The Range Rover Sport. As seminal a car as the Defender, original Range Rover or Discovery, the new Range Rover Sport was the first new car in a generation for the British manufacturer and was a direct riposte to the ever increasing German and Far Eastern rivals eating into their once massive market share. Launched in 2004, the L320 Range Rover Sport debuted in a blaze of publicity, with Range Rover tempting the worlds motoring audience with a mad three door concept, called the Range Stormer. Of course the production car wold not have the mad low slung bodywork and gull wing doors, but it gave the Sport the much needed initial boost it needed.
The new Range Rover Sport was based on the Discovery 3 semi monocoque chassis. It was smaller in every dimension then the Discovery, and perceived as a sportier and more upmarket alternative. Powered by both six cylinder diesel and V8 petrol’s, a V8 diesel joined the range in 2007. It had independent air suspension, which gave it the required refinement to take on more road biased newcomers but with an innovative system which interlinked the suspension on both sides of an axle, utilising pneumatic valves which pushed an opposing wheel down if the other left the ground, effectively mimicking a live axle setup, for greater off road ability. The air suspension was also adjustable, giving a ride height from 172mm for normal driving to 227mm for off-roading, as well as an easy access mode and finally, an extra height off road mode, which was only available if the 227mm was used up in extreme off road situations.
The Rover Sport also adopted the Terrain Response system allowing the driver to select from 5 different off road programmes via a rotary dial on the centre console, general driving; grass, gravel, snow; mud and ruts; sand; and rock crawl. Suspension ride height, engine management, throttle mapping, transfer case settings, transmission settings, electronic driving aids (such as electronic traction control (ETC), dynamic stability control (DSC) and hill descent control (HDC) and electronic e-diffs are all manipulated through the Terrain Response system. This pioneering technology also aided the on-road handling by keeping roll in check via electro-hydraulic roll bars, that decoupled to aid axle articulation when off-road.
With an interior that resembled that of a Range Rover more than a Discovery, the Sport was very popular and started to claw back valuable sales. It was the 2009 facelift that really bought the car up to the standards of German competition, though. Minor cosmetic changes and better intergrated styling improved the aesthetics, but the real changes came inside, with a far more luxurious and indeed ergonomically friendly interior. This example is a facelift Range Rover Sport with the TDV8 engine, roundly considered the sweet spot of the range.
RHD, Santorini Black, 20 inch Diamond Turned alloys, Sandstone Perforated leather, Ivory Contrast stitching, Piano black trim, Ebony carpets, Electric sunroof, Electric heated seats, Hybrid TV, Climate control, Satellite navigation, Bluetooth, Adaptive cruise control, Parking sensors, Terrain response, Active roll control, Continuous variable damping, Adaptive Xenons, Premium sound system.
Every Range Rover has traditional styling cues, such as the castellated front bonnet, floating roof and accentuated rear pillar. All are present and correct and bought bang up to date with the Sport. Finished in Santorini Black, this example looks fantastic with a regal appearance befit of any Range Rover. Silver trim on the lower front bumper, side steps and side grills give an elegant and athletic touch to the exterior design.
This Range Rover Sport has enjoyed careful use, which is clear to see when one inspects the external appearance. With just a very small stone chip on the bumper, there are few if any other marks to note on the bodywork, the paint gleaming proudly. The contrasting silver trim is also in excellent condition and provides a smart contrast to the tinted windows.
A Range Rover is designed to provide an imperious driving position and the Sport does not disappoint. You sit in luxurious seats, surveying the landscape around you from great height. This driving position has set Range Rover apart since inception and will always continue.
As you climb aboard you notice the Autobiography Sport lettering on the sill plates, denoting this as a top spec model. The interior is finished in Sand Stone, with a combination of piano black and polished trim – typically Range Rover and a wonderful match to the Santorini Black exterior.
With low mileage, the interior is in exemplary condition. The control interfaces are flawless and the leather very clean, with no marks to be seen. All of the functionality works as it should with all of the off road modes available to hand via a rotary controller on the centre console.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
The TDV8 is the powerplant of choice for the Range Rover Sport smooth, powerful and torquey. Based on the basic block architecture of the 60 degree TDV6, the TDV8 had a 90 degree opposed block, displaced 3.6 litres across its 8 cylinders and was fed via twin variable geometry turbochargers. Coupled to a six speed ZF gearbox, progress is seamless, whether cruising at high speed for long distances or ploughing across off road terrain.
The engine bay in this example presents very well indeed, showing little signs of wear. On test drive, the drive train feels very smooth with effortless acceleration and hushed progress.
WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES
The Autobiography is fitted with specially designed alloys featuring a bi-colour finish defining it as the highest spec line available at the time. The alloys are pleasingly free of any marks.
A Range Rover Sport has to be competent on and off road and the the tyre of choice – the Continental Cross Contact – is up to the task. Sized 275/40/20 on both axles, all the tyres show good tread.
First registered in June 2010. this range Rover Sport has only ever had one owner from new. It has only ever been serviced by main Land Rover dealers, as annotated below.
24/08/11 – JLC Land Rover Ltd – 6,426
26/09/12 – JLC Land Rover Ltd – 10,677
25/09/13 – JLC Land Rover Ltd – 13,208
21/08/14 – JLC Land Rover Ltd – 14,927
17/08/15 – Lookers Battersea Land Rover – 17,637
04/08/16 – Lookers Battersea Land Rover – 19,863
09/02/18 – Lookers Battersea Land Rover – 19,881
The history file includes the full Range Rover Sport book pack, as well as the two keys.
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