There are many new players in the luxury SUV game. Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, Lexus, Infiniti, Acura, Cadillac, Lincoln…even Porsche makes a crossover these days. But back in the day before every premium automaker and its sister-company was making high-riding sport-utilities, there was only one name in the game: Range Rover.
While the recently (and comprehensively) updated flagship Range Rover still utters the last word in high-end luxury SUVs, to ward off the constant onslaught of the pretenders to the throne charging from all sides, Land Rover has expanded the Range Rover brand into an array of new models. The Evoque has driven the brand into new territory, but in between the two comes the new Range Rover Sport.
Launched just weeks ago at the New York International Auto Show — where James Bond himself, actor Daniel Craig, drove the car onto the stage for a reported fee of a cool million — the new Range Rover Sport picks up where the previous model left off with a host of improvements.
For one thing, the new Range Rover Sport weighs a good 800 pounds less than its disproportionately heavy predecessor (and 100 pounds lighter than its big brother) thanks to its new aluminum chassis. Coupled with a more aerodynamic shape, the sprightlier weight will undoubtedly help the luxury SUV in all areas of its driving dynamics, performance and fuel economy, whether you choose the 340-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 or the 510-horse 5.0-liter V8. Both are supercharged and drive through an eight-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels.
That svelter shape draws styling from both the larger Range Rover and the smaller Evoque, and rides on a wheelbase that’s a solid seven inches longer than the model it replaces, to the benefit of interior space. The cabin is fitted with the latest technologies and high-quality materials you’d expect of a premium product from Jaguar Land Rover, and also gains a third row of seating for carpooling duties or a triple date down at the country club.
Pricing starts at under $64,000 for the six-cylinder Range Rover Sport SE, and climbs to over $93,000 for the top-of-the-line Autobiography model.