A plug-in version of the 2018 Range Rover Sport headlines a string of changes being introduced to the performance off-roader range as part of running updates that claim to make it more kind to the environment than a Toyota Prius.
First deliveries of the P400e, as the model will be known, arrive late this year, and priced from $146,600. The more fuel-efficient variant will be based on the Range Rover Sport HSE model grade when it is introduced here.
The plug-in Sport, badged a “Si4 PHEV”, uses a 221kW turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine paired up with an 85kW electric motor and an eight-speed automatic transmission to deliver a combined 297kW of performance, and 640Nm of torque – even more twist than the sub-SVR supercharged 5.0-litre V8-engined variants.
Meanwhile, combined fuel use and emissions are rated at just 2.8L/100km and 64g/km on the combined cycle – that’s compared with 3.4L/100km and 80g/km for Toyota’s environmental poster car, the Prius.
As with other plug-in hybrids, the electricity-friendly version of the Range Rover Sport does come with compromise; the batteries are housed in the area where a full-size spare wheel would normally sit on other models. A seven-seat version is still available if you need more than the standard five pews.
However, you do get a home charging cable that plugs into a port on the grille, the extra grunt of the PHEV’s electrical system means the car can remotely fire up the air-con before you even walk out the door of home or the office, and there’s a fixed almost full-length sunroof stretching overhead with a blind that you can open or close at the sweep of a hand.
Staying inside, there’s a more elegant, minimalist cabin dominated by a pair of 10-inch touchscreens. There’s up to 14 recharging points, including a domestic power plug that can charge up a laptop.
Pricing for the 2018 Range Rover Sport shows the range will become slightly cheaper to get into with the introduction of a 177kW 2.0-litre diesel-engined SD4 version priced from $95,100, $2000 cheaper than the former entry-level 221kW 2.0-litre petrol Si4.
At its top end, the range also introduces the 423kW Range Rover Sport SVR, a more road-focused, supercharged V8 performance version priced from $238,200.