Last time we spied the ultimate Range Rover, the V8-powered 4x4 rumbled past our photographer’s lens in the UK. Here’s a statement of confidence for the car’s dynamics: it’s been spotted in stripped-down camouflage, pounding around the fearsome Nürburgring racetrack in Germany.
What is a Range Rover Sport 'RS'?
A more powerful, faster Range Rover Sport, destined to take on the best super-SUVs from Germany. It’s expected to borrow the supercharged 5.0-litre V8 from the Jaguar XKR-S, XFR-S and F-type R Coupe, which develops 542bhp and 502lb ft.
The fastest Range Rover Sport on sale right now is the supercharged V8 petrol flagship, which develops 503bhp. It’s no slouch – the 5.0-litre engine hauls the aluminium SUV to 60mph in 5.0sec and 155mph flat out. But Porsche’s hottest SUV, the Cayenne Turbo S, musters 542bhp, and a 4.5sec 0-62mph sprint.
Plus, the upcoming BMW X5 M is thought to have as much as 565bhp from its own twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8, while Bentley and Lamborghini’s performance SUVs will enter the power wars in 2015 and 2017 respectively. It’s time for Land Rover to fight back, and you’re looking at its latest, greatest weapon.
What gives this car away as the ‘RS’ Range Rover?
Now the disguise has been pared back to a Land Rover-decorated wrap, it’s clear the Range Rover Sport 'RS' looks much punchier than any other Rangie. A much lower front bumper sprouts a collection of new air intakes, and the car’s side skirts are more flared than is usual for a Rangie. At the back, a more aggressive diffuser-style rear bumper is joined by four tailpipes.
Brembo-branded brakes provide the car's stopping power, which could also be treated to a lower ride height than a regular Range Rover Sport. It’s also possible Land Rover could offer a stickier performance tyre option, given that the RS is only likely to venture off-road if its driver puts it into a gravel trap during a circuit hoon.
Inside, this test mule sports fixed, one-piece Recaro bucket seats, but expect more liveable versions in the production-spec Range Rover Sport RS when it arrives later in 2014, priced at around the £95k mark.