What's the news?
Land Rover is giving a midlife model update to the Range Rover Sport, tidying up the looks inside and out, tweaking the power of the range-topping SVR performance version and adding extra equipment. However, the headline news is that Land Rover's first-ever plug-in hybrid (PHEV) model will be part of the 2018MY Range Rover Sport range, badged the P400e.
Minimal new stuff outside, where Matrix Pixel LED headlights are fitted to the Sport, framing a redesigned grille. In turn, the changes above mean the front bumper has been re-profiled and is said to be 'more aggressive'. Meanwhile, the P400e PHEV's access port to the on-board 7kW charger is hidden behind the Land Rover badge to the right of the grille.
The big change within is the addition of the Touch Pro Duo 'Blade' infotainment system that features twin 10-inch touchscreens, as seen in the all-new Velar. Connectivity in the Range Rover Sport is further bolstered by the provision of 12 power points throughout the SUV, including two domestic plug sockets to keep laptops and other devices fully charged. The Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Activity Key, allowing owners to lock and unlock the vehicle without carrying a key fob, is introduced, while technologies including Advanced Tow Assist, Terrain Response 2 and a Gesture Sunblind for the panoramic roof are all on the menu.
A familiar array of JLR's four-cylinder, V6 and V8 petrol and diesel engines are offered for the revised Sport. The 2.0-litre SD4 four-cylinder diesel offers 240hp/500Nm, while the larger SDV6 3.0-litre unit boosts those numbers to 306hp/700Nm. Those who crave even more torque should perhaps opt for the 4.4-litre SDV8, with 339hp and 740Nm. Moving to petrol, a 2.0-litre Ingenium four-cylinder engine powers the 300hp/400Nm Si4, while above that are supercharged versions of the 3.0-litre V6 (340hp/450Nm) and 5.0-litre V8 (525hp/625Nm).
Then there's the SVR. Power is provided by the uprated version of the 5.0-litre supercharged V8 as already seen in the F-Type SVR and XJR575, which means 575hp and a massive 700Nm. That has trimmed the 0-100km/h time by two tenths from the old model to a faintly scandalous 4.5 seconds now, while the top speed is limited to 280km/h. Land Rover says more carbon fibre has been used in the construction of the SVR, to make it lighter and more agile than it was before.
All of which finally brings us onto the newcomer, the Range Rover Sport P400e PHEV. Coming in the wake of JLR's announcement that all its model line-ups will have electrification as an option from 2020 onwards, the P400e uses that 2.0-litre Ingenium petrol of 300hp and teams it to an 85kW (114hp) electric motor for peak outputs of 404hp and 640Nm of torque. The PHEV has permanent four-wheel drive marshalling that power, which results in a 0-100km/h time of 6.7 seconds and a top speed of 220km/h, all while using 2.8 litres/100km (101mpg) and emitting 64g/km CO2 with a 51km fully electric range. A 13.1kWh prism-shaped lithium-ion battery powers the electrified part of the Sport P400e's drivetrain and can be fully charged in as little as two-and-three-quarter hours.
Deliveries of the 2018MY Range Rover Sport should commence at the start of the new year, with order books opening soon. Irish prices are yet to be confirmed, but expect a modest increase over the €74,585 starting ticket of the current range.