Introduced during a time when SUVs were evolving considerably beyond their original intentions, the original Range Rover Sport was Land Rover’s first attempt to marry the outstanding co-anywhere capabilities of its top Range Rover model, with the on-pavement athleticism of some of the then-new competitors.
BMW’s X5 and Porsche’s Cayenne had proved buyers in the ultra-premium segment of the SUV market would gravitate toward a product with outstanding power and handling on the street. Further, they had demonstrated for a certain segment of that demographic, offroad capability was secondary.
Of course Land Rover, being Land Rover, couldn’t very well leave off road capability behind on the pavement to go chasing after those sexy German sirens down a twisty two-lane. Thus, the original Range Rover Sport was engineered to do both. However, because it was largely based on the rugged and exceptionally robust Land Rover LR4’s steel ladder frame platform, weight was a significant issue.
Happily, the redesigned 2013 Range Rover’s new all-aluminum unibody platform shed considerable weight. The 2014 Range Rover Sport, which shares that model’s underpinnings benefits in a tremendous fashion from the newfound lightness everywhere that counts—performance, handling, and fuel economy.