Preview: 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport car previews luxury cars landrover
Preview: 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport. Click image to enlarge

Preview by Mark Stevenson, photos by Jonathan Yarkony and courtesy Land Rover

The newly introduced 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport ditches its Disco bones for a new platform in a Weight Watcher’s–worthy regimen to shed pounds, improve fuel efficiency, and revamp the brute’s handling on suburban rips to factory outlet stores.

While the Sport still wears a similar silhouette to the outgoing model, everything is brand new, including the architecture on which it rides. Developed in conjunction with the also-new Range Rover bigger brother, the Sport is some 420 kg lighter than its Discovery/LR3–based predecessor and 45 kg less than the more capable Range Rover. This is thanks to new-fangled aluminum construction, making the Sport “the fastest, most agile and responsive Land Rover ever.” Whoa.

That said, most people buying the new SUV won’t be wading through African jungle swamp anytime soon (though a new Wade Sensing feature will help you navigate the flooded streets of NYC during the next hurricane, with a maximum swimming depth of 85 cm). Instead, the Sport is aimed at providing high-performance on-road results and, should the need arise, off-road capability to get you out of a bind.

Preview: 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport car previews luxury cars landrover
Preview: 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport car previews luxury cars landrover
Preview: 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport car previews luxury cars landrover
Preview: 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport. Click image to enlarge

Combined with a new 3.0L supercharged Jaaaaaag V6, the Sport is almost friendly to the tulips at its owner’s garden club meetings, producing only 249 g/km of carbon dioxide while still pumping out 340 hp and 332 lb-ft of awesome. If you crave more oomph during your concrete jungle commute, the British battle-axe 5.0L supercharged V8 will still be offered with 510 hp, continuing its aural assault on your eardrums like a pride of lions equipped with AK-47s. The big motor will push the family hauler to 60 mph (96 km/h) in five seconds (remember when this measure used to denote a normal car from a supercar?), which is 0.9 seconds faster than the previous Sport and should equate to a 0–100 km/h time of about 5.2 seconds. But even this motor is given some eco treatment to keep the greenies happy, with auto stop/start improving fuel economy in stop-and-go traffic.

Even though the new Sport has gone on a significant diet, it still weighs in at a hefty 2,144 kg for V6 equipped models, and all that weight needs to be kept in check if carving corners is your game. A fully independent suspension – double-wishbones up front and multi-link rear – works in conjunction with an updated air suspension, continuously variable dampers, and (on more powerful models) Terrain Response 2’s Dynamic mode to dig into the tarmac. Torque vectoring via braking and an active rear locking differential ensure you exit the twisties unscathed, while an all-new electric steering system makes easy work of turning the big front wheels.

A choice of two transfer-case setups are offered, with the majority of buyers likely opting for the single-speed option that offers a default front/rear split of 42/58. Those looking to get a little dirtier can select the two-speed transfer case with low-range gearing, full locking, and a 50/50 power split between axles. Either way, power is fed to the transfer case by ZF’s now-ubiquitous electronically controlled eight-speed autobox.

The Sport gets completely new styling à la Evoque for 2014, making it slippery through the air and giving the SUV more presence. It’s more aerodynamic, shorter, and less uptight, with a Cd of 0.34. Its face shows a more windswept look, as does the windshield.




About Mark Stevenson

Mark Stevenson is a former IT professional turned freelance automotive writer and news editor for Autos.ca. He's a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada and former member of the Texas Automotive Writers Association (TAWA). Mark spends an inordinate amount of time on motorcycles and resides in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia with his two dogs - Nismo and Maloo. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.