This special new HST trim level for Land Rover’s ever-popular Cayenne rival provides our introduction to a key component of the company’s developing engine portfolio – the first six-cylinder motor of the Ingenium engine family.
JLR is moving away from V6 engines and towards straight-sixes for a few reasons. It can employ modular block architecture related to its four-pots, and straight-sixes are more easily packaged with the ever more complicated induction and exhaust systems that modern engines use, while delivering well-known relative advantages in mechanical refinement.
The Range Rover Sport HST’s new ‘P400’ unit is 3.0 litres by volume and effectively replaces the old supercharged V6. It uses twin-scroll turbocharging, electric supercharging and mild-hybrid electric motor assistance to make 295kW and 550Nm.
First impression of the new engine is one of refinement. Land Rover has gone to considerable lengths to make it the smoothest and most discreet engine at any price by fitting near-silent timing chains and the like, and the effort has clearly paid off. The HST starts and runs very quietly indeed, and shifts gear almost imperceptibly on a steady throttle.
Extend the engine’s revs in manual mode and, even in a heavy car like this, the engine is responsive, flexible and potent. Power delivery is very linear – it pulls beyond 6000rpm notably more freely than JLR’s four-pot Ingenium turbos – while audible character is great; smooth and reserved at low speed, yet quite tuneful through the higher reaches.
For such a high and heavy car, it’s a pleasant surprise how agile and precise the Sport feels at speed, and just how cleverly its body control juggles a tied-down sense of control with fluent long-wave bump absorption.
However, our test car’s low speed ride did suffer a bit from fitment of optional 22-inch alloys. Although supple at higher speeds, the HST picked up on sharper ridges in slightly fussy, unbecoming fashion.
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The new P400 engine suits the Range Rover Sport very well, proffering much of the accessible torque and easy drivability of the diesel versions, as well as the refinement and richness of a petrol V8.
Although local pricing and specs are yet to be confirmed, you can well imagine this becoming a go-to engine for urban Range Rover buyers. It should also serve very effectively in more driver-focused Land Rovers and Jaguars in the near future.
All about the drive with MOTOR reviews
2019 RANGE ROVER SPORT HST SPECS
Engine: 2996cc inline-6, DOHC, 24v, turbo
Power: 295kW @ 5500rpm
Torque: 550Nm @ 2000rpm
0-100km/h: 6.2sec (claimed)
Price: $170,000 (est)
Like: Power and smoothness of straight-six; great sound; chassis control
Dislike: Low-speed ride on optional 22-inch wheels belies car’s refinement
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars