Land Rover is known the world over for producing some of the most off-road capable vehicles on the planet. Now the brand will reinforce that position with a slew of hardcore, trail-conquering versions of its models, using the SVX acronym as a designator. The new dirt-oriented SUVs will come from JLR’s recently formed tuning division, Special Vehicles Operations.

That’s the word coming from Car and Driver, which spoke with SVO boss John Edwards about the launch of the new line. While details are sparse, Edwards did drop a few hints regarding Land Rover’s new off-roaders, saying that SVX models will feature “added capability” next to the sporty SVR and luxury-laden SVAutobiography versions produced by SVO.

When asked if the SVX models would resemble something like the Bowler Wildcat or Mercedes G63 AMG 6x6, Edwards responded by saying, “It could be either of those things, it could be both. This is the third side of the product triangle, and one that we think has got huge potential.”

So far, specifics regarding when we should expect to see an SVX model are under wraps, although Edwards did say that we would get a taste of what’s in the works “relatively soon.” It’s also unknown which model will be the first to get the SVX treatment, although the Land Rover Defender is speculated as one likely recipient.

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Why it matters

With so many automakers imbuing large, cumbersome SUVs and crossovers with extra (and unnecessary) track capabilities, it’s a relief to see Land Rover getting back to the basics with some highly capable off-road machines. While it’s true that the SVR lineup follows the current trend of paved performance so far, the SVX models should offset this with vehicles that take advantage of a large platform’s natural aptitudes, i.e., tackling the wilds.

Does it make sense to take an $80,000 car into an environment where the likelihood of scratches, dents, and mechanical abuse run rampant?

The problem I see has to do with price – does it make sense to take an $80,000 car into an environment where the likelihood of scratches, dents, and mechanical abuse run rampant? It depends on the clientele, but probably not. My guess is that an SVX badge will translate into unused capability, relegated instead to shopping malls and school runs. But oh well, at least its not another line of “high-performance” track-oriented SUVs.

One final word about the SVX acronym itself – some enthusiasts will be reminded of Subaru’s glorious failed foray into the two-door coupe grand tourer niche with its SVX. Produced for a brief period in the mid-90s, the Subaru SVX came with either a turbocharged flat-four engine or naturally aspirated flat-six, plus an automatic transmission and AWD. The car looked good, featuring a body by Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, and boasting a low drag coefficient of 0.29. Unfortunately, the SVX didn’t sell, and Subaru ended up losing money on it.

It’s unlikely anyone will confuse these two radically different SVXs, but it is worth noting the reused acronym.

2015 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR

2015 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR High Resolution Exterior
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Range Rover has been making sporty SUVs since 2006, when it released the Range Rover Sport as a direct competitor for the products coming from BMW and Mercedes. Last year, the automaker unveiled the most powerful Sport ever, dubbed the SVR. To help it turn laps on the track, this uber-SUV brings lightweight materials like aluminum to the party, which helps it make the most of the output from its supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 powerplant. With an eight-speed automatic transmission routing the muscle, the SVR can lay down a max of 542 horsepower and 501 pound-feet of torque, granting it a 0-to-60 time of 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 162 mph.

Read our full review here.

Source: Car and Driver

Jonathan Lopez
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