The current Range Rover and the Range Rover Sport are prime examples of a brand making more improvements upon an iconic product range than anyone would have expected. The previous generation of the Range Rover was popular and loved for its timeless design and the right blend of luxury and dynamic capabilities. While it was difficult to envisage how Land Rover could improve upon such a winning formula, the Solihull manufacturer did just that with the new models. In fact, it added even more luxury and dynamism with the SVR and SV Autobiography variants.

Among the smorgasbord of hot SUVs that are available today, the Range Rover Sport SVR, with its brutal power, guttural exhaust note and astounding performance credentials, stands tall.  The version we have here is the slightly milder Autobiography, still fettled by the boffins at JLR’s Special Vehicles Operations. Apart from the usual SVO goodies, it incorporates changes and updates that were introduced for the 2019 model year. The Black Exterior Pack adds Gloss Black accents, including the grille mesh and surround, fender vent and hood vent surrounds, as well as the door mirror covers and tailgate finisher, lending the Range Rover Sport a more understated appearance. A set of 21-inch five split-spoke alloy wheels with ‘Diamond Turned’ finish comes as standard. Adding to the striking lines of the front fascia are the Matrix LED headlights with signature Daytime Running Lights with Adaptive Driving Beam, a a technology that splits the main beam into vertical strips, thus helping maximise visibility and prevent dazzling. The latest model also gets advanced side mirrors with approach lights, auto-dimming and power folding function.

 

Photos: Stefan Lindeque

The cabin has also been suitably upgraded, with 22-way power-adjustable, heated and cooled front seats finished in semi-aniline leather offering impressive support and comfort. Two 10-inch touchscreens take centre stage in the uncluttered cabin, and the infotainment system is intuitive, although you’ll need to keep a chamois handy to clean up all those ungainly smudges. Also new for 2019 are the optional Drive Pack and the Park Pack. While the former includes the Driver Condition Monitor and Blind Spot Monitor, the latter includes the 360-degree Parking Aid, Rear Traffic Monitor and Clear Exit Monitor.

The 5.0-litre supercharged V8 is good for 518bhp and 625Nm of torque.  Mated to a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission, it does the 0-100kph sprint in 5.3 seconds on its way to a top speed of 225kph. In keeping with its off-road legacy, the Range Rover Sport Autobiography features a driver-selectable all-wheel-drive system. Although it offers six different modes including snow, mud, sand, and rock crawling, I found leaving it in Auto mode to be the best option in most situations. But for when you’re in the mood to enjoy some tarmac-tearing fun, there’s the Dynamic mode that dials in sharper settings for the engine and transmission.

For an SUV, the Range Rover Sport Autobiography displays incredible dynamic abilities. The steering is well weighted and precise in its feedback, and the suspension is planted and composed even when you throw it around a corner.

It isn’t the most practical or utilitarian of SUVs, but the Sport has enough storage spaces for a small family’s needs.

If you’re in the market for a Range Rover Sport with a supercharged V8 and an SVO badge but do not want to go all out and get the beastly SVR, then the Range Rover Sport Supercharged Autobiography offers a perfectly balanced alternative.