On-a-roll Land Rover is hoping lightning will strike twice with its second-generation Range Rover Sport.
Out in November and priced from $102,800 for the 3.0 TDV6 SE, the newcomer is $2400 exxier than its eight-year old predecessor, but hits back with Evoque-inspired styling designed to lure fresh buyers in.
A $3700 seven-seat option will also be introduced, significantly broadening the appeal of Land Rover’s BMW X5 fighter.
Brandishing a radical aluminium structure dubbed Premium Lightweight Architecture (PLA) adopted from its recently released Range Rover Vogue big brother, the L494 Sport sheds over 420kg, for significantly lower fuel bills, reduced emissions, and improved road manners compared to the preceding steel body-on-frame version.
Initially four engines will be made available – a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel in two states of tune (190kW/600Nm TDV6 and 215kW/600Nm SDV6), a 250kW 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol, and a 375kW/625Nm 5.0-litre supercharged V8 petrol.
The latter is capable of catapulting the Sport to 100km/h in just 5.3 seconds (versus 7.2s for the supercharged V6), on the way to a 250km/h top speed. Seven seaters are limited to a 225km/h v-max.
In all instances, torque is channelled to all four wheels via a new eight-speed automatic transmission, though the entry TDV6 SE eschews the two-speed transfer case with low-range option for a lighter single-speed unit with a Torsen differential.
A diesel hybrid will surface next year, promising to better the 7.3 litres per 100km average achieved by the TDV6.
Also due in the near future – as part of Jaguar Land Rover’s $A4.5 billion annual investment in future product – will be the replacement for the ageing Discovery, as well as a coupe-like SUV crossover to rival the BMW’s upcoming X4, while the as-yet unnamed Freelander replacement is expected to use an all-new platform shared with sister company Jaguar.
Whether the latter spawns the long-awaited sub-XF model is unknown, although Jaguar global brand director Adrian Hallmark hinted that it could be an Audi Q5-style SUV rather than a BMW 3 Series-mould sedan.
For Jaguar, the sub-XF luxury market offers the potential to more than double volume over the next few years.
“For us to grow we’ve tot to be globally more relevant,” he said, adding that annual SUV sales worldwide will hit 24 million units by 2020.
With the failure of the X-Type from last decade still fresh, Hallmark believes that Jaguar can only be successful when it innovates rather than follows.
L494 Range Rover Sport pricing
TDV6 SE $102,800
SDV6 SE $113,600
SDV6 HSE $125,800
SDV6 Autobiography $145,500
S/C V6 HSE $123,100
S/C V8 HSE Dynamic $161,600
S/C V8 Autobiography Dynamic $182,400