Land Rover Range Rover Sport Performance
Reviewers are impressed by the Range Rover Sport’s performance both on-road and off. They agree that both engines have ample power for everyday use, and that the optional supercharged engine is downright wicked.
The auto press is unanimous in its praise for the Range Rover Sport’s handling on the pavement, where its ride is smooth and composed. And even though the Range Rover Sport is more road-tuned than its siblings, it’s still a Land Rover, which means that it’s more than capable of wading through streams, snow and sand.
- "The wheelbase is 5 inches less than the Range Rover, which adds nimbleness to the handling but doesn't much affect the ride quality, the suspension is so good anyhow. And its 7 inches less overall length makes parking easier.” -- New Car Test Drive
- "Even though the … Land Rover Range Rover Sport is billed as a more nimble sibling to the top-of-the-line Range Rover, it still weighs about 5,500 pounds, about 1,000 pounds more than an Infiniti FX50. The 5.0-liter V8 is a smooth, torque-rich mill that is happy to rev, and brings the Range Rover Sport's performance within striking distance of the competition.” -- Edmunds
- “This can’t be beat off-road, but try the V-8 BMW X6 or X6 M if on-road handling is preferred.” -- Car and Driver
Acceleration and Power
The 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Sport offers two engine options, depending on the trim. The base HSE and the HSE Lux come standard with a 5.0-liter naturally-aspirated V8 that makes 375 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque. Upgrading to the Supercharged trim gets you a tuned-up version of that engine. The supercharged powerplant produces 510 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque. Reviewers drool over the excessive amount of power that the supercharged engine has to offer, but they concede that the naturally-aspirated engine provides more than enough power for everyday use. Plus, you’ll save about $15,000 by going with the base model.
The EPA rates the HSE’s normally-aspirated engine at 13/18 mpg city/highway, and the supercharged engine at 12/17 mpg. These numbers are pretty bad for the Range Rover Sport’s class of luxury midsize SUVs. All Range Rover Sport models use premium gasoline.
- "Range Rover Sport HSE has potent acceleration, never feeling taxed in daily driving. The Supercharged model is impressively strong and quick. In either model, the smooth automatic transmission shrewdly matches power delivery to demand.” -- Consumer Guide
- "It's powered by the same engine as the Range Rover and LR4, a compact … 32-valve V8 made by Jaguar that's gotten rave reviews after its first year. It makes 375 horsepower and 375 foot-pounds of torque, which we found to be plenty during our test drive of the Range Rover HSE.” -- New Car Test Drive
Handling and Braking
Reviewers say that the 2012 Range Rover Sport handles surprisingly well for such a large SUV. Nearly every writer mentions the lack of body roll, a problem that usually plagues off-road SUVs. All trims come standard with four-wheel drive.
- "In Edmunds brake testing, a Range Rover Sport Supercharged slowed from 60 mph to zero in 123 feet, an impressive result for an SUV that weighs nearly 6,000 pounds.” -- Edmunds
- "Range Rover Sports are secure, balanced, and grippy. Body lean is well controlled, and cornering speeds can be satisfyingly quick in either model.” -- Consumer Guide
- "Steering response is improved on the Range Rover Sport with the stiffening of the front suspension lower arm forward bushing, enhancing the sense of driver involvement with the vehicle at higher speeds.” -- Left Lane News
- "SUVs of this height and heft are not supposed to handle this well in the curves, and with so little body roll. There are limits, of course; but they're higher than one has a right to expect.” -- New Car Test Drive
Although the Range Rover Sport is tuned for better on-road performance compared with other members of the Land Rover family, it’s still a supremely capable off-road vehicle. It includes Land Rover’s standard terrain response system standard, which automatically adjusts power and braking when the driver selects one of five options: highway, mud and ruts, sand, grass/gravel/snow, and rock crawl). The Range Rover Sport also comes with hill descent control, which is sort of like cruise control for low gears, and hill start assist, which keeps the vehicle from rolling backward while the driver moves his or her foot from the brake to the accelerator. These high-tech assist features, combined with a maximum wading depth of 39.4 inches and a maximum ground clearance of 8.9 inches, make the Range Rover Sport a formidable off-road machine.
- “Even if Range Rover Sport owners never go off-road, the Sport is more willing to dirty its boots than most of its competitors.” -- Edmunds
- "Going off-road, you'll simply be amazed by its capability - and alacrity - in the face of any dirt-specific challenge.” -- Kelley Blue Book
- "Its offroad capability is unsurpassed, which means flexibility and safety in winter.” -- New Car Test Drive
- "For soft sand conditions, a ‘sand launch control’ mode makes for noticeably easier drive-away.” -- Left Lane News