First Look: The 2023 Range Rover Sport, Preparing for an EV Future and Looking Damn Fine in the Process
The dynamic SUV is knocking on the door of the electric age
For those who have been paying close attention, there’s nothing particularly shocking about the announcement of the new 2023 Range Rover Sport. With both eyes clearly focused on future electrification, the British maker began rolling out the fifth version of their flagship Range Rover last year, and the car-obsessed among us have been expecting to see a thematically similar redesign of their best-selling vehicle in the U.S. market at any moment.
But to say the 2023 iteration doesn’t shock isn’t a neg because it does offer plenty of awe. To be quite frank, it’s an impressive example of automotive design and execution. While we haven’t had a chance to drive it yet, we did get a sneak peak a few weeks back at a preview in New York and both inside and out the third-generation Range Rover Sport represents an elegant evolution of the model.
Power and Performance
We all know the automotive future is electric, even for serious off-roaders, and part of the purpose of this new model and platform is to prepare for that eventuality. But a fully battery-powered Sport won’t be available until 2024. Until then, customers will be able to choose from two hybrid systems coupled with gas engines, as well as a V8, all mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The P360 SE and the P400 SE Dynamic are both fitted with mild-hybrid 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinders that output 355 and 395 horsepower respectively. The P440e model also gets the same inline six gas motor but coupled with a plug-in hybrid battery pack, which cranks up the horses to 434 and gives drivers the option and range of going all electric for 48 miles before needing a sip of gas.
For those not quite ready for the battery age, the P530 First Edition gets a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 with 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque.
To keep the ride posh and fluid, as Range Rover owners have come to expect, each trim level uses the brand’s intelligent all-wheel drive and dynamic air suspension to enhance comfort and elevate handling both on and off road. The new Sport also uses Range Rover’s eHorizon system and navigation data to prepare the vehicle for upcoming turns in the road as well as an active twin valve dampering system to minimize the body from shifting and keep passengers comfortable.
Also particularly handy in a full-size SUV is the addition of all-wheel steering for better maneuverability on the road and a much sharper turning radius in a driveway or parking lot.
Of course, very few customers will ever take their Sport beyond the asphalt. But Range Rover still provides customers with its legendary skill set, after all it’s part of the brand’s “go anywhere in luxury” identity.
This iteration of the Sport is the first to get off-road cruise control, so drivers can hone in on where the wheels are. Plus a new terrain response software detects the type of ground you’re driving on and adapts in order to optimize performance.
The updated aesthetic of the 2023 model is sleek, but the swooping lines still look distinctively like a Range Rover Sport. The LED headlights are the slimmest to date and give the view from the front more eye-catching appeal. The rear end now appears seamlessly sculpted. Equally as important as the look, the new shape of the Range Rover Sport offers a drag coefficient of just 0.29, which will make it more efficient, helping minimize energy consumption, and preserve battery range in the future.
While the overall aesthetic has been given a serious rethink, the interior is now an oasis of uncluttered, luxurious elegance, thanks to the design team’s focus on what they call reductive, dramatic modernity. All the extraneous buttons and lines have been removed, creating what feels like a holistically purposeful experience.
This is of course a Range Rover, so naturally its fit and finish are tip-top and the Sport comes with bells and whistles galore. Most of which are controlled through the 13.1-inch curved touchscreen and intuitive Pivi Pro infotainment system that also supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto wirelessly.
An air purification system not only removes bacteria and allergens, including the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but odors as well.
Customers can choose between leather and lightweight ultrafabrics, which take a smaller environmental toll, and can outfit their Sport with 22-way adjustable, heated and ventilated electric memory foam seats with massage, an option we’d recommend.
Sport buyers can also add the 29-speaker Meridian sound system that not only rocks but also uses active noise-canceling tech to minimize the sound of the tires on the road, making the journey all the more comfortable.
All in all the new Range Rover Sport seems to have nailed the mission statement and it’s hard to find even a modest flaw. We can’t wait to get behind the wheel — on the road and off.
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