New Range Rover Sport P510e 2023 review
The new Range Rover Sport is hard to fault in P510e plug-in hybrid guise. It’s superbly refined, comfortable, good to drive and comes loaded with tech. In fact, the only issue might be the more affordable P440e model, which offers the same electric range and only a little less power for a major £9,330 saving, spec for spec, in Autobiography trim. Otherwise, this is one of the most luxurious and accomplished SUVs on the market.
Electrification and luxury are happy bedfellows. The lack of noise an EV often exhibits means that refinement is generally superb – especially when it’s in a large, premium SUV such as the latest Range Rover Sport. And while there won’t be a full EV available in this all-new model’s line-up until some point next year, from launch the Sport is available with a plug-in hybrid powertrain, providing the incredible level of quality that you expect from anything wearing a Range Rover badge.
It’s some powertrain too. Land Rover says that, with a 38.2kWh battery, the Sport can cover up to 69 miles when propelled solely by its 141bhp electric motor. In EV mode, performance is adequate, despite the hefty 2,810kg kerbweight, and given that this is one of few PHEVs to offer rapid charging, an 80 per cent top-up takes less than an hour. Budget for a full refill to take around five hours using a home wallbox.
Working in conjunction with the battery and electric motor, there’s also a 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six engine, which is good for a total combined output of 503bhp and 700Nm of torque. As you’d expect, given the Sport’s weight, performance is dulled slightly, with the car taking 5.2 seconds to reach 62mph. However, the more important facet of the petrol-electric set-up is that it delivers its propulsion so smoothly and in such a refined way that our passengers often struggled to tell which power source was being used. Even when you work the petrol engine hard, its musical hum is nicely hushed.
Car group tests
The eight-speed automatic gearbox is equally refined, shuffling ratios with so little interruption to the drive that progress is superbly relaxing. It’s helped by good calibration of the various systems, with the result that the switch from petrol to electric, or drive from the combination of both power sources, is something that happens pretty much without the driver having any knowledge of it, save for the digital rev counter needle zipping round the clock.
The ride is great too. Of course, in a car weighing more than 2.8 tonnes, big potholes do fire the optional £500 23-inch wheels on our test car into their housings. And while the suspension does a great job of absorbing a lot of this energy, some of it is transferred through to the body, jolting it just slightly.
These incidents are isolated, however, and mostly, the Sport rides serenely, even over UK roads and on those big wheels. In fact, the ride is so compliant and refined that it feels a cut above the last Range Rover in its responses to lumps and bumps. On the motorway, it’s superbly comfortable and deathly quiet – the wind around its big door mirrors is one of the most audible noises – while the way the chassis floats over undulating surfaces, combined with the sumptuous seats that boast an excellent massage function in our test car, means comfort is the name of the game.
Yet, true to the Sport tag, the new car has lost none of its dynamism. The steering has a great weight and there’s plenty of grip. Body roll is well controlled by an active 48-volt system that works on the chassis to keep the Range Rover as flat and as level through corners as possible.
Everything you touch and control inside is a match for the technical underpinnings, too. Apart from the nasty plastic speaker pods on the front door tops, the interior is trimmed in soft leather and – on our First Edition car at least – features some lovely trim inlays and textures that really carve the Sport out as a luxury product.
The infotainment is significant step on compared with Land Rover’s last-generation systems, too. The new Pivi Pro features a 13.1-inch touchscreen that boasts wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability (as well as a wireless charging) if you’d prefer to use your phone, but the native system is fairly slick and quick to respond.
There’s also the usual amount of off-road features you’d expect from any Land Rover. But given that the new Sport is now an SUV of significant size, one of the most useful is a widget in the system that tells you the car’s dimensions – which comes in very handy if you’re in a multi-storey car park with low ceilings, or when navigating a width restriction, for example.
Other thoughtful touches include myriad storage compartments. And because many Range Rover Sports are likely to be used as family machines, this is very important.
A hidden compartment below the sliding centre cup-holder tray gives plenty of space for trinkets, in addition to the lidded cubby behind. You’ll never want for space.
That’s true in the rear seats too, because legroom is excellent. Headroom is great too, and the expansive panoramic roof on our car didn’t eat into space too much. Finally, the 647-litre boot is sufficiently spacious, as well, while the powered tailgate function is a neat convenience feature.
It’s bettered by the rear-wheel steering system, though, which means that this large SUV is able to turn into something as agile as a supermini around town and in tight spaces. It makes the Range Rover Sport superbly easy to manoeuvre and park, as well as being a big contributing factor to its low-speed agility.
However, this all comes at a price: £112,040 for this P510e First Edition, or £108,600 in otherwise top Autobiography trim. That’s a significant outlay, but with CO2 emissions of just 19g/km meaning an eight- per cent company car tax rating, it could be a more affordable way for a business user to run what is a supremely capable car.
|Model:||Range Rover Sport P510e First Edition|
|Engine:||3.0-litre 6cyl petrol + 1x e-motor|
|Transmission:||Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive|
|EV range:||69 miles|