The Range Rover brand is truly iconic since people who know nothing about cars are aware of its rich pedigree of craftsmanship, luxury and performance. Resulting from this amazing brand recognition, Land Rover stands out among its competitors as one of the world’s top brands. Interestingly, today, Land Rover is now owned by India’s Tata Motors who acquired both the Jaguar and Land Rover brands in a blockbuster deal in 2008. Over the past six years, Tata has done a stellar job of rejuvenating the brand globally. Consequently, when you look at Land Rovers’ current 2014 model line-up it’s obvious the nameplate has come a long way since Maurice Wilks constructed the first Land Rover back in 1947 after being inspired by the American World War II Jeep.
Last month, we had the incredible opportunity to experience first hand Land Rover’s 2014 Range Rover Sport HSE and the 2014 Range Rover Supercharged model.
We started behind the wheel of the newly redesigned Sport HSE model equipped with the 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 which pumps out 340 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. Redesigned from the frame up to be lighter and more nimble, (it tips the scales 800 pounds lighter than the 2013 model) Land Rover has turned its stylish SUV into a family friendly SUV for those who strive to drive a premium vehicle. Although now longer than its predecessor by 2.5 inches for a total of 191 it is still over four inches shorter than the 2014 Cadillac CTS sedan.
The Sport was a ton of fun to drive in both city and highway environments and its size works well for an urban environment as I never felt it was too big. As for overall appearance the black on black colour scheme along with the motor hood venting provides a sinister and sporty look. A few welcomed features during the last few days of our Canadian “hell” winter were the heated windshield along with the ultra comfy heated seats and heated steering wheel. Although there are several other engines offered in the Sport trim including the unreal supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 the 3.0 V6 engine is more than enough power to propel the Range Rover Sport. Land Rover estimates the V6 configuration provides a 0-60 mph performance time of 6.9 seconds which should be enough for most families aside from the Andretti’s.
It’s amazing how capable this new Range Rover Sport really is and it’s a bit of a shame that few owners will ever challenge it on anything rougher than an unpaved road on their way to the cottage. Its perfect combination of subtle suspension and Brembo brakes results in excellent driving and braking capability at all speeds and it does this in spite of the beefy 4700 lb curb weight.
Overall, the Range Rover Sport is an amazing ride and I would truly love to have one in the driveway. Our test model came in at $86,000 CDN reinforcing the premium price Range Rover’s garner in the marketplace.
Next up is Land Rover’s flagship model, the Range Rover Supercharged, which brings an out of this world level of power and size to the ring. Beginning with its regal design the Ranger Rover Supercharged is as close as you can get to having your own personal chariot. Its stance exudes confidence and poise and let’s be honest if you are driving one of these you want the world to know you have made it. Designed to compete with the big boys of high-performance luxury SUVs including the Mercedes GL 63 AMG and Porsche Cayenne Turbo, the supercharged 5.0L V-8 engine delivers a whopping 510 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque. Kudos to the team at Land Rover as they have done a magnificent job designing this new powertrain. When you stomp on the gas pedal it provides the acceleration of a V8 supercar and launches like a cheetah. At one point during the week-long test, I seriously thought I may need some wheelie bars. The power is instant and visceral and the V8 sound that goes along with it is intoxicating. With a sizzling 0-60-mph time in the range of 5.0 seconds it is the most powerful Land Rover ever built and driving it is a sure way to get the adrenaline pumping. But the best part of all is it’s a true wolf in sheep’s clothing. Aside from the Supercharged badge on the tailgate nobody knows it has so much power. Hence, you pull up beside someone at a stoplight, and when the light turns green you might as well be in a Z06 Corvette since most vehicles will not even come close to challenging you. Having said this, I’m not condoning this type of activity as it’s illegal, but this is a risk associated with owning the supercharged V8 model.
The Range Rover includes a host of other goodies that make life easier and driving a little safer too. To name a few there’s a surround camera system, reverse traffic detection with blind spot monitoring and closing vehicle sensing, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, rain sensing wipers, an 18-speaker Meridian audio system, massaging and heated seats and best of all are the heavenly front headrests which are hands down the most comfortable headrests I have ever experienced. Although designed to be an incredible off-roader it is way too beautiful and expensive to take to the trails and I’d be surprised to hear that any of these models ever see the mud and water they are designed to tackle.
Coming in at a price tag as tested of $127,145 the Range Rover Supercharged is certainly not for the everyman. Nope, this vehicle is designed for those who have successfully climbed the corporate ladder and/or entrepreneurial rock stars along with professional athletes and celebrities. However, there is other important group worth mentioning who have had a long history with Land Rover products and that is the British Royal family. A few years back in a story we did about the introduction of the Range Rover Evoque we also included a video of Queen Elizabeth II driving her Land Rover equipped with a manual transmission. And just this past summer, we saw Land Rover once again star as the vehicle of choice for Prince William and Kate at the birth of Prince George. Kudos to Land Rover since you could not ask for better global brand ambassadors!