The Range Rover Sport SVR has never been a car for shrinking violets.
Any illusion you’d made the sensible family choice quickly faded once the 5.0-litre supercharged V8 fired into life. Still, outwardly at least, it was somewhat of a sleeper, especially on the standard 21-inch rims. No longer.
The MY19 Range Rover Sport SVR now looks like it has driven through a F1 team factory, or at least our test car did, clad with the Carbon Fibre Exterior Pack. This $14,690 option spreads the black weave across the front bumper, grille, guard vents, mirror covers and tailgate, joining the standard-fit bonnet.
Range Rover claims “its lightweight construction delivers genuine dynamic benefits”, but then it needs to, as the updated SVR is 42kg heavier than its predecessor. Our test car is probably closer to being on par thanks to the aforementioned added carbon.
The new Performance seats would look more at home in the Jaguar XE SV Project 8 and are yet another example of the new SVR’s added pizzazz. The interior has undergone the biggest transformation, adding the Velar’s twin-touchscreen setup, greater connectivity and the full suite of active safety systems.
It’s a very nice place to spend time, though the twin-screen set-up feels a bit like technology for technology’s sake, as there aren’t enough vehicle functions to make use of all the screen real estate.
Despite the cabin overhaul, the primary reason to consider an SVR is the lump of fire and fury under that carbon bonnet. It now produces an F-Type SVR-matching 423kW/700Nm, dropping the 0-100km/h claim to 4.5sec. This still feels conservative, the ultra-sharp throttle response catapulting this monster forward like it’s attached to an aircraft carrier launch line.
It sounds murderous, too, with a gurgly snarl like a bear in the bath. The racket is addictive, but activating it doesn’t do much for the fuel economy, which needs all the help it can get with this much power and weight.
These two numbers largely dictate the SVR’s cornering behaviour. Apparently the suspension has undergone revisions, but driven hard the SVR is still definitely more Sport in name than nature. The rear-end is especially mobile and the steering can be corrupted when drive is fed forward; it’s better to back off in the bends and just thunder down the straights.
The facelifted SVR is an intriguing machine. It has attitude galore, but ask it to relax and the throttle is doughy and the ride unsettled. It’s not difficult to see the attraction but I do wonder how long the appeal of this automotive extrovert would last.
2019 RANGE ROVER SPORT SVR SPECS:
Engine: 5000cc V8, DOHC, 32v, supercharger
Power: 423kW @ 6000-6500rpm
Torque: 700Nm @ 3500-5000rpm
0-100km/h: 4.5sec (claimed)
Like: Looks and sounds crazy; brutal performance; lively handling; updated interior
Dislike: No ballet dancer; terrifying thirst; silly options prices (test car was $296,280!)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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