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by Tim Beissmann

The forthcoming Range Rover Sport performance flagship has been spied undergoing high-speed testing at the Nurburgring in Germany.

The images capture the new hardcore luxury SUV in its most revealing guise to date, with gaping front lower air intakes and quad exhaust outlets clearly distinguishing the test car from its less powerful production siblings.

The hottest Range Rover Sport is expected to inherit the supercharged 404kW/680Nm 5.0-litre V8 currently employed by the Jaguar XFR-S, XKR-S and XJR.

Range Sport R-S 5

The Sport ‘R-S’ is set to be the first Land Rover to break the 5.0-second 0-100km/h barrier, gaining 29kW/55Nm over the 5.3sec Range Rover Sport Supercharged and likely some lightweight carbonfibre components.

Like Jaguar’s R-S models, the hot Sport is expected to benefit from a unique suspension tune, uprated brakes and other upgrades designed to enhance the car’s dynamic performance and visual appeal.

Range Sport R-S 7

Speaking at the unveiling of the second-generation Range Rover Sport at March’s New York auto show, Land Rover design director Gerry McGovern confirmed the high-performance variant was “not that far away” from production.

Tipped to launch during 2014, the Sport R-S will rival the likes of the $183,700 BMW X5 M (408kW/680Nm, 0-100km/h in 4.7secs) and the $247,500 Porsche Cayenne Turbo (368kW/700Nm, 0-100km/h in 4.7secs).

With the top-shelf Sport Autobiography to cost from $182,400 when it launches in November, don’t expect much – if any – change from $200K when the new performance variant reaches local showrooms.

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