Driven - November 2017

Range Rover SVR – Mixed emotions and loud exhausts.

Range Rover SVR – Mixed emotions and loud exhausts.

A Range Rover is known for its British heritage, uncompromised build quality, modern luxury and all-round driving elegance. It’s a vehicle very popular with old money, understandably so because it gives off a certain feeling of class. This class isn’t earned by producing one vehicle, but years of pursuing excellence, and delivering it.

Range Rover SVR

When it comes to the Range Rover SVR however, take all of the above and simply throw it out of the window. I say this, not because the SVR Range Rover doesn’t possess most of the qualities above, because it does. These qualities are just hidden behind quite a few “in your face” features.

The looks:

Our Range Rover SVR was white in colour, with other black design elements and of course, 22” wheels. Apart from the slight front and rear bumper changes and the placement of “SVR” badging around the vehicle, it wasn’t painstakingly obvious that this was not a normal Range Rover Sport. It looked great and while it is attention seeking, it isn’t on the “stare at me” level of those awful yellow Hummer H2’s, thankfully.

Range Rover SVR

There are stand out features about the car that set it apart from a normal Range Rover aesthetically. For instance, a not so subtle black and white interior upholstery and racing style seats are hard to ignore. Yes, racing seats in an SUV. As you can expect, they were not particularly comfortable, but they looked the part. Looking the part is top priority in any sport variant of an SUV. The SVR does that and then some. After spending more time in the vehicle, I realized that the SVR had a very unique appeal about it. As much as I hate to say it, I felt like I had become the leader of an underground syndicate for the day. It’s got a “badass” feel to it that other cars in this segment don’t have.

Then came the noise from the exhausts. My word, what a noise. With the “pipes turned on” as my colleague Francisco likes to say, the 5.0-litre supercharged V8 bellows out a sound that is actually hard to comprehend. I would go as far as to say it could be one of the loudest cars on the road. Volume isn’t everything, but it does also sound fantastic whilst being loud. If it becomes a bit too much, it can be toned down to a much more reasonable level with a touch of a button, while still maintaining that V8 purr.

 

Not too sure about it…

The first few days in the car had made me reach a tentative conclusion of the vehicle. So far, the SVR simply felt like an obnoxious version of the standard Sport. If I was to stereotype this car to a human personality, it would be one of those rude teenage boys who knows everything and thinks he is the next Conor McGregor. Like Conor McGregor, the SVR has a trick up its sleeve.

Driving Dynamics:

The time soon arrived in the week for me to drive the SVR on roads which allowed me to exploit its performance. This included some straight roads as well as sweeping corners. The result? Let’s just say my opinion on the car changed completely.

What I didn’t mention before was that with the glass shattering V8 sound produced by the SVR, came acceleration which was quite unbelievable. If you have ever seen an Airbus A380 or a Boeing 747 on the tarmac at an airport, you stare at it in amazement that something so big can actually fly. Similar thoughts processed in my mind when I planted my foot in the Range Rover SVR. There are very SUV’s that can accelerate this quickly, the SVR is one of them. On paper, it boasts a 0-100 km/h time of 4.5 seconds, which is certainly believable.

Range Rover SVR

One may expect the SVR to possess the same body role you get in a standard Range Rover Sport, but you’d be wrong.

The words “body roll” very seldom make an appearance in the Range Rover SVR’s vocabulary. Of course, understeer will present itself in any vehicle large vehicle should you carry too much speed into a corner. Respect the SVR and it will respect you. However, corners at good speed are taken with marvelous ease and grip, inspiring confidence and leaving unwanted vehicle dynamics behind. Bundled with fantastic acceleration and you have a very fast and capable performance SUV. The racing seats suddenly don’t seem so stupid now.

Sometimes unexpected situations happen in cars. We had a moment like that in this car, when we experienced an surprisingly sideways moment. Pulling off from a T-Junction on a damp road surface, turning right with a heap of acceleration, resulted in just over half a lock of smooth, glorious oversteer. “What!?” we thought to ourselves, leaving Francisco and myself looking at each other in complete amazement. This was by no means planned, as we just wanted to see how good this 4×4 system was, pretty good it turns out, if going sideways is your thing. Which is probably not the case in an SUV.

What does SVR mean by the way?

SVR is a division of Jaguar Land Rover’s performance division SVO or Special Vehicle Operations, similar to that of BMW M or AMG. They fine tune and adjust their vehicles to provide more performance and driving enjoyment with unique styling, all while being covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. Further to this, SVO offer extended levels of customisation and personalisation with extended paint options and a further range of interior leathers, trims and styling.

Range Rover SVR

Overall

Under the aggressive design and bold styling, the Range Rover SVR is a true performance SUV. It further encourages the “I don’t care, I drive a Range Rover” attitude, and you really don’t have to because well, you drive a Range Rover. It’s a hall pass to be as loud or obnoxious as you want. For many people, driving this type of vehicle is exactly what you want from it. In a few words the SVR is “Luxury with attitude”. You either love it or loathe it. Either way, if it comes behind you on the highway, chances are, you’ll move out the way.

Range Rover SVR Pricing in South Africa

The 2018 Range Rover Sport SVR and starts at a tasty R 2 080 100


Also published on Medium.