Like its equally iconic cousin, the Land Rover Discovery 4, which is respected globally as the most capable off-road vehicle, the latest Range Rover Sport is entering the current model year with new features, refinements and a number of ‘firsts’.
Recently, in South Africa, Jaguar Land Rover Sub-Sahara Africa presented to a section of the region’s motoring press the latest Range Rover Sport in its HSE, HSE Luxury and Supercharged versions, alongside the specially customised ‘Autobiography.’ As each flaunted its trim and equipment levels, the areas of improvements, including enhanced engine performance, the new power/manual tailgate and the dual-view touch-screen navigation display, among many others, also became evident.
The 7-inch touch-screen is included for the first time on the Range Rover Sport, with optional Dual View technology, which allows the driver to see the navigation display whilst the passenger watches a DVD. The rear seat entertainment package has also been enhanced with the availability of WhiteFire wireless technology.
Significant specification and performance improvements have been made to the Hi-ICE and Premium audio systems which have been upgraded to the MOST Gen 2.1 electrical architecture, offering 825W of power through 17 speakers on the Premium Harmon Kardon LOGIC 7. The new ‘Say What You See’ voice command on premium systems helps the driver learn commands with useful step-by-step screen prompts and allows the use of spoken short codes too.
“The enhancements to the 2012 Range Rover Sport will ensure this car retains its position as one of the most economical and dynamic high performance SUVs on the market today with exciting new features, the Range Rover Sport continues to live up to its reputation for power and refinement,” said Nigel Clarke, Land Rover Operations Director for Sub Sahara Africa.
For Nigeria where the Land Rover brand is marketed exclusively by Coscharis Motors Limited, as well as other countries within the Sub-Saharan region, the existing 180kW version of the LR-SDV6 3.0, equipped with the ultra-refined 6-speed automatic transmission featuring command shift, will be made available..
However, the remarkable 5.0 LR-V8 petrol engines continue to head the Range Rover Sport powertrain range in 2012. With the supercharged version developing 375 kW and 625Nm torque and the naturally aspirated version, 276 kW and 510Nm torque, they set new standards in petrol engine design when first introduced, packed as they are with innovation design features aimed at boosting both performance and economy.
On the supercharged engine, a sixth-generation, twin-vortex system (TVS) supercharger feeds air through twin intercoolers, water-cooled by their own discrete cooling circuit. The high-helix rotor design improves the supercharger’s thermodynamic efficiency and does away with traditional supercharger whine, making it almost inaudible. Air is delivered through twin air boxes, which reduce flow loss and are highly efficient.
In the new range, both petrol and diesel engines are equipped with the ultra-refined ZF HP28 6-speed automatic transmission. Its characteristics have been optimised by Land Rover engineers to provide the same class-leading response and rapid, refined shifts on all engines.
On off-road technologies, the latest Range Rover line-up enhances Land Rover’s reputation as the pathfinder, with Hill Start Assist and Gradient Acceleration Control. The Hill Start Assist retains the initial driver-generated brake pressure, long enough for the foot to move from brake pedal to throttle without the car rolling backwards. The brake is released after a sufficient time has elapsed or when the engine is supplying enough torque to move the car up the hill. Hill Start Assist is always available, not selectable, and neither is its operation indicated to the driver.
Gradient Acceleration Control is designed to provide safety cover on severe gradients when the driver does not have Hill Descent Control engaged. By pressurising the brake system, Gradient Acceleration Control slows the car to a limit determined by the throttle position when the car is descending the slope in the driver’s intended direction of travel.
This includes descending the slope forwards in drive, or rearwards in reverse. Otherwise (such as descending while facing up the gradient with Drive selected) Gradient Acceleration Control restricts speed to 5km/h (3.1mph) for up to 20 seconds, allowing the driver to regain proper control.
Demonstrating the function of the automated tailgate, Sean Renton of Land Rover Experience Kyalami, explained that the lift height could now be set by simply holding the tailgate at the desired height and pressing the tailgate button for 10 seconds. Renton drew attention to both the interior and exterior refinements, including the Gloss Black treatment to the headlight inners and grille surround, and the new 20” alloy wheel on the Supercharger model.
Checks at Coscharis Motors early in the week showed that the 2012 Range Rover line-up would be driving into the local market in the next couple of months.