WHEN you drive one of Land Rover's premium models you simply take for granted that it will be drop dead gorgeous to look at, dripping with elegant and luxurious features and very, very good off-road.
What you don't always account for are the outstanding driving dynamics and that's one of the first factors that should spring to mind when you get behind the wheel of the latest Range Rover Sport.
Just like its larger Range Rover sibling, the Sport model has shed the pounds.
The aluminium platform along with some other weight-saving measures have resulted in a car that is 420kg lighter than its predecessor and that is good news on the driving and performance front.
There's a choice of four trim levels and the Range Rover Sport is priced from £64,085 for the entry level HSE model rising to £101,145 for the mighty 5.0-litre V8 Supercharged SVR. Owners can also select between five or seven seats, along with a choice of powertrains.
We drove the HSE Dynamic model powered by a SDV6 3.0-litre, 306hp, 700Nm turbodiesel engine mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
This car, priced at £70,445 (£78,095 with options), could sprint to 60mph from a standing start in a very impressive 6.8 seconds and topped out at 140mph.
Official figures show the car can deliver combined fuel efficiency of 40.4mpg with carbon emissions of 185g/km.
But it's the manner in which it behaves on the road that cannot fail to impress.
Despite its larger-than-life dimensions and still quite hefty 2.2-tonne weight, the Range Rover Sport is beautifully agile.
Out on the open road, it is perfectly balanced and glides through sweeping bends without any sign of body sway. The road holding is excellent and the acceleration through the gears is as rapid as you want it to be.
There are steering wheel-mounted paddles if you want to take more charge over gear switches.
On motorways, the Range Rover Sport quickly reaches the national speed limit, but there is still plenty more power on offer, so keep a watchful eye on the speedo. In town centres, it proved nimble and easy to manoeuvre with the parking sensors and rear-view camera making light work of parking.
The Range Rover Sport looks fabulous both inside and out with lots of head-turning design cues.
Our model was in a Firenze Red colour with a black contrast roof, along with a gloss black tailgate, body-coloured sills and bumper corners, privacy glass, a fixed panoramic roof and 21-inch gloss black alloy wheels.
The interior is fitted with the finest materials and fixtures with the likes of Windsor leather upholstery, piano black finishes and soft touch surfaces. Techno treats are plentiful although Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will not be available until later in 2019.
However, there are plenty of creature comforts on offer. There is the company's Touch Pro Duo set-up that combines two 10-inch touchscreens offering the likes of a pitch perfect Meridian audio, a premium sat nav system, Bluetooth connectivity, rearview camera, WiFi settings and plenty more besides.
The top screen on the dashboard is where all the infotainment systems are located and the bottom screen is responsible for climate control matters.
Our car was a five-seater but you can opt for seven seats if required. There is room for two backs seat passengers to travel in comfort - a third at quite a squeeze. But the rear seat occupants are treated to heated seats along with their very own eight-inch entertainment system with screens in the back of the front headrests so they can watch a movie on the go.
The boot has a powered 'gesture' tailgate and a capacity that ranges from 522 to 1,686 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.
Elsewhere there is a centre console with armrest, a lockable double glovebox, front and rear cup holders, door pockets, a rear centre armrest and some handy trays. There are also lashing points in the boot to secure items if necessary.
Although we stayed strictly to the Tarmac on this occasion, the Range Rover Sport is very capable off-road where it can wade through water up to 850mm deep, climb over rocks with ample ground clearance, lean at nerve-racking angles and it can also tow a trailer or caravan weighing up to 3.5 tonnes.
And with a wealth of safety specifications and driver aids, the Range Rover Sport is a brilliant all-rounder that has scooped numerous awards and continues to go from strength to strength.