Daniel Craig was reputedly paid £1million to appear at the unveiling of the all-new Range Rover Sport in New York, according to industry insiders. What’s more, the British actor is to receive four Land Rovers for his troubles, but they’re not the blinged-up Rangies you might be expected – he’s secured four Defenders instead.
What would a Bond actor want with four Land Rover Defenders?
Well, Bond has had a recent penchant for trashing Defenders, but these Defenders are for an altogether different purpose: to support an Kenya-based charity that Craig is a patron of.
As you’ll see in the video below, Craig’s association with Land Rover ties in with African charity S.A.F.E, run by pal Nick Reding. The donation of hardy cars for the charity’s work is the big push factor involved in getting Bond involved in the new Range Sport’s debut.
On driving the new Range Rover sport, Craig said: "This one has a much sportier feel - it doesn't feel aggressive but you feel like it wants to go. It was a lot of fun". He also thanked Land Rover for its genorosity in providing vehicles to S.A.F.E.
The 2013 Range Rover Sport makes its world debut
You can see the cinematic Range Sport reveal in the video below, which blends a carefully choreographed preamble featuring the car being unloaded and dodging of NYC’s urban obstacles, with the live reveal of the car, all (seemingly) piloted by craggy Craig himself. Cynicism may leap up when any celebrity is seen endorsing a new car (watch the video – Daniel doesn’t exactly outstay his welcome once he’s arrived), but given the circumstances in which the world last saw Craig piloting a Range Sport (that Ford Group product placement-saturated scene in Bond flick Casino Royale – in which the Rangie was unceremoniously crashed), we’ll forgive this indulgence.
If you’re wondering why Land Rover chose to launch the new Sport in New York, it’s because it’s actually the car’s biggest market. More Range Rover Sports find homes in and around New York City than any other urban area on Earth, while the USA as a whole buys more Sports than any other country. It’s that sort of clout that allows Land Rover to get away with closing down half of Manhattan for the sake of a new car’s glitzy debut.
Range Rover Sport: the headlines you need to know
Why all the fuss over a new SUV? Here’s the essential spec of the new Range Sport. Under that sleeker body peppered with Evoque cues, the new Sport uses an aluminium chassis that cuts up to 420kg from the kerbweight versus the old model. Both the 254bhp TDV6 and 287bhp SDV6 diesel engines sneak under the 200g/km of CO2 mark, and take 7.1 or 6.8sec respectively to hit 62mph. The brawnier 334bhp/516lb ft 4.4-litre TDV8 is due in early 2014, while petrol-friendly markets will get a supercharged petrol V6 from the F-type sports car. If you’re a petrol devotee (with cash to burn, almost literally) then you can have a 503bhp supercharged 5.0-litre V8 Range Rover Sport. The Jaguar XFR-shared engine powers the RRS to 62mph in a Porsche Cayman S-besting 5.0sec, and tops out at 155mph. In all models, you can opt for an off-road-optimised transmission with low-range gearing, or a regular road-biased set-up that’s 18kg lighter.
Inside, the new Range Rover Sport updates the high, sloping centre console style of the outgoing car with the new Range Rover’s touchscreen-centric interface. Cabin space is also improved thanks to the new platform and 178mm wheelbase stretch. It’s liberated enough space to squeeze two pop-up child seats behind the second row, creating a seven-seat Range Sport for the first time.
The new Range Rover Sport goes on sale this autumn, with prices starting around £50,000 – ‘not much more expensive’ than the outgoing car.
>> What’s your opinion on the high-profile, Daniel Craig-led introduction to the 2013 Range Rover Sport? The perfect fit, or style over substance? Tell us by clicking ‘Add your comment’ below.