First Drive: Range Rover Sport SD4
We get behind the wheel of the new Range Rover Sport SD4 and see if a smaller engine really does increase economy while retaining a good amount of power
What is it?
The Range Rover Sport might not be a new car, seeing as it was released in 2013. However, it does have a new four-pot diesel engine.
Jaguar Land Rover will now offer you a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder SD4 diesel engine and is available only in HSE specification. This is not a cheap car though by any means. Starting at £60,015, the SD4 can cost a lot more with a few option boxes ticked like our car, which cost an eye-watering £83,705.
Apart from the new engine, the Rangey hasn't really changed a great deal. That's no bad thing though. There are some minor tweaks to the exterior and some additional tech is available, including a larger 10-inch InControl Touch Pro infotainment system.
For those not wanting a diesel but a lot more power, there is a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol engine, which joins the model range below the petrol V8. It develops 335bhp and 450Nm of torque for a 0-60mph time of seven seconds and a top speed of 130mph.
What's under the bonnet?
The Range Rover Sport SD4 uses Jaguar Land Rover's 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine, producing 237bhp and 500Nm of torque. It's no slouch though, going from 0 to 60mph in 8.3 seconds before topping out at 128mph.
It isn't the quickest Range Rover Sport in the world either, but it will save you money at the pump. Land Rover claims the SD4 will manage 45.6mpg on the combined cycle, with CO2 emissions of 172g/km.
What's it like to drive?
It might say 'Sport' on the back but it is in no way a sporty car. While the V6 and V8 models have some serious poke, the 2.0-litre doesn't. It's fine from a standstill but put your foot down at higher speeds and nothing happens. While the SD4 might boast a respectable 0-60mph time of 8.3 seconds, it does not feel anything like a quick car.
The eight-speed automatic gearbox is also problematic, seeming to have difficulty in actually selecting the gear it wants to engage. The main issue with this is when you attempt to pull away at a roundabout or junction. Press your foot down on the accelerator and not a lot happens, then suddenly a huge burst of acceleration comes from nowhere.
Despite its faults, however, the Range Rover Sport is a likeable car and has bags of room inside and feels exceptionally comfortable to travel in.
How does it look?
The Range Rover Sport is definitely a good-looking vehicle and we feel it is the best looking by far in its class. It manages to walk the line of being stylish and luxurious without being ostentatious very well.
What's it like inside?
As you would expect from any Range Rover there's leather everywhere – on the seats, the dashboard and on the steering wheel. The dashboard and centre console are pleasingly minimal in their layouts, and are tastefully finished in a dark wood, although other lighter colours are also available.
One optional extra we feel is worth ticking is the glass panoramic sunroof. It might be a £2,075 option, but it really lit up the cabin, and made it feel even more spacious. Speaking of space room in the back, is excellent, while headroom and legroom are all superb. The Sport also features a sizeable 498-litre boot, which can be increased to 1,761 litres with the rear seats folded down.
What's the spec like?
The Range Rover Sport SD4 starts at £60,015, so isn't cheap. There's a rear-view camera, Land Rover's excellent Terrain Response system, leather upholstery, satellite navigation, two-zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers and much more, so you do get a lot of kit as standard.
However, our £83,705 test car had a huge number of options on it - more than £20,000-worth in fact. These included a £5,180 Meridian sound system (which was excellent), a £1,035 head-up display, and two entertainment screens in the back of the car – a £2,590 option.
There's a lot to love about the Range Rover Sport SD4. The looks, the sense of presence, the supreme comfort it offers as a cruiser – it's an incredibly desirable car. Expensive, yes, but for those who can afford it, it's unlikely they'll be disappointed. However, while there is a lot to commend the SD4 on, if it were our money, it's not the Range Rover Sport we'd buy. That'd be the V6 diesel. Yes, it costs more, but that additional power means it actually deserves the 'Sport' badge plastered on the back of the car.