Critics’ Notebook: Range Rover Sport Supercharged
Autonomous Capabilities: Nil
When I have to take a 900-mile road trip through the monolithic Floridian Interstate sprawl in order to attend the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, my vehicle of choice tends toward the stately, cushy, and executive. Think the Mercedes Benz S-Class. I want to cruise surrounded by posh materials and in quiet comfort.
During this annual jaunt the other week, the new Range Rover Sport Supercharged did a credible impression of a oversized and potent sedan. It was lined in luscious brown leather, polished zebrano wood, and aluminum accents that gave it the feeling of an Emirate dentist’s office. It had plush bamboo carpets that were perfect for hiding all the sand that clung to me in its attempt to escape that barrier island. Its obstreperous V8 warded off all of the state’s swarming invasive wildlife. (Fuck you, Burmese pythons.) Setting the cruise control at whatever extralegal speed I chose resulted in nary a pant, a 22.5 mpg average, and just enough rumble to provide proper levels of butch drag realness.
But while the SUV can keep up with competitive cars in terms of interior comfort, on the track, and at the gas pump (well, close enough) it’s noticeably lacking in the tech department. For a near-$100,000 car, Mercedes, BMW, or Audi can stay within the highway lines, rub my back, see around corners, and stop itself from hitting just about anything it may encounter on the roadway. The like-priced Range is entirely lacking in all of this technology. Sure, those vehicles probably can’t drive up K2 or wreak havoc on your neighbor’s lawn like the RRS can, but how often are you going to do any of that in a six-figure truck, anyway? (Granted, I haven’t met your neighbor.)
The Range excels at picking up groceries, booze, nieces, and small bicycles (a full-size one with a basket wouldn’t fit in back). But next time I have to drive 14 hours by myself, I think I’m going to choose a car.
Range Rover Sport Supercharged
Price (as tested): $94,300
Powertrain: 5.0-liter supercharged V8, 510 hp / 461 lb-ft
0-60 MPH: 4.5 seconds
MPG: 14 city / 19 highway (but 22.5 observed!)
Autonomous Capabilities: Does not compute