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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Aggressive new Range Rover Sport revealed

The third generation of Range Rover's smash-hit will be coming to South Africa towards the end of the year.

Having remained unfazed by the number of pre-production spy shots leaked over the last few years, Jaguar-Land Rover (JLR), overnight, revealed the all-new third-generation Range Rover Sport that will be coming to South Africa later this year.

A model of particular importance to the Indian-owned British marque, the Sport follows not only the same stylistic approach as the full-size Range Rover, but jumps ship to the MLA-Flex platform that supports electrification from the outset.

Said to bring “a new level of structural rigidity and refinement” to the Sport, the platform is 35% stiffer than before and for the Sport, revised in such a way that the newcomer debuts as the stiffest Range Rover ever made.

Also billed as the most dynamic ever made, the Sport comes equipped with Land Rover’s new Integrated Chassis Control system, Dynamic Response Air Suspension with adaptive dampers, Active Roll Control driven by a 48-volt electrical system and an Electronic Active Differential with Torque Vectoring.

New Range Rover Sport revealed
Side profile all too familiar.

The under-the-skin tweaks don’t stop there as the platform sees the inclusion of Land Rover’s All-Wheel-Steering system, Driveline Dynamic that disconnects the front axle and prop shaft when not required, the upgraded Terrain Response 2 four-wheel-drive system and Adaptive Dynamics that adjusts the roll and pitch of the body based on steering inputs 500 times every second.

A new option is the Stormer Handling pack named after the 2004 concept that went on to become the original Sport months later.

Included is the mentioned air suspension with the first adjustable air springs, Active Roll Control, the All-Wheel-Steering system, Electronic Active Differential with Torque Vectoring and active twin-valve dampers.

Compared to the standard five-seat Range Rover, the Sport, despite the platform, is shorter and lower dimensionally with its overall length stretching 4 946 mm instead of  5 052 mm, and its height measuring 1 820 mm versus 1 870 mm.

ALSO READ: Land Rover bookmarks 10 May for new Range Rover Sport reveal

Sporting a wheelbase of 2 997 mm and width of 2 209 mm, both identical, the Sport has a claimed wading depth of 900 mm and ground clearance of 281 mm, which falls to 274 mm in the case of the new plug-in hybrid model.

Approach, departure and break over angles are rated at 33 degrees (29.7 degrees for the plug-in hybrid), 30 degrees and 26.9 degrees (24.5 degrees) respectively. As with the full-size Range Rover, no details regarding the Sport’s apparent weight loss were revealed.

As mentioned, the Sport once again takes after its senior sibling in the styling department, though with bespoke elements such as the slimmer LED headlights and grille, a sportier front bumper with air intakes on the flanks and a deeper lower air dam, and up to 23-inch alloy wheels.

In addition to shorter front and rear overhangs than the outgoing Sport, Land Rover has completely redesigned the rear facia so that it differs from the Range Rover.

New Range Rover Sport revealed
Rear facia has been styled differently from the standard Range Rover.

Seemingly inspired by the new Nissan Z, the rear features a full-length Range Rover script across the now single-piece tailgate, new LED light clusters, a prominent faux diffuser and a numberplate cavity moved from the tailgate to the centre of the new bumper.

Inside, the Sport’s interior is largely carried over from the sibling in that it gets the new 13.1-inch Pivi Pro infotainment system and 13.7-inch digital instrument cluster, new steering wheel and seats, toggle switch operated ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic gearbox and Active Noise Cancelling technology.

Aside from the assortment of materials and colours, which ranges from Windsor to semi-aniline leather and Ebony to Raven Blue, the Sport can be fitted with a rear seat entertainment system comprising two 11.4-inch displays with wireless headphones, and a choice of three Meridian sound systems; the standard 15-speaker, 400-watt, an 800-watt 19-speaker and the flagship 29-speaker that pumps out 1 430-watts.

On the safety side, again model and market-dependent, the Sport comes equipped with Adaptive Cruise Control with Steering Assist, the ClearSight ground-view digital camera, Lane Keep Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Monitoring and Assist, Rear Collision Monitor, Autonomous Emergency Braking and Traffic Sign Recognition.

New Range Rover Sport revealed
Interior design has been carried over from the full-size Range Rover.

Nestled upfront, the Sport’s engine choices span two turbocharged kinds of petrol and one turbodiesel, as well as the mentioned plug-in hybrid.

Carrying the P360 identifier, the mild-hybrid assisted 3.0-litre Ingenium straight-six produces 265kW/500Nm, while the step-up P400 outputs 294kW/550Nm. Both these units will only become available next year.

At the sharp end of the petrol, line-up is the P530, which displaces 4.4-litres and replaces the old Ford-based 5.0-litre V8.

Sourced from BMW, and doing without mild-hybrid assistance, the twin-turbo bent-eight produces 390kW/750Nm and will serve as the base for the incoming SVR reports have alleged could make as much as 441 kW.

New Range Rover Sport revealed
New slim-line seats.

On the plug-in hybrid front, the P510e replaces the P400e and jettisons not only the 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ingenium engine but also the battery.

Combining the straight-six petrol with a 31.8-kWh lithium-ion battery that powers a 105 kW electric motor, the P510e outputs 375kW/700Nm, which translates to an all-electric range of 125 km, full EV driving at up to 140 km/h and 0-100 km/h in 5.4 seconds.

Oil-burning motivation comes courtesy of the JLR’s mild-hybrid 3.0-litre Ingenium straight-six in three states of tune; 183kW/600Nm in the D250, 221kW/650Nm in the D300 and 258kW/700Nm in the range-topping D350.

Already available for ordering, Land Rover South Africa has confirmed the Sport’s arrival towards the end of the year with three models set to be offered; the P400, P530 and D350. Expect pricing to start at around the R1.6-million mark.

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