On first impressions the new Range Rover Sport has moved away completely from it's forebear, which suffered from a bling reputation as the SUV of choice amongst football players. Instead Range Rover have designed a car that is unique but takes styling cues from both the Evoque and 2013 Range Rover.
The old Range Rover Sport was based on the Discovery chassis. The Discovery is the most competent Land Rover, outside of the Defender, but not the most refined - that award goes to the Range Rover. So for this iteration the Sport is based on the Range Rover's chassis, which means aluminium architecture and a 420kg saving over the old model.
And saving weight means improved speed, acceleration and economy.
Two engines will be available from launch - the venerable, but superb, 5 litre supercharged V8 (also found in the Range Rover and several Jaguars) with 503bhp and the 3 litre SDV6 with 334bhp. In 2014 a new 3 litre TDV6 with 254bhp and a 4.4 litre 334bhp SDV8 will be added. A hybrid is also planned. Due to the Sport's lighter weight a four cylinder engine could also be added at some point.
The only quoted performance stats for now are that the V8 does 0-60mph in 5 seconds and the SDV6 emits 194g/km of CO2.
With it's shallow angled windscreen the Range Rover Sport has a very low, for an SUV, drag rating of 0.34Cd. It's shorter than the Range Rover and only 62mm longer than the previous model Sport. Apparently, despite sharing a chassis it only shares 25% of parts with the Range Rover.
The Sport's suspension is more akin to a sporty cars than an SUVs. It's got aluminium, fully independent double wishbones at the front and a multilink layout at the rear, but still has between 260 and 270mm of wheel travel to allow for Land Rover's legendary off-road capability. It also gets Adaptive Dynamics and continuously variable dampers as well as a locking rear differential and torque vectoring by braking, which transfers torque to the outside wheels when cornering, which reduces understeer.
A new option for the Sport is a colour Heads-Up display which shows key data on the windscreen without the driver having to look down. (Shhh - this has been available on the Corvette for years).
The new Range Rover Sport has been designed by Land Rover in Britain and will be built in Solihull.
It will be on sale in late summer this year in three spec levels - HSE, HSE Dynamic and Autobiography Dynamic. Once the TDV6 is launched in 2014 the Sport will be available with a cheaper SE derivative.
Prices will be slightly higher than those of the current Range Rover Sport and should start at about £50,000.