The 2012 Range Rover Sport Supercharged is the younger and smaller sibling to the Range Rover Supercharged. As such, being younger, you normally tend to be faster. Oh yes the Range Rover Sport is a fast SUV. Here’s a pat on your back Mr. Range Rover !!
The Sport outperforms its elder brother in speed primarily because its lighter, while they both share the same engine, the gorgeous 5.0 LR-V8 supercharged producing 503 HP @ a click over 6000rpm. And as a younger and more agile variant it can out handle a Vogue. The Range has a feel which can only be explained and understood when one sits in it. Its ride height and the space around the driver instantly makes one feel right at home. This is a car that takes just seconds in getting familiarized with the bearings.
Having said that one should understand UAE’s love affair with the Range Rover marque. Before the days of asphalt laid roads it was just desert and it was the Range Rover and the Land Cruiser which got things moving in the region. Both the brands have grown with the country. The Range Rover however, always stood different. Its prestige and off road capabilities are the tales of folklore in the region. But the country is changing and so are its demographics. Ranger Rover understands this all too well and have three variants to cater to all the needs.
Now let us get back to what the Sport is all about. First introduced in 2005, the latest version grows by almost 210 HP. While the exterior has been slightly revised its what is hidden that has been overhauled and re-tuned. The seats are firm yet soft and for those long drives offers no back aches. The entertainment system has also grown to 17 speakers, powered by the audiophile Harman Kardon LOGIC 7 system producing a staggering 825W of sound. But what does this all mean?
Music and interior draped in the softest leather doesn’t mean a thing without a soul. The Sport has soul in bucket loads. Its full of soul really. The car feels like its powered by a nuclear reactor. There is power everywhere. The whistle of the Supercharger can be heard from as low as 2500rpm. The thrust is relentless, there is thrust till the gear changes up and one would think that its over. But no. There is another barrage of thrust that follows right after, and this happens for all the 6 gears. Take it easy and slow on the road and the Sport is as civilized as any other SUV. But its the feeling of the power which is always at your command is what gets my heart racing.
On the way towards Abu Dhabi, I had a hard time keeping the car at 140kmph. The sense of speed is just not there, the car felt as if I was cruising at 60kmph instead. I had to switch on the cruise control on fear of getting flashed. Its very composed at any speed. Take the car in to a tight bend and this is where the Sport excels over the Vogue, there is no body roll. Well you just cannot feel the body roll. It’s planted, the Sport just grips and if you still push it further it grips even more. It feels like a sport saloon in corners. I reckon this would appeal to the younger generation the most. Power and handling.
The suspension soaks up all the bumps and humps along its way. I just did not feel anything when I was in the car. The Range Rover was always one of the best off terrain vehicle, I guess the Sport has added its on terrain credentials as well. You cannot fault anything about the car, well that’s not true. There are some minor if only’s. There were some occasional buzz of the panels from the rear speakers and when the door is closed I was having a hard time putting my hand to the seat adjustment control. Maybe it was me, my watch was always getting on the way.
The iPod integration and the cool box is just great and ease of reach. The powered tailgate is present on the 2012 for greater convenience.
This is an SUV with grit above all else. It may not be hardcore but for the majority of us urban dwellers this car has it all. There are no significant flaws in it. I don’t really expect or want the shape to change much, it just looks great. You just feel safe around it. Some designs are in for the moment, the Range Rover’s designs are classics. They age very very slow. One thing is for sure, once you drive one, it is very hard not be awed by it. The Range Rover Sport is a solid, tour de force in the SUV segment and rightfully so. It has all the right ingredients.
Images By Brian Donegan