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First Drive: Range Rover Sport SVR

Is the new Range Rover Sport SVR the most versatile supercar available? Jonathan Musk finds out.

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SECTOR SUV   PRICE £99,680   FUEL 22.1mpg   CO2 294g/km

This is no fleet machine. With its 5.0-litre supercharged V8, the latest Range Rover Sport SVR was never going to win any economy awards. However, if you’re in the market for an everyday supercar, you could do worse. Travelling at 150mph along the straight at Jaguar’s recently acquired Fen End test track it was easy to imagine being in a lithe sports car. But this isn’t one of those either. Glancing in the mirrors at the cavernous interior, the SVR manages something quite remarkable. It’s a bit like a BMW M5 Touring used to be – raw supercar rivalling performance trapped within a practical body.

The figures speak for themselves: with 567bhp, 0-62mph takes just 4.5 seconds in a car weighing 2.3 tons. Max speed is 174mph and it’ll reach this with fire spitting and acoustics from a WW2 aeroplane crossed with an angered bee. It’s a deep, burbling noise that offers something in-between exciting and frightening. Power is up 25bhp from the previous SV Of course, around fast bends the weight is evident and physics sadly aren’t exclusive to other brands. However, it handles well and defies the logic that it can’t. It’s a big brash bruiser, but can hold its own and offer driver thrills. However, it’s not for the feint-hearted with its ability to empty a full tank of fuel in a matter of minutes – our 100-mile drive, including six track laps, gulped more than half a tank of fuel.

Our route consisted a road drive through the Cotswolds before arriving at the track, travelling at more than twice the road speed limit, then another road section followed by some very sticky off-roading. All on the same tyres. On the road, it’s relaxing, quiet and refined. Steering is positive and offers plenty of feel for the road surface, but not overly so as to be tiring. The suspension has been beefed up, providing far less roll than most Range Rovers and again, it’s been finely tuned so that it isn’t harsh or crashing over bumps. This versatility is what Land Rover believe makes the SVR special – and it is. With 516.3lb.ft it feels like it has the power to move entire worlds. In an off-road situation, this translates to easily spewing mud all over trees, itself and bystanders faces, while simultaneously being able to clamber up the steepest and muddiest hill without so much as a single complaint.

Yes, the SVR is a true Range Rover. It’s luxurious, refined and powerful. It can eat roads or mud without hesitation and can be driven daily without fussing like most sports cars might. It’s a practical seven-seater for kids and shopping, yet it’s equally happy on a track or in a forest. And its subtle too, the SVR detailing has been mostly toned down, despite the optional carbon-fibre bonnet fitted to our test car that shaves off 15kg.

What we think

Most Range Rovers do luxury and off-roading well, but the SVR nails those and adds performance too. It’s the ultimate blend of practicality meets luxury. If you can afford it, and run it, then the SVR is a worthy alternative to daily-driver supercars.

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Jonathan Musk

Jonathan turned to motoring journalism in 2013 having founded, edited and produced Autovolt - one of the UK's leading electric car publications. He has also written and produced books on both Ferrari and Hispano-Suiza, while working as an international graphic designer for the past 15 years. As the automotive industry moves towards electrification, Jonathan brings a near-unrivalled knowledge of EVs and hybrids to Fleet World Group.