Following the debut of the new Range Rover last year, Land Rover is now shifting its internal focus on the third-gen Range Rover Sport. One of the company’s bestselling models globally, the new Range Rover Sport is set to go on sale in global markets next year.
- New range-topping Range Rover Sport to develop up to 625hp
- Hybrid and all-electric variants to also be part of line-up
- BMW’s V8 to replace 5.0-litre ‘AJ’ V8 from future SV performance models
The roll-out of Land Rover’s new MLA Flex architecture to its largest models imply that the Mk3 Range Rover Sport will be a radically different proposition from the outgoing car, which will be 10 years old by the time it is replaced.
Claimed to bring 50 percent more torsional stiffness and reduce structure-borne noise by 24 percent, the new shell promises to substantially improve rolling refinement for the Range Rover family. The Sport, in particular, could have an enhanced focus placed on its dynamic credentials as a Porsche Cayenne rival.
This is especially notable in light of a powertrain-sharing agreement between JLR and BMW. The tie-up means the most potent Range Rover Sport SVR will swap its supercharged 5.0-litre V8 for a BMW-developed, twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8, which paves the way for a hefty power increase and – more radically – a highly potent plug-in hybrid drivetrain option.
New Range Rover SVR expected to develop up to 625hp
The 4.4-litre V8, referred to internally as the S63, currently propels BMW’s hottest M cars, with maximum outputs of up to 635hp in the hardcore M5 CS. Land Rover will deploy its own version of the engine in its top-rung SUVs, with a bespoke tune and various modifications carried out by its engineers to best suit their characteristics.
It is most likely that the new Sport SVR – which will be marked out by an aggressive styling package comprising quad-exit exhausts and a prominent rear spoiler – will be tuned to match the 625hp of the BMW X6 M Competition. That will bring the 0-100kph time closer to the 4.0sec mark and raise the SUV’s top speed.
Such a boost would strengthen the hottest Range Rover’s credentials in the super-SUV segment, which has swelled considerably since the current car’s 2013 introduction. New arrivals include the Aston Martin DBX, Porsche Cayenne Coupe, Lamborghini Urus and Maserati Levante Trofeo.
The current Sport SVR uses the Ford-sourced supercharged 5.0-litre ‘AJ’ V8 which has also seen use in other models from JLR’s line-up. This engine is expected to be gradually phased out in the coming years with all models switching to the BMW unit.
Standard Range Rover Sport will get mild-hybrid and PHEV powertrain options
The MLA architecture can accommodate a variety of electrified powertrains and the standard Sport will follow the Range Rover in adopting a range of 48V mild-hybrid-equipped straight-six engines – both petrol and diesel – ranging in output from 250hp to 400hp. But a more notable introduction will be the heavily uprated plug-in hybrid system that pairs a 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine with a 143hp electric motor and a 31.8kWh (usable) battery offering about 100km of EV range.
Additionally, BMW recently demonstrated – with the new COncept XM SUV – that its V8 can be used as part of a PHEV system. A similar set-up will be deployed in the upcoming BMW M5 and could feasibly be adapted for use in the Range Rover Sport to create the most powerful Land Rover model yet.
All-electric Range Rover Sport also on the cards
The Sport will ultimately be offered with a pure-electric drivetrain in line with Land Rover’s plans to transition away from combustion power. The company has confirmed that all models will be offered with a pure-electric option by the end of the decade, starting with the standard Range Rover in 2024, and it hopes to achieve a 60 percent EV sales mix by that point.
Ushering in a zero-emission Sport will be vital to achieving that goal, so it will no doubt follow its larger sibling, launching around the middle of the decade.
Whether these electric Range Rover models will also use BMW-derived powertrains has yet to be confirmed.
Land Rover in India
Land Rover recently announced prices and opened bookings for the new fifth-gen Range Rover in India. The company’s flagship luxury SUV will go on sale in both standard and long-wheelbase forms and is available in petrol and diesel engine options.
One can expect the new Range Rover Sport to also make it to India post its global debut. The hot SVR derivative could also make its way here, along with the current-gen Sport, also available in its range-topping performance trim.