2014 Range Rover Sport Review: The Best Supertruck?

The UAE’s favorite fashion accessory is put to the test

Imthishan Giado

2014 Range Rover Sport

Being a giant fan of the old Range Rover Sport, I’ve been waiting an awfully long time to drive this car. Nearly a year to be exact, since Shahzad drove it in the UK. The lucky git.

Still don’t how I feel about the looks; though it’s based on the bones of the full-size Rangey, it draws its chiselled features from its younger Evoque sibling. And while it’s undeniably modern, the new Sport trades butch arrogance for cool European sophistication and perhaps loses a bit of aggression in the process. Not good, not bad, but after the shock of the new has worn off, I gravitate towards the full size Range Rover instead.

You can’t argue with the interior improvements, though. This is a fabulous interior, possibly the best in its class. The switchgear is clear, the seating position is commanding as always and every surface is coated in buttery leather or real wood. This is where the money goes in these cars, and you’ll be glad for it. Unusually, it borrows its fighter-pilot style gearlever from the F-Type rather than the RR; as with all these electronic levers, it’s fiddly to use and select gears, if undeniably great to hold.

2014 Range Rover Sport

Mixed bag on the electronics front; the digital dashboard succeed where previous models failed with better crisper fonts, improved lighting and response. But the tech package remains only a passing grade – in a car with such high-tech pinnings the touch screen is slow, undercooked and lacking in flash. I’ve no doubt the LR boffins are working feverishly to bring something more iPhone (rather than Sagem) to market and it can’t come soon enough.

The car’s called Sport; does it live up to the badge? That answer requires a little further deliberation. To clarify – I only took this car offroad briefly for a bit of rock crawling and in that environment, the Sport was an excellent steer, with that innate sense of control that can only come from a true offroad pedigree.

2014 Range Rover Sport

The various automatic systems worked perfectly and I got a real kick out of watching the various diffs lock and unlock constantly searching for traction. In situations where the 21-inch wheels scrabbled for purchase, the system immediately suggested the use of rock crawl which locked up all the diffs; after that, trail running was a doddle. This Landy’s got green in its veins, underneath that Burberry scarf.

Every car that’s received this 5.0-litre 510bhp supercharged motor has been bloody quick and the Sport is no exception, demolishing the 0-100kph sprint in a mere 5.3 seconds. It’s a beautiful, creamy thing in motion, the ZF 8-speed box doling out the torque in sugar-coated slices of ecstasy.

There will be people who say, ‘the V6 is perfectly good enough.’ These people are completely, hopelessly, wrong. If you can afford it and aren’t just a badge whore, get the V8. Who could turn down all that luscious torque? Why would you want to?

This car will be however, one of the few instances where I disagree with the otherwise-estimable Mr Sheikh because the Range Rover Sport is just not, well sporty enough.

Don’t get me wrong, most drivers will be satisfied. This is a very fast luxo-truck that’ll do triple-digit speeds all day long and keep up with sportscar easily. Trouble is, the Sport never feels like it is particularly enjoying being flung around very much. The electric power steering is as remote as ever and even in Dynamic mode, there’s an ocean’s worth of body roll. The chassis isn’t the most communicative in the segment – how could it be with all that electronic trickery going on? – and as for the brakes…well, after 20 minutes, they were smoking harder than Churchill on V-Day.

It should be said that this was a fairly hard run, as hard as I would subject to any performance vehicle. Nevertheless, the new Sport is a street cruiser, rather than a lap time brawler.

2014 Range Rover Sport

Verdict

Does it really matter what I say? This thing will sell by the boatload and as a matter of fact, we have it on good authority that they are!

For everything that matters to the high net worth individuals who buy these vehicles, the Sport is an incredible car, one that indicates you’ve arrived like nothing else. When not being driven at ten-tenths, I enjoyed its smooth, laidback style and superlative air-suspended ride. It’s just that I can’t help thinking that the big Rangey does it even better … and surprisingly, that’s the one I want now.

But I can’t have one. No one can – the waiting list stretches into next year! The waiting list for the Sport is considerably shorter – and getting one instead is no hardship at all.

Our thanks to local dealer Al Tayer Motors for supplying this box-fresh Range Rover Sport. 

2014 Range Rover Sport
Spec
Price:
Sport 5.0 SC Dynamics: AED479,000 ($130,400)
Sport 5.0 SC Autobiography Dynamic: AED559,000 ($152,200)
Engine:
5.0-litre V8 Supercharged, 510bhp@6000-6500, 460lb ft @2500-5500rpm
Performance:
V8: 5.3secs 0-100kph, 225kph (250kph optional), 14.7L/100
Transmission: Eight-speed auto, four-wheel drive
Weight: V8: 2310kg

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