Talk about snap, crackle and pop. The soundtrack percolating from Range Rover Sport SVR's quad exhaust tips should be enough to tell you what lies beneath.
And that is one bad-ass SUV capable of clocking a low-eight minute lap of the forbidding Nurburgring Nordschleife track in Germany. The Sport SVR is arguably the fastest standard production SUV on the planet, surpassing such hotrods as Porsche's Cayenne Turbo, Benz's M63 AMG and BMW's X5/6M. It is the most powerful, fastest and most dynamic Land Rover ever produced.
What is even more impressive is the Sport SVR retains all its off-road capability into the bargain. So you can have your cake and eat it too, blasting away on sealed highways and byways and then spearing off into the boonies without even taking a breath. Amazing. The SVR really is a clever piece of work that sells for $218,500 and is the first product from Land Rover's Special Vehicles Operation — essentially the AMG of Land Rover — which doesn't do things by half-measures.
The SVR has monumentally powerful supercharged V8 capable of 0-100kmh in a quick 4.7 seconds
Its monumentally powerful supercharged V8, as used in Jaguar's F-Type R, propels the 2350kg SVR from 0-100kmh in a quick 4.7 seconds. Claimed average thirst for premium unleaded is 12.8L/100km.
Starting from a high base — Range Rover's Vogue 5.0 is the donor vehicle — the SVR gets more boost from its supercharger as well as improved air flow to the twin intercoolers. The engine computer has been recalibrated and the multi-mode exhaust delivers one of the best notes on any car currently available.
The eight-speed auto transmission is retuned for 50 per cent quicker shifts. Listen for the throttle blip on down changes when Dynamic mode is selected. Changes are effected through paddle-shifters or the stick selector ... or leave it in Drive and let the car do all the work.
To keep all this grunt in check, the SVR's predominantly aluminium monocoque assembly is finessed with suspension improvements such as active roll control stabiliser bars that use servo motors to keep the body level in hard cornering. It has magnetic control dampers, recalibrated air springs and the steering is now electric.
All dynamic functions along with the throttle and gear settings come under the thrall of a multi-mode drive select setup that delivers full luxury cruising all the way through to track readiness.
The cabin is typical high-end Range Rover spec, differentiated here by sports seats and specific colours. The exterior has a similar treatment with subtle aero changes to the front and rear bumpers along with side skirts and other adornments.
Off road too
What of the landed gentry who take their Rangey mud plugging? They are extremely well catered for in the SVR with Terrain Response drive mode, ride height of up to 278mm, low and high range 4WD, 21-inch multi-terrain tyres (22-inch road tyres are optional), rear locking differential and plenty of other off road kit.
SVO installs a form of torque vectoring using the brakes instead of the differential. Torque vectoring sends drive only to the wheels that have grip and it can prevent skidding out of control off the road.
Whoosh — this big bus really rocks and sounds totally awesome for onlookers and occupants alike. To look up and see a big SUV blatting rapidly into the distance with near pyrotechnic bangs between gear shifts stirs the soul.
Get behind the wheel and the effect is mesmerising. Something this big shouldn't be so wieldy. It's no sports car but accounts for itself well in a track environment and is fearsomely quick between turns. Braking ... well, it is nearly 2.5 tonnes. On wet or icy roads, the SVR would be in a class of its own.
We didn't drive the big blue five-seater on the (public) road — where, we suspect, with the right buttons pushed it would deliver the full luxury Range Rover drive feel.