Range Rover Sport SV review: Crosses the boundary from SUV to supercar

The Range Rover Sport SV (Image: Provided)
The Range Rover Sport SV (Image: Provided)

I have no intention of robbing a bank, officer. Absolutely not. Nothing to see here, please move along. However, entirely hypothetically you understand, were I to succumb to the temptation of ill-gotten gains, then the new Range Rover Sport SV would likely be both a) the perfect getaway car — four adults in comfort, plenty of room for the loot, will outrun any panda car across any terrain — and b) the requisite opportunity to launder north of £180k in exchange for the (already sold-out) Edition One specification you see here. Though it’s a bit chicken and egg, I guess, as without robbing a bank most of us aren’t going to have the readies for this set of wheels in the first place. That said, it’s the same money you’d need for an Aston Martin DBX, Bentley Bentayga or Lamborghini Urus, each similarly specified and (variously) as capable, as well assembled and as quick. So maybe it’s less about if you could, and more about if you should. To which (spoiler alert), the answer is an emphatic yes. And here’s why.

The Range Rover has, forever, been the first and most convincing of the high-end, multi-purpose, go-anywhere, do-anything SUVs. Others, individually, may squeak it on performance, or luxury, or supercar brand status, but none has quite the bandwidth of a
Range Rover. It is supreme off-road, sublime on it, has a unique, classless cachet all its own and, simply put, can do more, more of the time. It’s a Swiss army knife of a thing, if the Swiss army were based out of Fortnum and Mason.

The Sport model, as the name suggests, is a slightly more sporting take on the full-fat Rangie formula, oft-favoured by footballers and/or their wives and girlfriends. But it’s a two-and-a-half tonne 4×4, so it’s a matter of degree — there’s only so much sport you can add. Until now, that is. Because it’s fair to say the new Range Rover Sport SV rewrites a number of laws, those of physics among them.

“A slightly more sporting take on the full-fat Rangie formula” (Image: Provided)
“A slightly more sporting take on the full-fat Rangie formula” (Image: Provided)

The visual clues are there: a deeper front end newly wearing side vents, quad tailpipes out back and swollen rear arches to house 23-inch wheels (made of carbon fibre for a further £6,900 if you wish, with brakes to match for £7,000 more). And the SV doesn’t flatter to deceive — beneath the (also carbon-fibre) bonnet is a BMW-sourced, 4.4-litre, twin-turbo V8 pushing out 626 horses that move this leviathan from 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds and on to 180mph.

But more clever and more impressive than any of that is the car’s deportment — how it carries the dual challenges of performance and weight using a basket of tech including four-wheel steering, a quicker steering rack and what’s called 6D suspension, where regular anti-roll bars go in the bin to be replaced by four dampers connected diagonally by 25 metres of pipework. Me neither, but let me explain the net effect…

On broken roads, in standard Comfort mode, all about is calm and surprisingly refined. Switch to Dynamic mode and the steering is meatier, the car noticeably more roll-resistant. But in SV mode, the car drops 25mm, knows you want to play ball and — in the unlikely surrounds of the Portimão racetrack — this sportiest of Sports crosses the boundary from SUV to supercar, however unlikely that may sound.

I’m two laps or more in before I recalibrate all that’s going on and remember I’m driving a Range Rover. What’s happening beneath is delivering a driving experience that’s borderline discombobulating — there’s no body roll, no nose lift under hard acceleration and
no sense of major weight transfer under hard, hard braking. I see beyond 200kph on the main straight, but instead of a sense of impending doom, I’m just excited to barrel into corners, point the nose and get the throttle on at the first opportunity. It’s a video game made real.

And then, should you wish (and as I did), you can simply drive off-track, even off-road, and glide serenely home as though nothing unruly had happened. Switch on the extraordinary Body and Soul seats (so extraordinary we’ll come back to them for a future piece all their own) that use music producer-honed technology to vibrate and resonate along with your chosen music, and all is right with the world.

Like I say, officer, nothing to see here.

Range Rover Sport SV
0-60mph in 3.6 secs

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