Super Sport Ute: The Range Rover Sport SVR

Zero to 60 in 4.5 seconds. Top speed, 162 mph. Max power an impressive 550 horsepower. Base Camp to the top of Everest, probably in under a couple of minutes.

   You’re looking at Land Rover’s new, and insanely rapid 2015 Range Rover Sport SVR. That would be SVR as in Supremely Versatile Rocketship.

Range Rover Sport SVR - sports utility vehicle - automotive review

   For a while now, the folks at Land Rover have be salivating at the huge profits being made by Porsche and Mercedes with their uber-high performance SUVs, like the Cayenne Turbo and ML63 AMG. A loaded Cayenne Turbo can easily be optioned north of $130,000 these days.

   So Land Rover’s parent, Jaguar Land Rover in Merrie Olde England, has just created its own high-performance division that it’s calling SVO –  short for Special Vehicle Operations. Think of it as a mini AMG.

2015 Range Rover Sport SVR - luxury SUV review with Howard Walker

   Its first serious production model is this new Range Rover Sport SVR, which goes into production early next year with prices starting at $110,475.

   And to show the Germans that it means business, SVO sent a new SVR to the toughest proving ground in the world, the famous Nurburgring race track in northern Germany for a little high-speed action.

   Around the 13-mile roller-coaster, with its 70-plus bends, the Range Rover posted a remarkable 8 minutes and 14 seconds lap, setting a new SUV lap record.

interior of the Range Rover Sport SVR - luxury 4x4 vehicles

   Powering this new Range Rover Sport SVR is the same 5.0-liter supercharged V8 that motivates Jaguar’s latest F-Type R Coupe. That means 550 horsepower and a whopping 502 lb-ft of torque.

   All that power is channeled to the four wheels through a ZF eight-speed automatic with shift times reduced by no less than 50 per cent.

   And just so you won’t forget you’re driving the second-fastest SUV on the planet – the Porsche Cayenne Turbo still holds the top title – the Range Rover comes with a throaty two-stage active exhaust with quad pipes along with throttle-blipping on downshifts. Just like your average supercar.

first look: Range Rover Sport SVR

   There’s also plenty of work been done to retune the suspension to stop the SVR rolling like a freighter in a Force Five around the curves. The Active Dynamics damper settings have been re-tuned for increased agility, most of the suspension bushings have been upgraded, while the locking rear differential has been recalibrated.

   And this being a Range Rover, it can still wade through water 33 inches deep, power through a mud up to its axles and get you to your Aspen ski lodge through snow that’s up to your waist.

Luxury SUV - Range ROver SPort SVR

   Land Rover’s design team has also focused hard on making the new Sport SVR look like a track star. There are gorgeous new 21-inch alloys at each corner, an aggressive-looking front end treatment, new side moldings, a high-mounted rear spoiler and new rear bumper with a gloss black diffuser.

   Of course not every one needs a two-tonne SUV that’s capable of lapping the Nurburgring at insane speeds. But for Land Rover it’s one more way of showing that it can match, or better, the German luxury brands.

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