A sports car to climb mountains ; ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE [Wales on Sunday (Wales)]
(Wales on Sunday (Wales) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) A FULL blown SUV that handles like a sports car yet can drive up the side of a mountain would once have been the impossible dream.
But that's exactly what Land Rover has achieved with the latest Range Rover Sport, a car that combines sensational performance with the most advanced hardware.
Constructed entirely from aluminium, making it almost half a tonne lighter than its predecessor, the Sport certainly lives up to its name.
We're talking blistering pace of 0-60mph in just 6.8 seconds, the capability to touch 130mph and the dynamics to dance its way through sharp bends and negotiate uneven cambers.
Those wanting even more wallop, though reduced economy, can go for the more expensive 4.4 SDV8 diesel or 5.0-litre supercharged petrol variants.
Among the Sport's electronics is something called torque vectoring control, which varies the power to each wheel and evens out understeer, while the feedback from the steering remains precise.
Despite the considerable investment in performance and handling the trademark Land Rover off-road abilities are in no way affected.
Everything from a rural quagmire and rocky outcrop to a sandy beach or frozen ford comes the same to the Sport courtesy of its Terrain Response set-up that can be set for the most challenging ground conditions.
Should you need to cross any rivers, another advance is the increased wading depth - improved by more than six inches to 2ft 10ins - gauged by sonic sensors at the bottom of each door mirror.
Travelling first class is guaranteed in all Range Rover Sport versions. The next to bottom HSE Dynamic grade featured in this test is leatherclad throughout, gives passengers the space to really stretch out and has a powered tailgate.
Everything fits with precision - like, for example, the double cup holder in the rear centre armrest with its pop-up box concealing the remote control for the rear entertainment.
And on that score there's considerable scope for speccing up.
No doubt there are folks around whose hearing hasn't been subjected to decades of high volume heavy rock - and they may feel they want, well, perfection.
No worry. A 1,700-watt Meridian super premium 23-speaker sound system can be included for a princely Pounds 5,000, with rear seat entertainment for an extra Pounds 1,500 and on-board TV for Pounds 800.
By contrast, Park Assist - handy for a vehicle this size - is a more affordable Pounds 450.
FAST FACTS RANGE ROVER SPORT SDV6 HSE DYNAMIC PRICE: Pounds 64,995 MECHANICAL: 292bhp, 3.0-litre SDV6 diesel engine driving four wheels via eight-speed automatic transmission MAX SPEED: 130mph 0- 60MPH: 6.8 seconds COMBINED MPG: 37.7 CO2 EMISSIONS: 199g/km BIK RATING: 35% WARRANTY: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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