PHEV, launched as a part of a mid-life refresh, comes in.

Like the powertrains popping up in rival vehicles, the setup in the Range Rover Sport PHEV couples a compact lithium-ion battery with a compact four-cylinder engine. An 85-kW (114-hp) motor is hooked up to the eight-speed ZF gearbox, offering peak torque from standstill for smooth off-road progress and quick on-road acceleration. In ideal conditions, owners will be able to cover 31 mi (51 km) on a full charge of the 13.1-kWh battery.

Although it takes more than seven hours to charge when plugged into a 10-amp wall socket, the car will be available with a 32-amp wall box, capable of topping the battery in less than three. The charging plug is neatly integrated behind the grille. Coupled with a 221-kW (296-hp) gasoline engine, the powertrain makes a total of 297 kW (400 hp) for a 6.3-second sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph). Top speed is 137 mph (220 km/h).

The car defaults to parallel hybrid mode, automatically combining gasoline and electric drive based on what the driver demands. The driver can stop the battery from dropping below a certain charge level with SAVE mode, while Predictive Energy Optimisation automatically uses GPS information to best combine gas and electric power along a pre-determined route. There's also a dedicated EV mode for short inner-city trips.

Along with the new hybrid powertrain, the Range Rover Sport has been treated to a mid-life refresh, both inside and out. The exterior has been brought into line with that of the new Velar, with slimline LED lights and sharp new bumpers. There are also new wheel designs on offer.

Inside, the Sport has been treated to a touchscreen-intensive makeover in the form of Touch Pro Duo. Along with the 10-inch screen dedicated to infotainment on the top of the dash, there's another 10-inch screen for climate control sitting atop the transmission tunnel. Initial reviews of the Velar – which debuted the system earlier this year – have been positive, so it'll be interesting to see how it translates to the bigger RR Sport.

There are now 14 power outlets in the cabin to run the gamut of phones and tablets that accompany every modern-day road trip – there's even a domestic plug socket for larger devices like laptops. Screens in the back of the headrests are available as an option for restless rear-seat passengers. Land Rover has been pushing to reposition itself as a technology leader, and the cabin of the new Range Rover Sport is another step in that direction.

And if I want more power?

Don't worry, there's a Sport for that as well. The SVR model has been overhauled with the rest of the range, and now makes 423 kW (567 hp) of power for a 4.5 second sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph). The exterior has been tarted up with a carbon fiber bonnet, and Land Rover says the new car will be lighter on its feet than the (already very, very fast) current version.

The new Range Rover Sport is available to order at the moment, with deliveries set to begin at the end of the year.

Source: Land Rover

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