The new Range Rover Sport SV takes over from the previous-generation Range Rover Sport SVR. Visually, it's toned down in comparison to its predecessor, but dynamically it has been dialled up, with what is promised to be sports car-rivalling pace.
Muscular, but functional appearance
Although the new car isn't quite as gregarious as before, it won't be difficult to tell the Range Rover Sport SV apart from the regular version. The styling has been altered to help aid cooling for the powertrain, and accommodate the larger wheels and tyres.
At the front is a new bumper design that houses numerous additional cooling channels for the engine and brakes while also serving as visual differentiators. The car now sits 10mm lower in its standard setting, and with the SV mode engaged, the suspension lowers by a further 25mm to enhance aerodynamics and handling.
Up to 635hp and 750Nm of torque
Beneath a new carbon-fibre bonnet lies a twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine with mild-hybrid tech producing up to 635hp and 750Nm.
Those represent increases of 60hp and 50Nm over the supercharged 5.0-litre V8 that powered the last Range Rover Sport SVR. Acceleration improves, with only 3.8 seconds needed to go from rest to 100km/h. That's thanks in part to the mild-hybrid setup that can temporarily increase torque output to 800Nm when Dynamic Launch Mode is selected.
An eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox is fitted, as is the usual all-wheel-drive system.
The top speed is a heady 289km/h, yet CO2 emissions are 15 per cent lower due to a 76kg weight reduction.
Big wheels and big brakes
Range Rover's 23-inch carbon-fibre wheel option is part of the quoted weight saving. These huge wheels feature a multi-spoke design with the carbon weave laid to follow the spokes' lines. JLR (Jaguar Land Rover) uses a ceramic 'Thermal Barrier Coating' - similar to what isused in the aerospace industry - on the inner side of the wheel spokes to protect the carbon fibre from high brake temperatures. The wheels also come wrapped in bespoke Michelin all-season tyres that have been developed especially for the car.
Behind those spokes - as an option - are massive 440mm carbon ceramic discs that reduce unsprung mass by 34kg compared to the standard cast iron discs. The stopping performance comes from a unique eight-piston Brembo Octyma front caliper design, the largest ever fitted to a Range Rover. The distinctive cross-shaped layout of the pistons is claimed to provide a more even contact between the pad and disc for better efficiency and a more consistent pedal feel during quicker driving. Various colour options for the calipers are available, including an eye-searing yellow.
Innovative new hydraulic suspension
One of the more innovative additions to the Range Rover Sport SV is the new '6D Dynamics' suspension that features hydraulically interlinked dampers and switchable-volume air springs. Replacing the outgoing electronic active roll-control system, this setup uses 25 metres of hydraulic lines that link the axles and remove the need for anti-roll bars, saving some 8kg in weight.
Roll is controlled by the transfer of hydraulic fluid from the dampers on one side, while a 'Load Distribution Unit' manages fluid pressure longitudinally between the axles. The result is claimed to be a near-level body stance even during extreme acceleration and cornering. Drivers can also switch the system the other way in favour of comfort.
Ross Restell, Vehicle Dynamics Manager, SVO at JLR, said: "The breadth of new Range Rover Sport's capability is what sets it apart, and the expectation for a worthy successor to the hugely characterful Range Rover Sport SVR set the bar high. We set ourselves incredibly challenging dynamics targets, and we hit every single one. It's a vehicle we're hugely proud of."
Other technical details include a new electrically assisted steering rack that has the fastest ratio ever to feature in a Range Rover at 13:6:1. The combination of steering, that suspension and bespoke tyres gives the Range Rover Sport SV the capability of generating lateral acceleration of 1.1G - a 22 per cent increase on the last model.
An interior to match
It's a good thing that the new sports seats hold you in place. These feature a unique design with carbon-fibre backboards and an SV logo that lights up when the vehicle is unlocked. However, the seats do more than provide comfort; built into them is a technology from SUBPAC with transducers aligned with the backs of the front-seat occupants. Its AI software takes the information from the 29-speaker Meridian Signature Sound System, analyses it in real time and sends vibrations to create a more immersive experience.
These 'Body and Soul' seats also include a wellness programme designed to improve the occupants' mental and physiological well-being through sound and vibrations. According to Coventry University's National Transport Design Centre and the School of Media and Performing Arts, these specially developed tracks can help reduce anxiety and improve cognitive response.
There's a new steering wheel with the same diameter as before, but a more sporty shape. The same 13.7-inch Pivi Pro system carries across from the standard car and relays all the vital information to the driver. A 13.1-inch curved touchscreen display gives access to all media and vehicle settings.
Engagement of the SV mode is via a single button on the bottom spoke of the steering wheel, and the paddle shifters now have an illuminated top section making them more attractive.
The new Range Rover Sport SV will make its dynamic debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed later this year and should go on sale in Ireland by the start of 2024.