2012 Range Rover Sport New Car Test Drive
The Range Rover Sport blends on-road performance dynamics with off-road capability, boasting a powerful V8 engine and an agile chassis. The Range Rover Sport seats five and is smaller than the flagship Range Rover but larger than the Range Rover Evoque.
The 2012 Range Rover Sport is distinguished by some minor exterior styling changes. Among them: minor grille and headlight trim changes, a subtle change to the badges, body-colored door handles replace black handles. Range Rover Sport was launched as a 2006 model and received a major facelift for 2010.
The 2012 model year brings upgraded technology. The 2012 Range Rover Sport gets a new electrical system, updated infotainment functions and other amenities. 2012 Range Rover Sport models comes standard with an upgraded 380-watt harman/kardon audio system with 14 speakers; an optional system delivers 825 watts through 17 speakers. The hard-drive navigation system that comes standard on all 2012 Range Rover Sport models features updated graphics for more user-friendly operation. And a new Say What You See voice activation feature for onboard and connected devices on 2012 models helps the user learn applicable voice commands by displaying a step-by-step format on the bigger, 7-inch touch-screen.
Compared with the big Range Rover, the Range Rover Sport is seven inches shorter overall, on a wheelbase that's five inches shorter. It's a little narrower as well and the roof is lower. Priced about $20,000 less, the Sport is less luxurious than the big one and slightly less roomy. It's also a bit sportier.
Range Rover Sport and Land Rover LR4 share platforms, drive systems, suspension, and powertrain. The Sport boasts more standard equipment, more upscale styling, and generally a more luxurious approach to the same mission: go anywhere, do anything, in any weather. The Sport rides on a 108-inch wheelbase, five inches shorter than that of the LR4.
The Range Rover Sport is powered by a 5.0-liter V8 made by Jaguar, a 32-valve engine that makes 375 horsepower and 375 foot-pounds of torque. We found it to be plenty during our test drive.
The Range Rover Sport Supercharged model features a supercharged version of the same engine that uses a twin vortex supercharger with dual intercoolers to deliver 510 horsepower and 461 foot-pounds of torque. That's a lot of power by anyone's dyno and out on the road it's magic, easily and instantly propelling you at any rate you wish.
All Range Rover Sports use a smooth and quick-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission, with Normal, Sport and Manual modes. Standard is full-time four-wheel drive with a two-speed transfer case that can be shifted on the fly. The low range will drive the vehicle through unimaginably rugged offroad conditions, employing the magical Terrain Response system to maintain optimum traction.
The Range Rover Sport competes in the crowded midsize luxury sport utility vehicle segment with the Acura MDX, Lexus RX, Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Audi Q7, BMW X5, Volvo XC90, Infiniti FX, Porsche Cayenne, Volkswagen Toureg, and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Its starting price, however, is the highest of this group, and arguably only the Audi, BMW, Infiniti, Porsche, and VW are priced comparably.
The 2012 Range Rover Sport comes in three models: Range Rover Sport HSE ($60,895), Supercharged ($76,095), and Autobiography ($86,795). (All prices are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices, which do not include destination charge and may change at any time without notice.)
Range Rover Sport HSE comes with leather upholstery; dual-zone automatic climate control with pollen filter; GPS navigation system with touch screen, 380-watt 14-speaker harman/kardon AM/FM/ audio system with virtual CD/MP3 player, iPod and USB; rain-sensing wipers; front and rear Park Distance Control; powers windows, locks, mirrors, seats; power sunroof; HomeLink garage door opener; footwell lights and puddle lights; folding rear 65/35 seat; and 19-inch alloy wheels. Heated front seats are not standard. For wood trim, there's a choice of Walnut, Anigre ($350), or Black Lacquer ($350).
Other options include an audio upgrade to an 825-watt harman/kardon system with 17 speakers plus satellite and HD digital radio ($1,650); or just satellite and HD digital radio ($750). The Climate Comfort Package ($1,500) adds heated front and rear seats, windshield, washer jets and steering wheel.
The Luxury Package ($4,700) adds the complete Climate Comfort Package, plus premium leather including a leather-wrapped steering wheel; adjustable side bolsters for the driver's seat; a climate-controlled storage console; 20-inch alloy wheels; and 480 watts worth of harman/kardon sound with a changer for six physically present CDs. The Limited Edition Package ($7,580) encompasses the Luxury Package (including the Climate Comfort Package) plus the 825-watt stereo, paddle shifters on the steering wheel, black-lacquered 20-inch road wheels, and other styling tweaks inside and out.
The Supercharged adds an Eaton supercharger that pumps up the horsepower of the Jaguar V8 to 510, with 461 foot-pounds of torque. It also adds Adaptive Dynamics (sport-tuned active suspension with continuously variable shock tuning), heavy-duty Brembo brakes with six-piston front calipers, adaptive Xenon headlights with washers, paddle shifters on the steering wheel, the 480-watt stereo with Sirius satellite radio, bright mesh grille and side vents, exhaust extensions, and its own Oxford leathers. The full 825-watt Victrola is available ($900).
The Autobiography makes the maximum-zoot jukebox standard; adds unique wheels, spoiler, grille and other exterior accents; and offers seven different interior-décor themes featuring embossed headrests and a choice of Windsor leathers and wood inlays.
Optional on the HSE Lux, Supercharged, and Autobiography is a rear seat entertainment system ($2,500), upgraded for 2012 to two eight-inch screens, with new WhiteFire technology supporting the two wireless headphones. Supercharged and Autobiography buyers can choose adaptive cruise control ($2,000). All models are available with Vision Assist ($1,200), which includes five surround cameras, automatic high beam assist and Adaptive Front Lighting system; and an electronic locking rear differential ($500).
Safety equipment includes front, side and curtain air bags, ABS, Electronic Brake Assist for extra boost in an emergency stop, Active Roll Mitigation, Roll Stability Control, Dynamic Stability Control to help maintain directional control, Hill Descent Control for steep inclines, Gradient Release Control Terrain Response, Four-wheel Electronic Traction Control, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, pre-tensioning front safety belts, automatic protection sequence (in a crash, shuts of engine and fuel, unlocks doors, activates hazard and interior lights), LATCH child seat attachment.