After decades of
declaring itself the regent of off-road, Land Rover has decided to battle the
growing number of performance-oriented SUVs with the 2006 Range Rover Sport.
Set to go on
sale in Canada
in the summer of 2005, the Range Rover Sport is said to be ''a true performance
vehicle, optimized for fast, comfortable, long-distance driving.'' Equipped
with the optional 390-hp, 4.2.-litre, supercharged V-8, the Range Rover Sport
''will deliver the highest degree of power ever available on a Land Rover
model,'' says Matthew Taylor, Land Rover's managing director.
detailed specifications won't be announced for some time, but since it's
supposed to fit between the new LR3 and the big-ticket Range Rover (which will
itself be up-fitted in the New Year), we can assume it will cost north of
The ability to
go fast and true on pavement will come from Land Rover's new Dynamic Response
suspension system and performance-tuned chassis, says Taylor
. ''The innovative system, making its
debut on Range Rover Sport, senses cornering forces and acts to optimize body
control and handling,'' Taylor
also ''decouples off-road to allow greater wheel articulation during tough
all-terrain driving,'' he says, but the truth is that very few Range Rovers
ever go off-road unless you count the gravel driveway on the way to the country
club. The normal suspension system will easily handle that, so prospective
buyers should not worry.
Sport takes us into the growing performance SUV market,'' says Taylor, ''but is
different from all rivals. We see it as a less frenetic, more refined
alternative to existing performance SUVs.'' Yes, he means you, BMW, Cadillac,
Lexus, Lincoln, Porsche and VW.
Taylor says the new Sport is ''ideal for
fast, comfortable, long-distance driving and practical enough for everyday use.
Yet it is also exceptional off-road, offering better all-terrain ability than
any competitor. Like all Land Rover products, it offers the broadest range of
capability in its class.''
This is the best
''driver's vehicle'' that Land Rover has ever made, Taylor
maintains. ''There is the traditional
Land Rover command driving position, yet the cockpit is more cocooning than the