With the first examples of the all-new 2022 Range Rover on its way to customers, Land Rover is about to take the wraps off its radically re-invented Range Rover Sport sibling, the current version of which has become one of the company’s bestselling cars.
- Range Rover Sport is the company's bestselling model
- The RR Sport rivals the DBX, Urus, Cayenne and Levante
- All Range Rover models to offer electric powertrains by 2030
Making its debut on May 10, the third-gen Range Rover Sport will play a fundamental role in supporting Jaguar Land Rover as the firm embarks on an electrification programme. Every year, for the past five years, the current model has outsold the standard Range Rover by over 40 percent, and more recently, has jostled with the smaller Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport for the position of JLR’s bestselling overall model.
The roll-out of Land Rover’s new MLA Flex architecture to its largest models means the new-gen 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.
Third-gen Range Rover Sport: chassis and powertrain
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 Range Rover Sport SVR will swap its supercharged 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.
The current Range Rover Sport SVR uses the 572hp, 5.0-litre V8 reserved for models in the company’s Special Vehicles portfolio – currently comprising identically powered versions of the Land Rover Defender, Range Rover, Jaguar F-Pace and Jaguar F-Type. This engine was historically produced by Ford in Bridgend, but was taken in-house when that facility closed in 2019. As the implementation of stricter Euro 7 emissions legislation looms, production of this engine will be gradually wound down and JLR’s most potent models will make the switch to BMW power.
The 4.4-litre V8, referred to internally as the S63, currently propels BMW’s hottest M cars, with maximum outputs of 632hp and 718Nm in the hardcore BMW M5 CS super-saloon. Land Rover will deploy its own version of the engine in its top-rung SUVs, with a bespoke tune and various modifications.
As featured in the Range Rover, it produces 528hp for a 0-100kph time of 4.6sec – slightly less power, but a comfortable performance improvement over the previous V8 car – and those outputs are expected to be increased for the Sport in line with its more overt driver-focused billing.
The new Sport SVR will likely get an aggressive styling package comprising quad-exit exhausts and a prominent rear spoiler and will be tuned to match the 622hp of the BMW X6 M Competition. That will bring the 0-100kph time closer to the 4.0sec mark and bump the top speed to around 290kph.
This would strengthen the hottest Range Rover’s credentials in the fiercely competitive and increasingly important super-SUV segment, which has swelled considerably since the current car was introduced in 2013. New arrivals include the Aston Martin DBX, Porsche Cayenne Coupe, Lamborghini Urus and Maserati Levante Trofeo.
Third-gen Range Rover Sport: electrification
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 248hp to 399hp. But the introduction of a heavily uprated plug-in hybrid system that pairs a 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine with a 142hp electric motor will be more notable.
BMW has also recently demonstrated that its V8 can be used as part of a PHEV system, with the new Concept XM SUV adding a high-output electric motor for total outputs of 747hp and 954Nm, while a 20kWh battery pack supplies 80km of EV range. A similar set-up could be adapted for use in the Range Rover Sport to create the most powerful Land Rover model yet.
Land Rover's electrification goal
Beyond that, 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 soon after 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.
JLR’s partnership with the German firm centres on shared development of new EV drive systems, but BMW already offers a variety of rear- and all-wheel-drive electric cars, including the new iX, which is available with three different twin-motor set-ups. The top-rung M60 car’s 617hp, 1,054Nm arrangement would endow the Range Rover Sport EV with performance on par with – if not superior to – the forthcoming V8-powered SVR.
Land Rover in India
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