“This shouldn’t be happening” is a phrase stuck in my head like a broken teleprompter, every time this vehicle does… well, anything. The car in question is fairly large and has several right angles adding up to create an agreeable shape, globally considered to be a Range Rover Sport. I reckon, the phrase pops in bystanders’ minds as well, when this Rangie shrinks away into the horizon like a cannonball.

“This is happening” is what the top brass at Land Rover probably said, when they told their Special Vehicles Operation (SVO) division to put a supercharged V8 into a Range Rover Sport and extract 543 bhp from it — an idea undoubtedly birthed at a downtown pub. Welcome to the Range Rover SVR — possibly the most astonishing car you’ll see today.

The grudge against polar bears notwithstanding, this is a terriffic idea. Endowing an SUV with the powers of a supercar isn’t a new notion — nearly every top shelf manufacturer has one in their kitty, but few have proven to be so deliciously effective. Yes, that’s a 543 bhp, supercharged V8 — powered Range Rover that’s cut its teeth at the dreaded Nurburgring and come out with a supercar-shaming time of 8 minutes and 14 seconds.

Prior to experiencing the volcanic power underneath that hood, the SVR is another Range Rover Sport. The black grille and roofline indicate that things are a bit different, but the tan leather seats and dashboard, with smooth alcantara draping the car’s pillars and roofline, betray no signs of the Herculean levels of power this car springs on you. It’s just world-class luxury, until you start the engine to hear one of the best engine notes of the 21st century.

Range Rover SVR
Range Rover SVR
Range Rover SVR
Range Rover SVR
Range Rover SVR
Range Rover SVR

Can it frighten your neighbours? 

Easily. No one is accustomed to seeing a vehicle of the Range Rover’s proportions move at the speeds the SVR is capable of. By the time anyone on the road can process it, the hefty Rangie is already a blue-speck in the distance. The reason it went around the Nurburgring was because Land Rover wanted to ensure that the SVR gets the authentic supercar trial-by-fire. It’s not just an SUV that can go frighteningly fast — it’s an SUV that is a proper track weapon. The first thing that leaves you unnerved is that genuine supercar throttle response, which will have you sleeping over just how it manages to disguise that weight. On paper, this is a two and a half tonne car, but as soon as you bury the throttle, there’s just no trace of that weight. Everytime it makes a manic dash to the horizon, it roars furiously and leaves a lot of bewilderment in its wake.

Is it impossibly quick? 

There are a lot of things about the SVR that would be considered impossible, were it not the decade of the multifaceted automobile. It does 0-100 under 5 seconds, which itself begs astonishment, but it’s the giddying levels of torque, that are available constantly with no lull in power supply that is truly incredible. One feels like the SVR is pacing itself while teetering around the 200 kph mark and you almost always run out of runway before it’s at full gallop.

How is it at the other stuff? 

It’s extremely planted. You approach a corner, filled with trepidation about the way the car’s dimensions will cope with the speed, but mid-corner, you’re already marveling at the lack of body roll. Sure, the weight will make it slide around a bit, but you have all-wheel drive technology and extremely responsive braking swallowing momentum like an acme dynamite kit.

Range Rover SVR
Range Rover SVR
Range Rover SVR
Range Rover SVR
Range Rover SVR
Range Rover SVR

So what exactly do we have here?

It’s what happens when a wild imagination meets a wilder R&D budget. The engine is the same one used in a standard V8 powered RR Sport — however, everything is a little extra : a little extra power, a wider track, stiffer suspension, anti-roll bars, bigger brakes — the works. If SUVs are paving our automotive future, the Range Rover SVR is a benchmark for everything an SUV can be.


Loony Rover

RR_SVR__196

The Range Rover SVR retains the same off-roading tech available in a standard RR Sport. Despite being slightly lower, the decrease in approach and departure angles of the SVR is quite less, making it just as adept off-road as it is on-road.