Generally speaking, off-road performance and track performance are not realms that can exist together within one vehicle. But somehow, Land Rover has been breaking the laws of physics with its Range Rover Sport since its debut in 2005. Now it seems Land Rover has decided to abolish all traces of such forces that keep large SUVs from handling well around corners. Meet the upcoming Range Rover Sport RS.
Yep, RS. Land Rover is taking the already sporty Sport and turning up the juice for a more engaging, on-road experience thanks to a few key improvements, not the least of which is a more powerful engine. It’s highly likely the standard Sport’s 5.0-liter, supercharged V-8 will remain, but with the same 40-horsepower bump the Jaguar XFR-S enjoys. That brings the Range Rover’s normal 510-horsepower mill up to 550 ponies. Expect Jaguar’s extra 41 pound-feet of torque to transfer over as well, bringing that total to 502 pound-feet.
Click past the jump for more speculation on the Range Rover Sport RS
Keeping the 5-0 in its powerband will likely be the same ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission found in other Range Rovers and Jaguars. The unit works superbly well at knocking out quick shifts and could even be mistaken for a dual clutch by the average consumer.
While the ZF tranny keeps the engine in check, a sport-tuned suspension will keep the Range Rover Sport RS planted to the pavement. In the video, it’s apparent the test drivers are pushing the Rover fairly hard as those tires squeal for mercy. It’s probable that the new RS will include a track mode setting within its Terrain Response system. A lowered ride height, tighter sway bars, and stiffer setting in the air bag suspension would yield a more performance-oriented ride.
The RS’ appearance is much sportier as well. Through the trippy camo coverings, a new front and rear bumper are visible, as well as the large quad exhaust pipes. The new front bumper features some fairly large air intakes to help keep things cool. And while the Range Rover RS will still retain some of its off-roading abilities, summer ultra-performance tires are a sure bet.
Expect the Range Rover RS to make its debut this fall, perhaps at the LA Auto Show. For a starting price, expect the RS to command a large premium over the standard Range Rover Sport yet still come under the top-line Range Rover Autobiography. Somewhere in the $100,000 neighborhood sounds about right.