On a twisty Chinese road with 99 corners, that is.
Not so many years ago, the word combination of ‘performance’ and ‘SUV’ did not exactly go together. In fact, there really wasn’t such a thing. But that was then. Today high-performance SUVs have become the norm, and the Range Rover Sport SVR is at the very top of the chain. It’s so fast and powerful, in fact, that it just outperformed the Ferrari 458 Italia on China’s famous 99-corner Tianmen Road. And yes, it was a production-spec model, though it was piloted by Panasonic Jaguar Racing driver H-Pin Tung.
The Range Rover Sport SVR has set a new unofficial record of 9 minutes 51 seconds for the 11.3 km (7.0 miles) ascent at an average speed of 42.8 mph. In 2016, the Ferrari 458 made the same run in 10 minutes and 31 seconds.
Obviously the Range Rover’s supercharged 5.0-liter V8 with 567 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque was the main contribution to its success. However, this flagship SUV also recently underwent some design and engineering revisions, such as greater use of lightweight materials that enhance performance, handling and agility. For example, SVO engineers did some chassis refinement by focusing on controlling pitch under heavy acceleration and braking. Changes were also made to the damping hardware for improved turn-in, mid-corner grip and body control.
Combined with the carbon fiber hood’s large air vents and a revised bumper for enhanced brake and engine cooling, the Range Rover Sport SVR is, quite simply, part of the ultra-exclusive super SUV class. Only last month, another Range Rover, the PHEV variant, also set a record in China for climbing the Heaven’s Gate natural rock arch. But we happen to have a thing for high-performance, and the Range Rover Sport SVR is certainly worth every penny of its $113,600 base price.