Yes, the new Range Rover Sport is back in full disguise. Why? Because this car is testing an all-new diesel-hybrid powertrain that will go into production next year, giving the Range Rover Sport (and the new Range Rover) a CO2 output lower than a London black cab.
How do you know this is a diesel-hybrid Range Sport?
Of course there’s no tell-tale badging, but a quick search of this car’s numberplate in the DVLA database tells us this Range Rover Sport was first registered in November 2012, and its fuel type is ‘electric-diesel’. Land Rover can add all the camo they like, but there’s no lying to the powers that be about what’s under the bonnet of its test mules…
What are Range Rover Sport diesel-hybrid’s specs?
The Range Sport hybrid will use the diesel-burning 3.0-litre TDV6, which develops 254bhp and 443lb ft on its own. In the new Range Sport, connected to the standard eight-speed automatic transmission, it’s good for a claimed 194g/km of CO2, and economy likely to be in the high thirties. By contrast, the 420kg heavier old Range Sport TDV6 scored 32.1mpg and 230g/km.
Adding hybrid motor assistance should stretch that figure above 40mpg, with a confirmed CO2 output of 169g/km – that’s better than a Porsche Cayenne Diesel (189g/km) and a Cayenne S Hybrid (193g/km). Performance will improve too: expect the 0-62mph sprint to dip under 7sec (from 7.1) and the top speed to better the standard car’s 130mph.
The battery pack will of course add unwanted weight to the Range Rover Sport, but they’re packaged in a reinforced cradle under the cabin, meaning no impingement on passenger space and no danger of rupturing the cells if the owner ever decides to try out the Rangie’s off-road talent.
When will the Range Rover Sport hybrid go on sale?
Although the regular Range Rover Sports will be available from September 2013, hybrid models won’t arrive until 2014, and it’s Europe that’ll see the largest take-up.
Although hybrids are usually the darlings of US sales charts, the diesel-hybrid won’t even be offered in the USA. The volume seller in the States will continue to be the 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol car (yup, the Jaguar F-type’s engine) thanks to America’s on-going love affair with petrol. China too, prefers petrol models, albeit the downsized 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, good for 237bhp.
Click here to read CAR's first drive of the all-new Range Rover Sport prototype