550-hp 2015 Range Rover Sport SVR Unveiled, Priced at $111,400

After a lengthy hype campaign that included a teaser image, a camouflaged debut at Goodwood, and Nürburgring track footage, the 2015 Range Rover Sport SVR is finally revealed. The high-performance SUV bears Jaguar Land Rover's first-ever SVR designation, identifying it as a project of the company's new Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division. Not wasting any time, SVO's first task was to ratchet up the existing Range Rover Sport Supercharged's on-road performance, without sacrificing its all-important off-road chops.

Inertia be Damned

Utilizing the same supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 from the Range Rover Sport Supercharged, the 2015 Range Rover Sport SVR ekes out an additional 40 hp and 41 lb-ft of torque. Output now peaks at 550 hp and 502 lb-ft of torque, enough to slingshot the 5148-lb behemoth from 0 to 60 mph in an incredible 4.5 seconds. The SVR completes the sprint 0.5 seconds faster than the 510-hp Sport Supercharged, courtesy of a retuned Bosch engine computer allowing more immediate throttle response, heightened supercharger boost pressure, and a revised ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, with upshift times reduce by up to 50 percent. On the track, top speed is electronically limited to 162 mph.

On-Track and Off-Road Capable

Developed through extensive on-track testing at the hallowed Nürburgring (where it recorded an 8-minute, 14-second lap time), the 2015 Range Rover Sport SVR is endowed with extensive performance upgrades. A recalibrated active rear locking differential is in place for increased agility, while the brake-actuated torque vectoring system is modified to mitigate understeer and improve grip. It's also fitted with the Range Rover Sport's optional two-speed transfer case offering a 50/50 front-to-rear torque split—a system which has proved more than capable of besting nasty mud bogs and fording water up to 33.5 inches deep.

Land Rover did not neglect the SVR's suspension, modifying the air springs, Adaptive Dynamic damper settings, and rear suspension subframe bushings for more athletic handling and direct steering. It can corner faster and flatter as a result of an Active Roll Control system that uses pumps and roll sensors to replace traditional anti-roll bars. Despite the track-trouncing focus, the 2015 Range Rover Sport SVR maintains the same adjustable-range ride height and wheel travel. The idea is for Land Rover's most discerning buyers to be able to have their cake and be able to eat it off-road, too. Fortunately for Land Rover, these buyers tend to care little about fuel economy—the Range Rover Sport SVR returns ratings of only 14/19/16 mpg city/highway/combined, although those figures are impressively unchanged from the 510-hp Supercharged model.

Hear its Evil...

If Jaguar Land Rover has done anything to set itself apart as of late, we'd have to point to the company's massive appetite for a thrashing exhaust note. In the same vein as the Jaguar F-Type R, the Range Rover Sport SVR is all about being heard through its distinctive quad-port exhaust. The SVR exhaust even increases the diameter of its underfloor pipes by 0.2 inch compared to the Sport Supercharged model to 2.4 inches. Electronically-controlled valves close off two pipes at lower engine speeds, then open up to unleash the full-blown hellish din at full throttle and crackles under deceleration.

...Now See its Evil

The 2015 Range Rover Sport SVR also gets unique, sporty styling alongside its boisterous soundtrack. Larger intakes on the revised aerodynamic front bumper not only provide a more aggressive look, but they also allow more air to enter the twin intercoolers that feed the V-8's supercharger. The front bumper's extended lower section can also be removed to protect it from damage during serious off-roading. A new, dark-finished grille matches new vents on the front fenders, leading into the black-contrast roof and sporty rear roof-mounted spoiler. Around the rear, the Range Rover Sport SVR gets a similarly-treated rear bumper with a gloss-black diffuser. 21-inch wheels with 275/45 R21 all-season Continental Cross Contact tires and black SVR badging round out the visual upgrades.

Seven exterior paint colors are available, including the Estoril Blue model seen here, while the Oxford leather interior can be customized with an Ebony Black scheme as well as three two-tone options which pair Ebony Black with Cirrus White, Pimento Red, or Tan. The SVR model also receives special 16-way power-adjustable sport front seats. Aluminum trim comes standard, while carbon fiber detailing is optional.

When There's A Market, Feed It

As absurd as a 550-hp, five- or seven-seat SUV sounds, there's an undeniable market and business case for building one. Land Rover wants a piece of the same pie that BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche have been gorging themselves on with the X5M, ML 63 AMG, and Porsche Cayenne Turbo and Turbo S. Even more prestigious brands such as Rolls-Royce, Maserati, Bentley, and Lamborghini are all working on their own high-performance SUVs. While Jaguar continues to struggle to drum up customer demand despite categorical improvements across its lineup, Land Rover has earned itself long waiting lists and big profits.

The 2015 Range Rover Sport SVR starts at $114,400 including destination fees, up $34,375 over the entry price of a Sport Supercharged. Check back soon for an official on-sale date.

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