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‘Sporting’ new Range Rover sports heaps of tech

Lifestyle

‘Sporting’ new Range Rover sports heaps of tech

For starters, the ‘modernist, confident’ vehicle has a twin-turbocharged V8, air-purification system and 29 speakers

Motoring editor, reporter and presenter
The new Range Rover Sport Distinction has slim headlamps, a double-aperture bumper and unfussy side profile.
MODERNITY The new Range Rover Sport Distinction has slim headlamps, a double-aperture bumper and unfussy side profile.
Image: Supplied

Range Rover once represented a stand-alone model at the very top of the Land Rover hierarchy. Now it has become a brand of its own, with a portfolio of products, from the compact Evoque to the full-sized, traditional model.

Its concealed door handles extend automatically.
Its concealed door handles extend automatically.
Image: Supplied

In between sit the Velar and the Range Rover Sport, a middle ground for the buyer who wants a touch of on-road dynamism in addition to genuine off-road prowess. The British manufacturer has revealed the third iteration of the model, with a cleaner exterior aesthetic, minimalistic and digitised interior, and an intriguing array of powertrains, including a twin-turbocharged V8 sourced from BMW. And yes, there will be electrification.

A silhouette with clear kinship to the Velar and traditional Range Rover.
A silhouette with clear kinship to the Velar and traditional Range Rover.
Image: Supplied

Visually there is no confusing the latest version with its predecessor. Distinction is created by slim headlamps, double-aperture bumper and an unfussed side profile with door handles fitting flush with the bodywork. It still sports those gills in the fenders. The rear is similarly clutter-free, defined by slivers for illumination and a black panel on which the Range Rover lettering is worn. Modernist, sporting and confident are the words its designers used and it is easy to agree.

Extended camera functionality is part of the deal.
Extended camera functionality is part of the deal.
Image: Supplied

Inside a powerful air-purification system is said to quell pathogens, including the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Opt for the Meridian Signature sound system and you get the benefit of 29 speakers and up to 1,430 watts of amplifier power. The latest-generation Pivi Pro infotainment system is upgraded to a curved 13.1-inch central touchscreen, with a 13.7-inch instrument cluster. The company does not refer to it as a cluster, but an “interactive driver display” system. Wireless Apple Car Play, Android Auto and charging facilities are standard.

The Sport promises more connectivity than ever before.
The Sport promises more connectivity than ever before.
Image: Supplied

Engine choices for our market when the vehicle arrives later this year will comprise six-cylinder petrol and diesel choices, as well as mild and extended-range hybrid derivatives. At the top is a V8 capable of 390kW and a 4.5-second 0-100km/h sprint time. The P510e hybrid version uses a 3.0-litre petrol with a 105kW electric motor and 38.2kWh battery, promising more than 100km of pure-electric range. All models will use an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Under the skin the new Sport uses a mixed-metal architecture that is purported to be 35% stiffer than before, complemented by a new pneumatic suspension set-up with switchable-volume springs. This means pressure can be varied within the chambers to create a firmer or softer ride. It uses navigation data to anticipate bends, priming the suspension accordingly, monitoring external factors up to 500 times a second.

Conventional buttons are kept to a minimum, with most functions accessed via the massive central screen.
Conventional buttons are kept to a minimum, with most functions accessed via the massive central screen.
Image: Supplied

Factor in rear-axle steering, an electronic differential, torque-vectoring programme that uses the braking system and the new Rangie Sport promises to bring levels of poise its forebears could have never imagined. Of course, buyers will still get the Terrain Response off-road system, reprogrammed and with a new adaptive cruise control function, aiming to make progress on the rough stuff a little easier. Standard across the range is a 3D surround camera, wade-sensing, Clear Sight and ground-view display. Pricing is to be confirmed. As before, it will be positioned between the Velar (from R1,5m) and the classic, big-body Range Rover, which starts a R2,9m.

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