Volvo and others now have competition in the PHEV luxury SUV segment - this one is based on a 300PS I4 petrol engine

Volvo and others now have competition in the PHEV luxury SUV segment - this one is based on a 300PS I4 petrol engine

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Tata Motors' UK luxury car unit Jaguar Land Rover has revamped its Range Rover Sport line for 2018 with new English made Ingenium four cylinder, V6 and V8 petrol and diesel engines along with a new P400e plug-in hybrid electric version.

The new range is topped by a flagship 575hp SVR variant which can sprint to 60mph in 4.3 seconds.

As recently announced, from 2020 all new JLR vehicles will have the option of electrification and plans for all-electric models such as the Jaguar i-Pace have already been revealed.

Land Rover's chief design officer, Gerry McGovern said: "When we started the design process with this new Range Rover Sport, it was important that we maintained its sporting prowess while evolving the exterior design. The addition of design enabled technologies, such as our new infotainment system and the LED headlights demonstrate our drive towards ever greater desirability for the customer."

The British designed, engineered and Solihull-built model has sold more than 732,000 since it went on sale in 2005.

JLR UK managing director, Jeremy Hicks said: "The current Range Rover Sport has performed exceptionally well in the UK market since it was introduced in 2013 selling just shy of 50,000 vehicles to date.

"These 2018 updates make the model an even more attractive proposition with CO2 emissions down to 64g/km and a 101mpg on the combined cycle coupled with new infotainment technology making life simpler. Our efficient diesel and petrol engines are our cleanest ever and remain utterly relevant today on our journey to electrification."

The new PHEV, badged P400e, combines the 300hp (221kW) two litre, four cylinder Ingenium petrol engine built at the new Wolverhampton powertrain plant with an 85kW electric motor. The 404hp (297kW) total available power output – delivered through a permanent four wheel drive system – achives the 0-60mph sprint in a claimed 6.3 seconds (0-100km/h in 6.7sec) and maximum speed of 137mph.  Combined torque is 640Nm - this thing will pull like a train.

The new powertrain emits 64g/km on the NEDC cycle and offers all electric travel up to 31 miles (51km).

Drivers can select from two driving modes:

  • Parallel Hybrid mode (the default driving mode) – combines petrol and electric drive. The driver can optimise battery charge or fuel economy by utilising one of two charge management functions:
  • The Save function prevents the battery charge dropping below the level which has been selected.
  • The Predictive Energy Optimisation (PEO) function – entering a destination in the navigation system utilises GPS altitude data to intelligently optimise the switch between electric motor and petrol engine maximising fuel economy over gradients along the route.
  • EV (Electric Vehicle) mode – EV mode enables the vehicle to run solely on the electric motor using the energy stored in the battery

For this version, Land Rover's Terrain Response 2 technology has a unique calibration to intelligently and precisely distribute torque from the electric motor which has no creep speed and maximum torque from zero rpm, to all four wheels. This gives greater control during low speed, off road manoeuvres.

Nick Collins, JLR's vehicle line director, said: "The new [range] strikes a compelling balance between dynamic capability, passenger comfort and efficiency. The introduction of our advanced plug in hybrid powertrain is a watershed moment in the history of our performance SUV."

The motor is powered by a 13.1kWh, high voltage, lithium-ion battery set up to maximise interior space and provide ideal weight distribution. The petrol engine is longitudinally mounted with the 85kW electric motor housed on the transmission at the centre of the vehicle along with the 7kW on board charger. The access point for the recharge cable is at the front of the vehicle while the 13k.1Wh, prism shaped, li-ion battery is mounted at the rear beneath the boot floor.

When rapid charging, a full charge can be achieved in two hours 45 minutes at home using a dedicated or 32amp wall box. The battery can be fully charged in seven hours 30 minutes using the 10 amp home charging cable supplied as standard.

With significant changes under the skin, the 2018 exterior has evolved, Land Rover said, "to harmonise and modernise the design, making the Range Rover Sport look more dynamic without changing its essential character".

New nose design includes intelligent matrix pixel LED headlights, a redesigned grille and a new bumper with a more aggressive profile. The PHEV's recharge port is hidden behind the Land Rover badge on the right of the grille.

Inside, the new Touch Pro Duo infotainment system called Blade by developers is said to be the most advanced ever fitted by Jaguar Land Rover [recent experience of the latest petrol Ingenium powered Evoque also showed JLR infotainment to be extremely intuitive to use, too - ed].

"Two high-definition 10-inch touchscreens form the centrepiece of the minimalist cabin, blending a futuristic, elegant feel with an intuitive, engaging interface and unrivalled functionality," the automaker claimed.

In car connectivity is enhanced with up to 12 power points, including two domestic plug sockets. The Activity Key available for newer JLR models now comes to the Range Rover Sport, allowing customers to lock and unlock their vehicle without the need to carry a key fob – ideal for outdoor pursuits.

Advanced Tow Assist introduced last year carries over and takes care of the difficult counter steering required to position trailers accurately when reversing. The driver can simply guide the trailer into the desired space using the rotary controller for the Terrain Response 2 system.

Other comfort and convenience technology:

  • Gesture sunblind: opened and closed by an advanced gesture control system that senses an occupant's hand movement. All it takes to open the blind is a rearward swipe in front of the rear view mirror, and forwards to close
  • Pixel laser LED headlights: advanced technology provides greater luminance and intelligently blanks sections of LEDs to help to avoid dazzling oncoming drivers

The latest SVR derivative, also available in the Jaguar range, takes the Range Rover Sport into new territory with 575hp, that neck snapping 0-60mph sprint in 4.3 seconds, design revisions and increased use of carbon fibre construction.

Production continues at Solihull and first deliveries start early in 2018.

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