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It’s always dangerous to build up your expectations because more often than not you are left disappointed in an age when genuine quality is so often overshadowed by mediocrity. It is then, particularly pleasing when those expectations are not only met but exceeded by some considerable distance.
I went to the launch of the new Range Rover Sport many months ago in Abu Dhabi and although it was hard to get close to the car which was mobbed by an enthusiastic crowd of Emiratis anxious to see a vehicle that has become a favourite in this part of the world, I knew it would be good.
It has taken until now for me to get behind the wheel of this all new RRS but I can tell you that it was well worth the wait because this is one stunning piece of kit.
The Range Rover Sport has been around since 2005 and has been unbelievably successful. But as time marched on it was apparent that, just like its big brother, the flagship Range Rover, it was in need of modernisation to keep it ahead of the game and those chaps at Land Rover have done a magnificent job.
The new RRS is sportier, sleeker, lighter and much faster. In fact it is the fastest, most agile Land Rover ever built and it is that agility that really makes this vehicle stand out from the crowd, although it has to be said that aesthetically it does a pretty good job just sitting there looking stylishly aggressive with the engine off.
Our test drive car was the top of the range Range Rover Sport 5.0 litre supercharged Dynamic model which is astonishingly versatile. Put it in Dynamic drive mode and this thing flies and devours any kind of driving conditions you care to throw at it. I expected at least some body roll going through corners but there wasn’t even a hint as it took bends at speed in its stride thanks to its lightweight suspension design and chassis technology It is particularly sprightly because this latest RRS shares the aluminium architecture of its bigger stablemate and is 420kg lighter than its predecessor which means that not only is it quicker but it is also more efficient when it comes to fuel consumption.
The new RRS looks more sporty than its predecessor and its shorter overhangs at the front and back give it a more modern stance.Any vehicle that has the word Sport as part of its name must deliver on performance and this baby is alarmingly fast, thanks to its all aluminium 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine which makes an absolutely glorious sound as it propels you from 0-100kmh in a tad over five seconds.
The power is delivered to the AWD system via an eight-speed automatic which works like a dream and paddle shifts offer a manual option. Inside, the car is what you would expect of a premium SUV – plenty of high grade leathers, polished metals and an innovative infotainment system.
Being a Range Rover this car is also impressive off-road, although, personally, I prefer keeping something as impressively fast as this on tarmac. But if you do fancy tackling a tougher environment then the RRS will deliver in style with its Terrain Response system offering all the assists and modes you need.
The RRS starts at Dh349,000 but I would recommend buying the car I drove. It is expensive at Dh479,000 but it’s worth every fil.
Why Buy It
Rear window slightly smaller than usual
Third row still a bit cramped
RRS 5.0 SC Dynamic – Specifications
Manufacturer: Land Rover
Production: 2005 to present
Class: Premium Sports SUV
Body style: Five/Seven-seater
Layout: All wheel drive
Engine: 5-litre V8 SC
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Output: 510 bhp
Kerb weight: 2,310kg
Top speed: 250kmph
Rating out of 10: 9