Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged review

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2008 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged Road Test

Recommended Retail Price: $136,000.

Options fitted: None fitted.

Styling, the noise, off-road ability, oh and the noise

Fuel consumption, no reverse camera

CarAdvice rating: (4.25)

When a new baby enters the world, it’s showered with gifts and attention.

When Land Rover’s Range Rover Sport entered the world, the oldest of the sport’s siblings was showered with not only a tub-thumping V8, but also a supercharger.

Coupled to that supercharger was the meanest set of exhausts this side of Ferrari.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged.

Open the cabin door and you’ll find splashes of leather and woodgrain, our test vehicle had dark woodgrain, along with a beige interior, which made it stand out nicely from the crowd – pity about how quickly it was dirtied though!

The great thing about these is that you can select individual programs to operate on each. One person can be watching TV, while the other watches a DVD or the device attached to the TV-in ports. Wireless headphones help deliver sound, while it can also be projected via the stellar Harman/Kardon sound system.

Unfortunately, heated seats don’t make it to the standard features list. On a top of the line model, this is a big disappointment!

Harman/Kardon is known for its brilliant sound systems and the Sport’s sound system is no exception. Sporting 13-speakers, the LOGIC7 sound system includes an active sub-woofer and an in-dash 6-stack CD-player.

The real gem of this SUV weapon lies under the bonnet and when the supercharged, 4.2-litre V8 is singing, you will know about – as will anyone else within earshot.

Spin the key over and it fires to life with an edgy burble at idle, waiting to be unleashed into the wild. Even the lightest throttle application promotes the possibilities. Give the throttle a hearty swab and the noise engulfs the cabin, regardless of the window position.

It sounds nothing like application of this engine in similar Jaguars, despite being near identical.

It sounds tough as nuts and certainly isn’t characteristic of a run of the mill SUV! It works especially well at the traffic light GP where most contenders are sorted out at the drop of the right foot.

The supercharged V8 produces 287kW of power and 550Nm of torque. The power produced is hampered by the Sport’s porky 2.6-tonne weight though and the result is a somewhat leisurely 0-100km/h time of 7.6-seconds. The fuel consumption certainly wasn’t leisurely though – I averaged 17.4-litres/100km (slightly higher than the official combined figure of 15.9-litres/100km), it was hard to resist with that devilish engine note constantly lingering.

The first thing you notice is the brilliant level of compliance. Tip the heavyweight into a bend and it responds with impressive levels of body control. The communication through the steering wheel is exceptional, it communicates well with the wheels and has enough feel to keep the average punter happy.

Leave the ZF Sachs six-speed automatic gearbox in Sport mode and it sorts out the upshifts and downshifts (in a very good manner may I add). Blips on the downshift and retention of gears allows the Range Rover Sport to shoot out of corners with relative ease (surprisingly so when you take the weight into account).

Braking also is best conducted with the steering in a straight line. Deviate from dead centre and the back end wiggles around in a grapple for grip.

Overall though, it’s pretty darn impressive for such a heavy machine. The standard Brembo braking package held up quite well. The brakes continuously bit with urge and contended quite well with the vehicle’s mass.

Although we didn’t get a chance to throw some mud around in the Sport, it uses the same 4WD components as its siblings (who we have tested extensively off-road).

Standard safety features include: driver and front passenger airbags; driver and front passenger head airbags; driver and passenger side airbags; rear passenger head airbags; 4-channel ABS brakes; Brembo front brakes; perimetric alarm system with passive arming; active roll mitigation and dynamic stability control.

I really didn’t want to hand the keys back and I’d go so far as saying it’s the most fun I’ve had in a car this year! You just couldn’t wipe the grin from my face each and every time I gave the throttle a stab.

With that said, there’s really nothing bad that stood out about the car (aside from the fuel consumption). So technically, it is the perfect car and that’s where I’ll leave it.

CarAdvice overall rating:

How does it drive:

How does it look:

How does it go:

Engine: 4.2-litre, supercharged V8
Power: 287kW
: 550Nm
Top speed: 225km/h
Safety: Electronic stability control- front air bags - side airbags - roll over protection - front seatbelt pre-tensioners and load limiters.
0-100km/h: 7.6-seconds
EuroNCAP rating: 4-stars
Turning circle: 11.6m
Fuel tank: 84.1-litres
Fuel consumption : 15.9 litres/100km (claimed); 17.4 litres/100km (on test)
Fuel type: 98RON petrol