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Drive

The Range Rover Sport – Supercharged 5.0 Litre V8

Vrooom! Vroooooohm! Can’t help it sorry. You just have to keep it revving! You buy a car for this noise...
Sometimes you just get fed up of being sensible and want to have some fun. Or at least I do!

This 505 bhp supercharged V8 sitting under the bonnet of this top of the range Range Rover Sport is intoxicating. We have a bit of a grinning audience too, as the exhaust splatters, cracks, and pops, at circa 6,200 rpm. Mentally, I’m twenty years younger.


 

Dedicated petrol heads will know what I mean. You buy a car for this noise. Yet if you were to close your eyes and listen to that deep powerful rasping V8 rudely disturbing the air waves you could easily mistake it for a tuned Corvette or Trans Am, not the very cultured, civilised and tidy Sports Utility Vehicle this Range Rover Sport is.

 Admittedly, it doesn’t have to be this way; if economy is high on the shopping list then the TDV6 and slightly more powerful SD V6 diesel versions will return between 38 and 42 mpg. Our supercharged V8 achieves 15-24 mpg.

Yet for buyers of this ultimate top spec Range Rover, there is a place for self-indulgence alongside the liberty of choice. You’ll want the substantial ruggedness and all-purpose usability of a Range Rover, you just happen to want the Range Rover package to be delivered via the most powerful high performing unit Land Rover supply. In fact, the many Arabs who will be the main beneficiaries of the privilege, would have it no other way.

Whilst not anticipated to be a major model seller in the UK (that’ll be the diesels), this 5.0 litre supercharged V8 engine is a work of art; Powering the big 2.5 tonne vehicle to 60 mph in 5 seconds and on to a probably detuned 140 mph. You’ll have your window down just to listen to the muted fury of the Lion’s raw, flicking either the steering mounted paddles or  floor mounted gear  selector through all eight successive instant change ratios with nearon child-like enthusiasm. Or at least I did! It’s like being at a party when someone else is doing the driving home; you can have a drink and throw care to the wind. Sometimes you just get fed up of being sensible and want to have some fun. Or at least I do!

As no doubt does 99.9 per cent of enthusiast UK buyers who opt for this engine. We are a bunch of power addicts, and until it becomes an offence will quite happily remain so. As such, we love the free flow breathing of a powerful naturally aspirated V8 petrol engine, its unrelenting linearity under hard acceleration, the tenacious power, the almost dismissively relaxed high cruising speeds and of course…the sound. Yes, when you buy the big 5.0 litre version of this already remarkable motor vehicle, the engine matters. Actually, it wouldn’t surprise me if this engine proved to be one of the ‘driving forces’ behind new converts to the brand.

When they do, engine aside, it’ll be once bitten…forever smitten. This top-of-the-ranger – the Autobiography Dynamic – comes with everything bar a dishwasher, which I am sure will soon become an optional extra. The model we have here is indeed ‘the flagship’, of an already highly spec’d car: automatic headlights, two zone climate control, heated front seats, DAB audio, and Say-What-You-See voice control, power tailgate, HD Navigation  and Land Rover’s Terrain Response – all terrain driving system come as standard. Add to that Wade Sensing (tells you how deep you’re wading of course), panoramic roof, Meridian Sound and Park Assist, cooled and heated front and rear seats, on-board TV, dual view touchscreen, rear seat entertainment and more… and you have the vehicle pictured here. It does need a dishwasher though.

Lest we forget, whilst wallowing in this leather-clad, much roomier and more comfortable aluminium bodied state of the art Range Rover, that we happen to be in the World’s most capable off-road vehicle. Yes, we’ve tried it off-road too, and it virtually defies physics. The World is your oyster with this car and it really is a bargain…even at that kind of money.

- Kevin Haggarthy