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Driving impression: Range Rover Sport

22 May 2014

The all-new Range Rover Sport is probably all the car one could ever need, that is, if you happen to be part of the ten percent who make the big bucks in SA.

It costs a whopping R1,2 million, but you do get quite a few differing personalities packed into one stunning body.

The first car is the family express. The RRS has seating for a family of five and more than enough space for their luggage. Because it’s a Range Rover, it also comes with every conceivable luxury item, including seat heating for the rear bench.

This is the kind of car that eats up the miles. I think a drive town to Cape Town from Johannesburg would be quite relaxing in this car.

The trip would be over fairly quickly as well, which brings me neatly to the other personality. This side of the RRS is a loud, raving lunatic.

Our test mule was the full-fat supercharged 5,0-litre petrol V8. It produces 375kW and 625Nm of torque, which is enough to accelerate it to 100km/h in 5,3 seconds.

These figures, however, are not that expensive. It’s fairly easy to get a car to go fast in a straight line; you just keep on adding horsepower until you get the desired acceleration figure.

It’s an entirely different matter getting it to behave around a corner. In a top-heavy SUV, it’s an almost impossible task, but somehow the engineers at Land Rover have managed to get it right.

Driving the RRS enthusiastically is a strange experience. Your mind constantly wants you to slow down, because and SUV isn’t meant to be driven that way, but the petrol running through your veins call out for even more. It’s not really a problem, because the Sport can easily cope when you’re pushing it hard.

I have no idea how the folks at Land Rover managed to pull this one off, but the RRS feels like a lifted BMW 5 Series. It handles beautifully and it will keep on gripping long after the driver has given up on finding the limits.

It also sounds delicious. That 5,0-litre supercharged Jaguar V8 makes a properly dirty sound. It’s such a lovely noise, in fact, that I think it’s worth forking over R1,2 million just to have that sound in one’s life permanently.

Then there’s the final personality. The one that loves to get down and dirty. I haven’t driven it off-road personally, but my colleague reliably informs me that it’s still a proper Land Rover in this regards.

The RRS has Land Rover’s famous terrain response system, which basically does everything for your. All you have to do is point it, let’s say at the top of a mountain, and a few minutes later you arrive there. It really is as simple as that.

I loved my time with the Range Rover Sport. I can totally see why it’s such a firm favourite amongst the lucky few in SA. It might cost a ridiculous amount of money, but it doesn’t seem so bad considering the fact that you get three cars for the price of one.

Look out for proper road test in an upcoming edition of Leisure Wheels.