Range Rover Sport

P400e HSE Silver

Range Rover Sport P400e, 2021, front, static
Range Rover Sport P400e, 2021, front
Range Rover Sport P400e, 2021, side
Range Rover Sport P400e, 2021, side, action
Range Rover Sport P400e, 2021, rear
Range Rover Sport P400e, 2021, interior
Range Rover Sport P400e, 2021, charging
Range Rover Sport P400e, 2021, front, upright

SIX years ago I wrote "I love this car so much I might even change my Facebook status to "in a relationship".

Relationships change over the years but my affection for the Range Rover Sport remains as strong as ever. And why shouldn't it be?

Six years on, it's better looking with a more aggressive profile, supremely comfortable and even more sporty.

And, alongside a range of petrol and diesel-powered models, there's now the P400e - Range Rover's first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV).

There are six trim-levels to choose from - HSE, HSE Silver, HSE Dynamic, HSE Dynamic Black, along with HST and Autobiography Dynamic.

The P400e is the most efficient Range Rover Sport and combines an electric motor with an advanced four-cylinder petrol engine matched to a super-smooth eight-speed automatic transmission, producing an outstanding 398bhp with a stonking 640Nm of torque on tap.

Fuel economy is officially 88.3mpg but as with most hybrids that's pure fantasy. You'll need to spend a lot of time in town and be able to keep the battery charged if you want to get anywhere close to that. I achieved a more realistic 24.5mpg.

The petrol-electric Range Rover Sport is little different to drive from a standard diesel or petrol version. The most noticeable change is the lack of any engine noise when you press the engine starter button.

Slip the transmission into Drive and theSport PHEV pulls away using just the power from the electric motor. Then, within a few seconds, the four-cylinder petrol engine cuts in seamlessly and only a little less more quietly.

The system will function according to the driving conditions. Most of the time, the electric motor works with petrol, so running silent is not something that happens often unless you hit the EV mode button - on which you get an official 31 miles.

They work best gathering braking energy when not driving on motorways and dual carriageways. They harvest battery power more efficiently when gliding up to traffic lights, roundabouts and junctions, or in rural areas on the overrun going down hills and so on.

With the engine and electric motor working in tandem, the immediate availability of torque is most noticeable and welcome under strong acceleration. Other than that, the hybrid power doesn't really affect performance at all.

There's still the usual ‘waftability' as the air suspension smooths out the lumps and bumps in the road. It's a wonderful place to sit back, relax and let theSport take the strain as you and your passengers eat up the miles in sumptuous limousine style comfort. It's plush, luxurious and the fit and finish of everything on board is first-class.

The elegance of the interior has been elevated by the addition of Touch Pro Duo, the most advanced infotainment system yet created by Jaguar Land Rover. It combines two high-definition 10-inch touchscreens - one on top of the other - but working in perfect harmony. They control virtually all the functions you could ever want or need and information can even be swiped from one screen to the other.

Then, of course, there's Range Rover's full range of legendary off-road capability which remains entirely unaffected by the hybrid technology. In fact, Land Rover claims its latest hybrid powertrain takes that prowess even higher.

Land Rover's Terrain Response 2 technology has been retuned 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, giving greater control during low-speed off-road manoeuvres. Wading capability for the P400e is also uncompromised with a maximum depth of 850mm shared with the rest of the line-up.

Naturally, there's a suite of driver assistance features which have been restructured into different ‘packs' to be more intuitive for customers. Core features such as Lane Departure Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking, cruise control and speed limiter are all fitted as standard. The £520 Drive Pack fitted to my car adds Blind Spot Monitor, Adaptive Speed Limiter, Driver Condition Monitor and Traffic Sign Recognition.

Although the steering is a bit light, it's also extremely accurate and crisp, making it easy to drive this big machine both in town and on twisting B-roads. Its handling is extremely good and surprisingly agile for such a big car on the twistys. I pushed it hard using the paddleshift gears on some empty country roads and it performed brilliantly. And, on the open road at speed it's relaxed, hushed and incredibly planted.

FAST FACTS

Range Rover Sport P400e HSE Silver

Price:£75,580

Mechanical:398bhp, 1,997cc, 4cyl petrol-electric engine driving all four wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:137mph

0-62mph:6.3 seconds

Combined MPG:88.3

Insurance Group:50

C02 emissions:72g/km

Bik rating:18%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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