2011 Land Rover Range Rover Sport
British-built premium SUV blends brawny power with renowned off-roading heritage
One of four luxury sport-utility vehicles produced by the Land Rover organization in England, the 2011 Range Rover Sport sees some refinements. Those revisions follow a "transformation" for the 2010 model year that brought all-new powertrains, a more luxurious interior, and enhanced chassis-control technology.
New for 2011
A new GT Limited Edition is available for 2011, combining the performance of the naturally aspirated 375-horsepower, 5.0-liter V-8 with a styling presence similar to that of the Range Rover Sport Autobiography model. That Autobiography switches from a limited-edition model to an option package for 2011. Meanwhile, the Range Rover Sport Supercharged model has returned for another season with what Land Rover dubs its "formidable" 510-horsepower supercharged V-8 engine.
Also for 2011, an Extended Leather Package and contrast stitching on seats, center console, and door panels goes into HSE LUX and Supercharged trim levels. A new Vision Assist Package includes an Adaptive Front Lighting System with swiveling headlights, automatic high-beam assist, and a surround camera system. The standard Range Rover Sport audio system now includes a 240-watt harman/kardon unit with nine speakers. Stepping up a notch, the optional Premium Audio includes 480-watt harman/kardon surround sound with 13 speakers (plus a subwoofer), plus HD and satellite radio.
Operating with direct fuel injection, the standard Range Rover Sport 5.0-liter V-8 with direct fuel injection makes 375 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque, while meeting ULEV2 (ultra low emissions vehicle) regulations. Introduced for 2010, that engine mates with a six-speed adaptive automatic transmission that incorporates CommandShift, featuring Normal, Sport, and Manual shift modes.
A regular Range Rover Sport can accelerate from a standstill to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds, according to the company. Power reaches all four wheels via a two-speed transfer case with shift-on-the-move capability.
The Range Rover Sport Supercharged has the same supercharged V-8 used by the larger Range Rover Supercharged model. Beneath its bonnet, the Eaton twin-vortex supercharger, equipped with dual intercoolers, fits neatly into the engine's vee. That engine generates 510 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque (from 2500 to 5500 rpm), allowing 0-60 mph acceleration in a claimed 5.9 seconds. The driver may shift gears manually if desired, using paddle shifters mounted at the steering wheel.
For off-roading, the V-8 has a deep, pressure die-cast oil pan that accommodates extreme tilting angles. Belt drives are waterproofed. So are the alternator, air conditioning compressor, power steering pump, and starter motor.
Land Rover's Adaptive Dynamics System includes DampTronic Valve Technology damper units that replace conventional shock absorbers. They monitor vehicle conditions up to 500 times per second, optimizing the body and ride control in response to terrain conditions (on- or off-road) and driving style. Supercharged models have larger brakes with six-piston front calipers.
Dynamic Stability Control aims to help slow the vehicle if it's taking a corner too fast. In extreme cases, automatic brake intervention may occur. Roll Stability Control intervenes with selective braking action on individual wheels if the onset of a rollover is detected. Optional Adaptive Cruise Control for the Supercharged model includes Collision Mitigation by Braking, which primes the brakes as needed, and can initiate braking if a collision is deemed imminent.
Features and Capabilities
The Terrain Response system has five driver-selectable settings: General Driving; Grass/Gravel/Snow; Sand; Mud and Ruts; and Rock Crawl. In the Supercharged model, Terrain Response also includes a Dynamic Mode that tailors the chassis and powertrain settings to deliver a more responsive on-road experience.
Front and rear seats have a deep sculpted shape. Electronically adjustable side bolsters are available for front seats. With the available Vision Assist Package, five digital cameras set up in a Surround Camera System send a nearly 360-degree view from the vehicle to the touch-screen on the dash. This can help ease parking, towing, and off-road maneuvering.
Since 1948, Britain's Land Rover organization as been manufacturing utility vehicles that quickly became known for their ability to conquer formidable terrain, whether in the jungle, through the desert, or assaulting steep uphill grades anywhere in the world.
Driving Impression and Pricing
Exhibiting a surprisingly light steering feel, which doesn't seem quite appropriate for a vehicle of this nature, the Range Rover Sport nevertheless responds well. On the highway, this SUV displays good throttle response for passing/merging, though acceleration isn't its primary virtue. The ride is generally smooth, but with a foundation of tautness. On the other hand, certain pavement separators or cracks can produce a surprisingly annoying thump.
Overall, on ordinary roads, the Range Rover Sport doesn't feel like a tough off-roader. But that's exactly what it is, and the best reason for owning one. Simply put, it's the real thing–a result of its near-legendary heritage and well-known off-road capabilities (though quite a few less costly vehicles offer the latter nowadays).
The 2011 Range Rover Sport HSE, built in Britain by Land Rover, is base-priced at $60,495 (including the $850 destination charge). HSE LUX upgrade packages are available. Picking a Range Rover Sport Supercharged escalates the outlay to $75,395. http://www.landrover.com/us/en/rr/
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