Imagine, if you will, the cranium-exploding burst of a Florida thunderclap amplified through a wall of speakers at a KISS concert.
Or the 117-decibel roar registered at a 1972 London concert by the rockers Deep Purple that earned them a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records as “the globe’s loudest band.”
Or, in extremis, the eruption of the Krakatoa volcano in 1883 that was so loud its shock waves reportedly ruptured the eardrums of people 40 miles away and circled the planet four times.
None of these comes close to the aural cacophony that is a Range Rover Sport SVR at pedal-to-the-metal acceleration. It’s insane. I looked for the official Office of Noise Abatement and Control government warning on the dashboard, but it must have been blasted off.
This isn’t a gradual crescendo. Punch the start button on the hand-stitched leather dashboard and it’s like a bucket of dynamite letting rip under the hood. Thankfully, a tap of another button puts the Range Rover in a stealthier, don’t-upset-the-neighbors mode.
So what is this demonic dragster? It’s the poster child of Jaguar Land Rover’s newly minted Special Vehicle Operations. This is JLR’s version of Mercedes-Benz’s hugely profitable AMG division, BMW’s M Sport, and Audi’s Audi Sport.
The new Range Rover Sport SVR is essentially Land Rover’s answer to the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S. It’s powered by a 5-liter supercharged V-8 that cranks out a mighty 550 horsepower—40 horses more than the regular Range Rover Sport Supercharged.
Off the line, it’ll lunge from zero to 60 mph in a mere 4.5 seconds and won’t quit until the speedo needle is kissing the 162-mph mark.
But this isn’t some straight-line race car. The air-sprung suspension has adaptive, magnetic dampers that respond to body movements up to 1,000 times per second. At each corner is a 21-inch alloy—22s are optional—shod with Continental rubber that grips like Velcro on velvet.
Point its nose down a twisty back road and the SVR feels insanely fast. It’s like driving a new 550-horse Jaguar F-type R Coupe that sits 3 feet off the ground. The SVR’s big V-8 works majestically with its eight-speed automatic and four-wheel drive to deliver breathtaking capability.
If all this slingshot performance isn’t enough, remember the Sport SVR is a true Range Rover and comes with unrivaled off-road prowess. That means the ability to wade through water 33 inches deep and plough through mud the consistency of molasses.
To differentiate it from lesser Range Rover Sports, the SVR is dressed up with a new, more aerodynamic front bumper with extra intakes to chill the brakes. There are also side skirts and a rear spoiler to reduce drag, as well as a quartet of canon-sized exhausts poking out of the back.
Climb inside and bask in bolstered sport seats in the front and rear that grip like a WWF wrestler. The downside? The third-row seat and the three-across rear bench are gone, making the SVR a less accommodating four-seater.
This performance will cost a cool $111,470, or around $30,000 more than a standard Range Rover Sport Supercharged. Start adding in those 22-inch alloys, the 1,700-watt Meridian Signature stereo, the $2,000 carbon fiber engine cover, and the $2,300 interior carbon fiber trim package, and you’ll hand over a buck and a quarter.
But if you’re jazzed at the thought of a Range Rover Sport that believes it’s a hard-charging, red-blooded sports car, this SVR is for you. Just buy earplugs.
PRICE: From $111,470
ENGINE: 5-liter supercharged
V-8 POWER: 550 hp
TORQUE: 502 pound-feet
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic 0-60: 4.5 seconds
TOP SPEED: 162 mph
LENGTH/WIDTH: 192/79 inches
WEIGHT: 5,148 pounds
WHY WE LOVE IT: Because no other SUV performs, handles, thrills, or certainly sounds like this.