Land Rover is shifting its internal focus from the soon-to-launch, radically reinvented fifth-generation Range Rover to development of the 2023 Range Rover Sport, the current version of which has become one of the company’s best-selling cars.
Due to launch around a year after its full-sized sibling, the new, Mk3 Range Rover Sport will play a fundamental role in supporting Jaguar Land Rover as the firm embarks on a wide-reaching and rapid-fire electrification programme. Every year for the past five years, the current model has outsold the standard Range Rover by more than 40% and more recently has jostled with the smaller Evoque and Discovery Sport for the position of JLR’s best-selling overall model.
The roll-out of Land Rover’s new MLA Flex architecture to its largest models means the Mk3 Range Rover Sport will be a radically different proposition from the outgoing car, which will be 10 years old by the time it is replaced.
Claimed to bring 50% more torsional stiffness and to reduce structure-borne noise by 24%, the new shell promises to substantially improve rolling refinement for the Range Rover family. The Sport, in particular, could have an enhanced focus placed on its dynamic credentials as a Porsche Cayenne rival.
This is especially notable in light of a powertrain-sharing agreement between JLR and BMW. The tie-up means the most potent Range Rover Sport SVR will swap its supercharged V8 for a BMW developed, twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8, which paves the way for a hefty power increase and – more radically – a highly potent plug-in hybrid drivetrain option.
The current Range Rover Sport SVR uses the 567bhp 5.0-litre V8 reserved for models in the company’s Special Vehicles portfolio – currently comprising identically powered versions of the Land Rover Defender, Range Rover, Jaguar F-Pace and Jaguar F-Type. This engine was historically produced by Ford in Bridgend but was taken in-house when that facility closed in 2019. As the implementation of stricter
Euro 7 emissions legislation looms, production of this engine will be gradually wound down and JLR’s most potent models will make the switch to BMW power.
The 4.4-litre V8, referred to internally as the S63, currently propels BMW’s hottest M cars, with maximum outputs of 626bhp and 553lb ft in the hardcore M5 CS super-saloon.
Land Rover will deploy its own version of the engine in its top-rung SUVs, with a bespoke tune and various modifications carried out by its engineers to best suit their characteristics.
As featured in the Range Rover, it produces 523bhp for a 0-62mph time of 4.6sec – slightly less power but a comfortable performance improvement over the previous V8 car – and those outputs are expected to be increased for the Sport in line with its more overt driver-focused billing.
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