Which is something that German rivals could learn from. True, it's a pity that pricing can't be more affordable - though the introduction of the SD4 four cylinder version does make the bottom of the range a little more accessible.
Still, the right version of this car offers exactly the right kind of luxury SUV experience for those fortunate enough to be able to enjoy it. Enough said. So to the Range Rover Sport. A car that in its original guise was neither a Range Rover or 'sporty'. In fact, it was based almost entirely on the brand's sensible Discovery model and, thanks to that car's practical ladder frame chassis, as about as dynamic to drive.
Not so this second generation model, now usefully improved to create the version we're going to look at here. Appropriately, its very existence is properly inspired - and in many ways completely made possible - by the fully-fledged Range Rover.
Back in , that car was completely redeveloped in fourth generation form with aluminium underpinnings, sharper handling and hybrid power, engineering eagerly seized upon by the Range Rover Sport development team in their quest to at last be able to offer a credibly sporting SUV rival to cars like the Porsche Cayenne and the BMW X5. These two competitors of course, don't have to blend in unrivalled off road excellence with their back road blasting.
They don't have to be automotive swiss army knives - all things to all people - in quite the same way. So, burdened with such expectations, how can this Range Rover Sport take them on at their own game? That's what we're here to find out.
The impressive 'Sports Command Driving position' anticipates such a showing - and once on the road, this car delivers it, the impressively light aluminium body structure making it feel a lot more nimble than you expect. Key changes beneath the bonnet have altered the engine line-up in recent times, which now starts with a bhp version of the brand's four cylinder 2.
Performance from this variant is reasonable - 62mph from rest takes 8. Other alternatives include a bhp turbocharged petrol P Si4 unit, two 3. At the top of the line-up, the 5. The most technologically advanced derivative is the bhp 2. Off road, as you would expect, this car is peerless, especially if you specify it with a Terrain Response system that'll always choose the perfect off road set-up. There's the further option of Land Rover's latest and very clever All-Terrain Progress Control system and now a clever 'Low Traction Launch' set-up that assists you when pulling away on slippery surfaces.
Plus you can now monitor things via what's called an 'All-Terrain Information Centre', accessible via the centre dash touchcreen. For on road use, the quicker models get Torque Vectoring and 'Dynamic Response active lean control' to sharpen things through the bends, plus a 'Dynamic programme' that quickens up throttle response, steering and gearshifts if you're feeling sporty. Minor changes have been made to the exterior styling, with more piercing intelligent Matrix Pixel LED headlights sitting alongside a redesigned grille.
This is complemented by a restyled bumper with a more aggressive profile. Otherwise, it's as you were, so the clamshell bonnet, the 'floating' roof, the powerful wheelarches and the side fender vents that have always defined this model are all present and correct. And inside?
Well, you'd be disappointed if you didn't have to climb up into a Range Rover - that's part of its appeal - though older folk can ease the process by selecting the lower 'Access' mode on models fitted with air suspension. Once installed in the generously side bolstered seats though, there's no mistaking that you're at the wheel of this British institutional model's younger, slightly smaller and much sportier twin. For a start, you're sat a tad lower than you would be in a Range Rover, plus the more compact thicker-rimmed wheel's smaller, the upright gearstick more purposeful and the centre console higher.
The key interior change with his revised model lies with the addition of the brand's latest Touch Pro Duo infotainment system which features a pair of high-definition inch touchscreens that form the centrepiece of the minimalist cabin. In the back, there's plenty of room thanks to the large wheelbase and the option of a sliding seat.
Which you'll need if you choose the 7-seat option and want to make the atmosphere for third row occupants a bit less cramped. Boot capacity isn't massive at litres, but with the rear bench folded, the 1,litre total will be sufficient for most. So there's quite a price gap between the two models, something that also holds true if you're comparing Range Rover Sport and Range Rover variants fitted with the 5.
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