Test Drive: 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Sport S/C car test drives reviews luxury cars landrover
2012 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged. Click image to enlarge
Test Drive: 2010 Land Rover Range Rover

Manufacturer’s web site
Land Rover Canada

Review and photos by Michael Schlee

Photo Gallery:
2012 Land Rover Range Rover Sport

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts – absolutely. This is the phrase that kept running through my head last week as I was giggling like a little kid with my right foot firmly planted on the gas pedal. You see, what I was driving is no ordinary vehicle. No, it is a vehicle that thumbs its nose to modesty, social responsibility and all that is economical in the world. If this vehicle were human, it would have no conscience. This vehicle is the rock star of the sport utility world living in excess; this is the 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged.

What Land Rover has done with this truck is quite remarkable. They have created a vehicle that offers exceeds all the luxurious exuberance of the Cadillac Escalade, but avoids the same scorn of society for being wretched in its excess. Maybe it’s that fancy Land Rover badge on the front or maybe it is the distinct lack of chrome? Whatever the reasoning, the Range Rover Sport is still way over the top. Case in point; what’s more excessive than a 5 passenger SUV with 510 hp? How about one that also has wide 20″ low profile tires and a two speed transfer case with multiple off-road modes. Even at 2,638 kg, this SUV can hustle from 0-100 km/h in 6.2 seconds on its way to a top speed 225 km/h but is still also capable of wading in 700 mm in water. If Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde were reincarnated as an SUV, I think this Range Rover may be him.

Test Drive: 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Sport S/C car test drives reviews luxury cars landrover
Test Drive: 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Sport S/C car test drives reviews luxury cars landrover
Test Drive: 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Sport S/C car test drives reviews luxury cars landrover
Test Drive: 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Sport S/C car test drives reviews luxury cars landrover
2012 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged. Click image to enlarge

On sale since 2005 and restyled in 2010, the Range Rover Sport now enters its 8th year of production. For those who had a tough time in 2005 grappling with the idea of a sporty on-road truck from Land Rover, the addition of the 5.0L supercharged V8 in 2009 should have sealed the deal. Developing 510 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque, this big brute sends power to a permanent four-wheel drive system via a ZF 6-speed automatic transmission. Due to the excessive weight, the Sport Supercharged doesn’t feel as fast as you think 510 hp should be. Let’s be clear here, it is still very fast, just not quite capable of ludicrous speed. But that didn’t stop me from immediately getting a big goofy grin on my face every time I hammered the gas. If the forward thrust is doesn’t do it for you, the engine note will. The engine flat out sounds great with a mild supercharge whine up front and a great V8 burble in the rear. The V8 roars at high rpms and growls during moderate acceleration. Give the truck a couple of quick revs when stopped and the exhaust will produce a few mild pop-pops as it backfires.

All of this power and fun comes at a price though in the form of fuel economy, or lack thereof. Not only is the Range Rover thirsty and heavy, but it is also not overly aerodynamic. It sports a drag coeffiency of only .37. The net result is an officially natural resources Canada fuel economy rating of 18.1 L/100 km city and 11.7 L/100 km highway. During my week with the truck I averaged a wallet-flogging 17.0 L/100 km. For some perspective, I filled the gas tank up with 60 L of gas after a mere 338 km drive, or an average of 17.8 L/100 km. Thankfully my second tank returned a marginally better average. But worrying about how much gas this truck takes proves I am not in the target demographic for a $97,600 SUV.

On the road the ride is just this side of rough but does well to hide its true truck roots. The Range Rover Sport rides on an air suspension at all four corners that is height adjustable. As long as speeds are kept under 40 km/h, you can raise the Land Rover from a standard ground clearance of 172 mm to ‘Off-Road Height’ of 227 mm. Alternatively it is also possible to slam the truck to the ground by selecting ‘Access Height’. This is a great feature for helping shorter members of the family into the truck, for parking in underground garages or for impressing your friends on cruise night.




About Mike

Mike Schlee is the Social Editor at Autos.ca and autoTRADER.ca. He began his professional automotive writing career in 2011 and has always had a passion for all things automotive, working in the industry since 2000.