Range Rover Sport SVR Carbon Edition on test: composite composure
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Ranger Rover Sport SVR Carbon Edition
- Big wow-factor from all that carbon fibre
- Epic supercharged-V8 soundtrack
- Still Range Rover-luxurious
- Can't hide the drinking problem
- Sluggish infotainment system
- Jaguar F-Pace SVR is only $169,900
The Range Rover Sport SVR is a pretty special vehicle. It comes from the company’s Special Vehicle Operations division (that’s the “SVR” bit), it’s powered by an epic 5.0-litre supercharged V8 and it’s the fastest, most powerful production Land Rover (yes, “Land Rover” is still the brand) ever made: 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds, 423kW.
But what if you want to make it even more special? Well, you could add exterior and interior carbon fibre trim elements, an exposed carbon fibre bonnet and engine cover, plus some monster 22-inch wheels. Tick all those option boxes and you’ll add $30,650 to the base $214,900 price: total $245,550.
Or you can buy this SVR Carbon Edition, which bundles the whole lot together for just $20k. Total price $234,900, which is quite a… bargain?
Not one for shrinking violets obviously. Even less so when you hit the start button. It makes a collosal noise even at idle and can’t resist popping and crackling when the eight-speed transmission changes ratios under even mildly aggressive throttle.
The SVR comes with a variety of upgrades to the core Sport package, although perhaps not as many as you’d think. The transmission shifts faster, there’s a locking differential at the front (already one at the back) and a new centre unit that splits power 50/50 but can send 100 per cent to either end when required.
The air suspension is firmer, there are big Brembo brakes and of course the footprint is much larger on the SVR’s wheels and tyres; especially those 22s.
Incredibly, Land Rover has chosen to leave the low-range transfer case and Terrain Response 2 drive-mode controller intact, so theoretically the SVR is still fully off-road capable. How much you’d want to bash those big wheels and precious carbon fibre trim is another question.
On road and possibly track (sounds silly but you could) is where the SVR makes sense, though. The chassis is tied down much tighter than a standard Sport of course, but the ride quality is still remarkable given this machine’s dynamic potential. A kerb weight of 2.3 tonnes helps settle things over bumps.
Canterbury | Sockburn
$1,129.31 p/w $4,517.24 p/m
Canterbury | Sockburn
$1,048.64 p/w $4,194.57 p/m
Auckland | Auckland City
$550.08 p/w $2,200.30 p/m
Auckland | Auckland City
$984.07 p/w $3,936.27 p/m
The handling is remarkable too – especially for something so tall and heavy. There’s huge substance to the steering and the grippy rubber doesn’t come at the expense of chassis communication. You can really feel the power shifting around and while major last-minute cornering adjustments aren’t advisable with all that inertia, the SVR is genuinely fun to drive fast. And loud; did we mention loud?
It’s a Range Rover, so it’s given that there’s a sumptuous interior with lashings of leather. The SVR has special lightweight bucket seats which look fantastic and actually aren’t as aggressive to sit in as they are to look at. A similar style of seating for the rear-seat occupants is a nice touch.
The instrumentation and infotainment is clear and colourful, although it’s clear that the Rangie is now a generation behind other JLR product, despite gaining Touch Pro Duo technology at its last facelift. The screen takes a while to boot up and is sluggish to respond to inputs.
Check out the new Pivi Pro setup in the facelifted Jaguar F-Pace and you’ll see how far the company has come. But still, there’s no denying the Range Rover Sport cabin is an extremely luxurious place.
You might think a vehicle like this is a bit out of step with the times, when the Government is talking about a 105g/km emissions limit and big fines (before you ask, the SVR is 306g/km). The inconvenient truth is that Jaguar Land Rover is finding it can’t get enough of these superpowered SUVs at the moment. Seems wealthy buyers want a last blast, as the petrol-V8 era starts winding down.
So it is what it is… and it is epic. The only potential “wait a minute” moment might come when you consider that the new Jaguar F-Pace SVR with the same engine is only $169,990 and carries that superior infotainment tech (with a posh new curved screen).
Jaguar Land Rover NZ probably won’t mind if you buy one of those instead. But it’s true that the Range Rover Sport is also a very different machine (the Velar SVAutobiography is a much closer relation to the Jaguar), despite the similar heartbeat.
RANGE ROVER SPORT SVR CARBON EDITION
ENGINE: 5.0-litre petrol-supercharged V8
GEARBOX: 8-speed automatic, AWD
0-100KMH: 4.5 seconds
ECONOMY: 13.4l/100km, 306g/km