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2015 Range Rover Sport SVR Review By Larry Nutson +VIDEO

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2015 Range Rover Sport SVR
The first SVR

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Spectre, the new James Bond film, is attracting lots of movie goers. I very recently saw Spectre just about a week after I completed my driving time with the 2015 Range Rover Sport SVR.

Why the connection? Well, a trio of Land Rover vehicles have staring roles in the film. Two Defenders and a Sport SVR are used by the “bad guys” in a film sequence situated in Austria. Although I’m not on the bad guys side, I would say they made a good vehicle choice for a kidnapping caper that required negotiating a snowy mountainside and a glacial road at high speeds. Here’s a link to that film sequence from Land Rover so you can see for yourself.

Just as 007, Bond, James Bond and the British MI6 spy organization enlist the expertise of Q to invent, design and develop “gadgets” to help Bond in his pursuits, Land Rover too has such a team.

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The Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations team is the creator of the 2015 Range Rover Sport SVR. It’s the highest-performance Land Rover vehicle ever, capable of accelerating from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds and achieving an electronically limited top track speed of 162 mph. The SVO team also specially tuned the ZF 8HP70 eight-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive chassis to give the Range Rover Sport SVR exceptional agility while also preserving all-terrain capability.

Here is a video showing some of the Range Rover Sport SVR's driving capabilities.

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The Sport SVR, Land Rover's most dynamic SUV, has lapped Germany's legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife racetrack in 8 minutes 14 seconds, one of the fastest times ever recorded by a standard production SUV.

How does the Range Rover Sport SVR do what it does? For starters, the SVR has an aluminum monocoque integrated body and chassis with aluminum chassis, doors, fenders and hood. Power to reach the performance figures I mentioned previously comes from a 5.0-L supercharged 550HP V8 with 502 lb-ft of torque. Note here that the non-SVR Sport has a mere 510 HP.

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Putting power to the ground is an electronically controlled permanent four-wheel drive system, just as you would expect in a Range Rover. A ZF eight-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with specific performance calibrations makes the connection from engine to the drive wheels. Shifts are lightening fast and crisp. An electronic air suspension with automatic load leveling keeps the four wheels planted. Front and rear suspension components keep with the lightweight theme and are all aluminum.

All of this plus more comes with a price. Base price for the Range Rover Sport is $79,995. The SVR package, remember the 550HP, is $30,480. It includes all the equipment from the Sport Autobiography model plus items like unique 21-inch wheels, blue painted Brembo brake calipers, Switchable active exhaust (I’ll come back to this) with quad tailpipes, unique SVR badges, grille, tailgate and front and rear bumpers, special paint treatment, 14-way power front SVR sport seats, and more.

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The sport seats are finished in Windsor leather with ribbed, quilted centers, Ebony Black top stitching, reflective piping, and feature the Range Rover Sport SVR logo.

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The media-loan SVR I drove was fitted with some other options such as a Meridian 1700 watt surround sound audio system, carbon fiber veneer in the cabin, adaptive cruise control and more. All-in-all the price tag ran up pretty high. Would you believe $126,360 when all is said and done!

My Range Rover Sport SVR driving experience wasn’t as exciting as in the Bond movie. Winter hasn’t hit Chicago yet, so there is no snow. Muddy trails were not on my things-to-do list. Although I will mention that I have driven various Land Rover vehicles off-road. At the annual Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) Spring Rally a team from Land Rover North America lays out an off-road course in a wooded and hilly area at Road America race track in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. We get to drive various suitable vehicles up and down steep inclines, traverse steep slopes and climb rocks.

The Sport SVR is quite comfortable around the streets and highways of Chicago. It’s not overly large thus making maneuvering and parking fairly easy. Front and rear park distance control and a rear view camera help with that. You sit up fairly high for good sight lines. Entry is a slight climb up and my wife was wanting for a more convenient grab handle to help in getting in the front passenger seat. I thought a good feature for the air suspension would be to have it lower the vehicle whenever you shut the engine off. There is an “access” position to lower the vehicle but that, curiously, doesn’t function with the vehicle parked and shut off.

The Range Rover does everything very well. It’s equipped, as it should be, with lots of conveniences. I hauled a carload of five of my family with the rear cargo area slightly loaded and everyone loved it. The bespoke interior is regal, plush and beautiful. The new 2015 SVR model is quite expensive but perhaps a better choice over other high-performance luxury SUVs.

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There’s lots more info on the full line of Range Rover models that can be found at Range Rover Sport starts at $64,950. The new 2016 Discovery Sport starts at $37,455. Comparison information to other luxury SUVs can be found right here at

Now to that active exhaust I mentioned. Up stream of the quad tailpipe exhaust is a two-stage exhaust system. When the engine first starts the exhaust is somewhat loud, but then changes to normal mode. At lower revs, the electronically controlled valves close off two tailpipes keeping things quiet. As engine speed and load increases - typically around 3000rpm - the valves open, allowing greater flow through all four exhaust pipes and increasing the volume and quality of the acoustics. A center console switch allows you to keep the four pipes open all the time. The Sport SVR is powerful and the sound from full throttle acceleration will turn heads. I had fun with it.

If fuel efficiency is more to your liking, stay tuned for a V6 diesel powered 2016 Range Rover Sport.

© 2015 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy

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