When your new luxury suv costs over $90,000, just the thought of driving it off-road can be a bit stressful. But this is the 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport. Subjecting its shiny new paint job and clean undercarriage to jagged rocks, thick mud, and thorny, low-hanging tree branches is part of its appeal. It’s like driving your new muscle car at the local drag strip or your exotic sports car flat out on a twisting mountain road.
Land Rover may build the world’s premier lineup of luxury suvs, but its vehicles are also some of the toughest and most capable off-road. Land Rovers have been driven across Africa’s deserts and through South American jungles. Recently, Land Rover asked a Le Mans-winning racecar driver to jump in a new 2018 Range Rover Sport and climb the 45-degree 999-step staircase to China’s Heaven’s Gate rock arch. Why? Just to prove it could. Now in its second generation, the Range Rover Sport competes against such models as the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne, and Volvo XC90.