Need proof that absolute power corrupts? Step this way.
The 2019 Range Rover Sport SVR is a performance SUV that, in a rational world, shouldn’t exist. Do you really need a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 chucking out 577 horsepower? How about a Land Rover-claimed 0-60 time in the 4.3 second range? We don’t live in a rational world, though, so we have mega performance SUVs like the Lamborghini Urus, Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk and Bentley Bentayga. And, of course, we have this.
One of the first things you notice as you walk up to the Range Rover Sport SVR is just how unremarkable it looks among its cousins. Blink, and you’d miss it for an “ordinary” Range Rover Sport. The signs are there, though, particularly when it comes to the Estroil Blue on black paint scheme and the SVR badging on the front, sides and on the tailgate.
Frankly, it doesn’t even matter if you can’t tell this is a Range Rover Sport SVR by looking at it. As soon as you fire it up and bury your foot in the carpet, you’ll know it’s an SVR.
Holy damn, is the 2019 Range Rover Sport SVR loud. There are plenty of great sounding V8s. The 5.0-liter engine in the Ford Mustang sounds good, as does the engine in the Lexus RC F. But the SVR takes it to another level. Open up the adaptive exhaust — easy enough to do under “Vehicle” settings in the lower screen of Land Rover’s Touch Pro Duo system — and the Range Rover Sport SVR sounds like a pissed off rhinoceros. It’s nothing short of awesome, though I did wish I could hear the supercharger a bit more.
Making all that noise is a supercharged 5.0-liter V8, as you’d get in the Range Rover Sport Dynamic and Autobiography. In the SVR, though, it puts out a whopping 575 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. All that grunt is routed to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The SVR uses the same 15-inch front brake discs and 14.3-inch rear discs as the standard supercharged Range Rover Sport.
It’s quick…but thirsty
Despite its 5,093 pound curb weight, the Range Rover Sport SVR gets up and runs as well as you’d expect. Just don’t look down at the digital gauge cluster and notice that you’re struggling to break into the teens on fuel economy. The EPA rates the SVR at 15 City / 20 Highway / 16 Combined mpg.
The 2019 Range Rover Sport SVR comes with 21-inch wheels as standard equipment. Spend $3,060 more, and you can get gloss black 22-inch wheels wrapped in Continental Contisport Contact 5 SUV tires. Even when I pushed the car through corners, it just gripped and went with almost no drama. However, even after just a few thousand miles on our test car, the tread has noticeably worn down. These tires grip well, but the down side comes with a short life. Still, at $131,520 for the car, changing the tires out is just a drop in the bucket, isn’t it?
Even if you drive in Dynamic mode, the Range Rover Sport SVR has a decent ride, although it is firm as slow speeds. However, the “lightweight” sports seats are comfortable and supportive. Put it in in Auto or Comfort mode and get it up to cruising speed, and the ride is still nothing less than you’d expect from a Range Rover. Even on some of the weather-broken and decaying roads we have here in Colorado, the smooth ride allowed me to focus most on what this car’s all about: the power.
What about off-roading?
Yes, you can technically take the 2019 Range Rover Sport SVR off-road if you really wanted to. It does have Land Rover’s Terrain Response 2 system, which allows you a great deal of control over the car’s four-wheel drive system. With that, you can raise the car on its air suspension and head out into the wilderness. That said, we stuck firmly to the road with the Range Rover Sport SVR, because off-road ability isn’t the point here.
Those summer tires, while great for grip on the pavement, are also useless off-road. Get too animated on your adventures, and you’ll be shelling out another $4,000 or more for new wheels and tires.
Comfort and Convenience
Coming back to cold, hard cash, the 2019 Range Rover Sport SVR starts at $114,500, or about $17,000 more than the luxurious Autobiography trim. For that, you get the nuclear firepower, but Land Rover didn’t skimp on luxury in the SVR either. You still get leather throughout the cabin, including a thick, confidence-inspiring steering wheel, a digital gauge cluster and a Head-Up display. However, a word of caution on that last one: The Head-Up display is a $1,325 option.
More than enough (audio) power)
In the center stack, you get Land Rover’s 10-inch Touch Pro Duo system with navigation, and it does support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Hooked to that infotainment system is a Meridian premium surround sound system with 825 watts of power and 19 speakers. For $4,540, you can get a 29-speaker Meridian system with a ludicrous 1,700 watts of deafening power, if you want. It sounds great with all that power, but the normal surround sound system should be more than enough for most.
On the interior of this particular 2019 Range Rover Sport SVR, I was treated to a sea of Ebony trim. The car looks imposing from the outside, and I think it looks fantastic in Estoril Blue (although it is a $1,525 option), but the lack of a two-tone interior scheme felt gloomy. Happily, you can spec a Range Rover Sport SVR in either Cirrus white or Tan interior accents to offset all the Ebony trim inside. While the all-black appearance probably looks more sporty, it may be worth looking at a two-tone treatment to make it feel more luxurious and pleasant like the other Range Rover models.
Other standard equipment includes 360-degree parking aids, heated front and rear seats, three-zone climate control and a panoramic sunroof. Soft door close is a $610 option, heated and cooled front and rear seats are a $305 option, and the optional Driver Assist Pack with Blind Spot Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist and Park Assist is a $3,185 option. Land Rover also sells an Activity Key for $410, which lets you lock the actual keys in the car when you’re going on a run or into the water. Walk back up to the rear of the car with the wristband on, and you can gain access to the car, which is useful so you don’t destroy your key fob.
The 2019 Range Rover Sport SVR is a mass of contradictions. It’s supposed to be comfortable and sporty. It’s supposed to be luxurious and fast. Then it’s supposed to be an off-road machine and keep its handling prowess on the road. Against the likes of other Jaguar Land Rover cars, including the standard Range Rover Sport and Jaguar’s sports cars, it’s difficult to justify the Range Rover Sport SVR as a sound buy. If you wanted a car to excel as a handling machine or a comfort cruiser, you should pick something other than the SVR…right?
So is the Range Rover Sport SVR a waste of time? Its sheer heft, expensive price tag and gobsmacking thirst are all points in the minus column. However, fast SUVs are often a huge compromise, as you’re looking for sheer power and speed. On that front, the 2019 Range Rover Sport SVR doesn’t disappoint. It’s properly quick, offers most of the luxury and function you’d want from a Range Rover, and it still retains some of its off-road cred. Again, there are more sensible options out there, and the loudness and power won’t appeal to everyone.
If you’re in the market for a super-SUV, though, the $114,500 and up Range Rover Sport SVR is definitely worth a look. It offers the power to corrupt even the most relaxed driver into a bit of a hooligan. And for that reason, I couldn’t help but love it.
2019 Range Rover Sport SVR Specifications
|Price as tested||$131,520|
|Engine||5.0-liter supercharged V8|
|0 – 60 mph||4.3 seconds (Land Rover)|
|Top Speed||176 mph|
|Curb weight||5,240 lbs (2,377 kg)|
|Towing Capacity||6,613 lbs (3,000 kg)|
|Fuel Economy (EPA)||15 / 20 / 16 (city/hwy/combined)|
|Ground Clearance||10.9 inches (max height)|
|Length x Width x Height||192.2 x 70.9 x 87.4 inches (mirrors out)|
|Cargo Volume behind 2nd row||27.5 cubic feet|
|Warranty||4 year/50,000 mile basic & powertrain warranty|