It’s a 405kw beast from JLR’s secretive special ops group, the SVO (SVO=Special Vehicle Operations, don’t you just love it?). In fact, all of the numbers are huge: 405kw, 680Nm, $224,110 (plus onroads), 319gms/kg, 19L/100k (claimed combined is around 13L/100k). What is tiny is the 0-100 of a mere 4.7 seconds, and this from a vehicle weighing a hefty 2335kg, and is 4872mm long, 2073mm wide and 1780mm tall.
An SUV with attitude, the SVR is even faster, and more luxurious than the previous range-topping “Autobiography”. We loved the Range Rover Sport we drove earlier in the year and you can read about it hear.
The beautiful exterior has a hint of Range Rover’s baby, the Evoque. The roof gently slopes towards the back end without the compromise of interior space found in Evoque.
The 21” wheels are not particularly suited to off-roading but are perfect for bahn-storming. You can fork out a few extra shekels for 22” wheels if you want. In fact, there are a fistful of options to personalize your SVR if your purse is deep enough.
The front end has a SVO-designed bumper, and the blue Brembos stand out against big fat alloys. Because the Sport sits so squarely on the road, it looks angry and aggressive. Our blue beast looks moody, as if at any moment it is going to throw you down a set of stairs head first, and I like that. The Blue paint is a $4,200 option by the way.
Smart entry/start gets you into the luxurious cabin. You can programme the Range Rover to squat for easier access. Opening the door with the car in park and the engine off makes the suspension sink a few cms to let you get out without falling on your face.
You still sit fairly tall in a saddle specific to the SVR. The 16-way electric seats even have adjustable side bolsters to gently hug your love handles. The designers assume the driver is going to be throwing themselves into corners at warp 10 and need to be held on place, and they’re right. It really works too. The seats feel luxurious yet supportive with plenty of lateral support.
Because the feature list is even longer than the options list, going through them all would take all day but here are a few of the highlights:
Heated acoustic windscreen, satnav, 10.2” touch screen, Bluetooth, all-terrain centre, TFT virtual instruments, power auto-dipping side mirrors with puddle lamps including Range Rover projected hologram, quad tailpipes, roll stability control, sway control, four-corner air suspension, electric brake, emergency brake assist, hill descent control, twin-speed transfer box, adaptive dynamics, torque vectoring, gradient acceleration control, 825watt 19 speaker Meridian sound system. And, this is only a small selection of the laudable attributes, and at least partially accounts for the price.
The interior has the premium feel way above what you’d expect a humble 4WD to have, and that raises another point, Range Rover Sport if a proper 4 Wheel Drive. Even the SVR has the chutzpa to take you to the centre of Australia without breaking a sweat, but you might want to change wheels first. A tyre with higher sidewall is much better off-road.
If the stunning, masculine exterior, and the refined immaculate interior, don’t moisten your nethers, then the rambunctious performance will. Starting the stupidly powerful supercharged 5.0L V8 elicits a kind of visceral trembling that can’t be faked by fancy valves or a naff audio sound track. As if that wasn’t fantastic enough, more noise can be had by pressing the bi-modal button. Do what the smart ones do, and remove its fuse so the valve is always open. The noise is glorious. Like every Range Rover that has gone before, you sit in a commanding position high above all but the very butchest of “Pick-Up” trucks.
The seats are exclusive to the SVR and, though very firm, still manage to feel luxurious. Let’s face it, hard core off-roaders are not buying an SVR to cross Australia. So, what is the point of it? Despite, or perhaps because of the 2,333kg heft, the SVR 4.7 second 0-100 sprint feels massively quick. Some say this is not as quick as some of the rivals, but few of those rivals are true four wheel drives as the Range Rover is. More importantly, none have the 40-year pedigree without even considering the even longer history of the Land Rover models.
The 12.1m turning circle only feels big at parking speeds but is small considering the external proportions. The fact that the Range Rover won’t ever do serious off-roading belies the inherent abilities. For example, you can ford an 850 deep stream, but never be tempted to enter flood water in any vehicle, period. You can scale steep slopes even on the standard tyres because the sophisticated 4wd system has selectable modes, with a fully automatic setting if you’d prefer. Deeply rutted tracks feel almost flattened, but it is the on-road performance most occupants will experience.
You’d think a Range Rover would be difficult to thread through the eye of the city peak-hour needle, but it feels light and easy. Whether it is the brute power under bonnet, or the adjustable chassis, you simply are not aware of the imposing façade, so you treat it like a regular hatch, albeit a luxurious one.
The highways are ghostly quiet, except for the dreadful stonechip surface favoured on some older stretches put down by miserable penny-pinching accountants. The driving dynamics limit the worst of the body roll in tight corners, but you feel the height trying to pull you off course should you be too enthusiastic. The electronics are so clever that almost every surface gives you a certain feel of superiority. There is a smugness that comes over you at 110kph knowing that any space, any gate, any gap in the roadside presents unexplored opportunity.
This is genuinely one of those vehicles where the stats and facts matter little. It expands the already enormous portfolio of enjoyment all Range Rover owners enjoy and imbues its driver with a satisfaction money just can’t buy. Sure, the purchase price is as high as some of the mountains the SVR can climb, but there is nothing fake about the claims. You can cross continents if you can find enough petrol stops, and you’ll do it in great comfort. Sand, rock, mud and gravel are no obstacles.
My man at ?and Rover/Range Rover told me to make sure I shifted down a cog or two in tunnels, so I did. It sounds as though the tailpipes were connected directly to the gates of hell. You’re tempted to hold a gear using the paddles. As you back of, the exhaust spits and snarls angrily before you stick the boot back in for an even more rewarding snarl, then a growl, and finally, an epic roar.
There is opposition in the market, of course there is. None of them feel quite the same. None feel as capable or as nimble. All of them feel in some way compromised. Most of them pale AWD-imitations. Put them anywhere near a puddle deeper than a suburban gutter and they’d run screaming for fear of braking a nail. For anyone curious, the Range Rover doesn’t have the driving dynamics of its Jaguar F Pace cousin but the F Pace won’t be climbing any mountains either.
We managed to get the fuel figures down to an 12L/100k average on the highway but this climbed above 20 around town. There are very few 405kw vehicles that will do better I suspect.
As I said, Ranges Rover’s Sport SVR is not about numbers, they’re largely irrelevant. This is not the car for tree-huggers, nor is it the kind of vehicle for the weak-hearted.
The ride height varies between 213mm and 278mm, and will squat even lower to let the height-challenged passengers alight without falling on their faces.
This is a rare vehicle whose price is irrelevant. Either you have the doh or not. There are a range of packages that add features which cheaper brands have as standard but none of that matters. Whether or not you have blind spot monitoring or lane departure warning, you’ll still be driving a hyper-SUV and that’s what matters.
Because you can crawl over rocks and wade into water almost a metre deep, then spend hours on a highway in equal comfort, there is little to equal Range Rover Sport SVR. Of course, you associate Range Rover with Polo, horse floats, and champagne, but it is so much more. And before you make the comments about not being able to sit on the tailgate, who actually does that? No one that’s who.
The performance is monumental, the comfort is abundant, and the image is absolute. Range Rover has nothing to prove with the SVR. Most of the alleged opposition are not true 4WD and cannot go where the Sport SVR can. It really is that simple.
Would I buy one? Yes, all day.
16.5MY Range Rover Sport SVR
MAX POWER (KW)
MAX TORQUE (NM)
MAX SPEED (KPH)
FUEL ECON (L/100KM)
5,000cc Supercharged V8 Petrol
405 @ 6,000-6,500rpm
680 @ 3500-4000rpm
Up to 3,000
8 Speed Automatic Transmission
Blue Painted Brake Calipers
SVR Front & Rear Bumper Bars
Terrain Response® 2 Dynamic Program
Active Sports Exhaust w/ Bright Quad Tailpipes
Premium Noble Plated Paddle Shifts
Head Up Display
Oxford Perforated SVR Embossed Leather Seats w/ 16-way adjustment & powered height adjust
Santorini Black Contrast Roof & Black Painted Mirror Caps
Front & Rear Heated Seats
Reduced Section Spare Wheel
3-zone Climate Control
Rear View Camera
Gesture Tail Gate
Illuminated Aluminium Tread Plates w/ Range Rover lettering