JLR released a Carbon Edition limited edition of the Range Rover Sport right before the launch of the new Range Rover generation. We were allowed to test drive this Q car for a whole week and we didn’t hesitate. Under its carbon fibre bonnet hides the famous 5.0 V8 with 575 hp, which should be enjoyed to the point of intoxication, forgetting its gas guzzling habits.
The Range Rover Carbon Edition stands out thanks to its details. As its name implies, they are all made of carbon fibre. It is all over the car: central part of the front bonnet, edges of the front bumper and grille, rear view mirrors as well as the tailgate. It rides on gloss black 22-inch alloys. The interior features illuminated steel front door sills adorned with exclusive SVR Carbon lettering and lightweight SVR Performance seats for the front passengers. Front and rear seats are heated. The pedals are made of aluminium. The atmosphere is quite impressive with a delicate blend of high quality materials. Once on board, you feel particularly at ease, everything oozing luxury and quality.
I like it
Obviously, the piece de resistance of this ultra-exclusive Range Rover is the gargantuan V8 engine. It features a nice soundtrack without ever being a pain to your ears. We already praised it under the bonnet of the F-Type. It’s a pleasure to see it again here, even if it has to move about 2,300 kg of metal and carbon. The claimed performance is eye watering : 0 to 100 km/h in 4″5 secs and a 283 km/h top speed… provided you are brave enough to try to reach it, bearing in mind the car’s weight. Fortunately, you can rely on 380mm ventilated discs up front and 355mm ones at the rear, along with Brembo multi-piston calipers to slow you down. The fun part is freeing the exhaust, pressing on the appropriate button and… enjoying the bubbling sound of that high capacity mill. CO2 emissions obviously take a back seat.
This special Range Rover is supremely comfortable. Thanks to the special sports seats (both at the front and rear), as well as all the systems intended to make a driver’s life more pleasant. These include various massaging seat cushions and all the electronic aids that make long journeys easier. One of this SVR’s main assets is the pleasure it induces when driven dynamically, thanks to the very fine tuning of its suspension. Along it, we appreciate its steering precision as well as its weight distribution in relation to the available power. Neutralising understeering tendencies is easy : just lift off your foot. So much fun! Obviously, it wouldn’t really be a proper Range Rover if it didn’t remain an off-road supercar, as long as you shod it with the right tyres.
I don’t like it
The outside look bothered us the most. Straight out of a rap video, it’s way too much for our liking. Carbon fibre elements don’t add much character to it and we feel they’re just there for no other reason than justifying its name. Whatever engine lurks under the bonnet, the Range Rover Sport is still not the class leader for storage and loading space. This may not be its main purpose in life, but given its size, it never fails to surprise us.
Why I buy it
The Range Rover Sport SVR Carbone Edition will appeal to those who like exclusivity and want to take advantage of its characterful V8. Luxury and comfort are core values of the British brand and blend so well with this drivetrain power. Fit and finish are among its forte and there’s no compromise on quality. Would you expect anything else, knowing the basic price is € 156,200, without any extras ticked off? Fair enough, outstanding off-road capabilities are standard, provided you don’t mind scratching the pretty carbon fibre elements…
Why I don’t buy it
Beyond the loud sides of this extraordinary machine, some details ergonomics are less than perfect. The 5.0 V8 turbo lump requires a tanker to be around all the time,such being the pace at which it guzzles petrol. On a more serious note, the available horsepower is enjoyed in dizzying comfort and making you unaware that cruising speeds verge on the illegal side. Eventually, Belgium taxation levels mean you need a fat back account to afford it. Anyway, if being aware of all that don’t put you off, go for it while stock last, these are really exclusive cars! (Translation: Dimitri Urbain)