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Given the ever rising price of fuel and the current economic climate, one would expect the “super-SUV” to be extinct. If you think about it logically what’s the point of having a tall, heavy, utilitarian vehicle go a million miles an hour? But it seems there’s demand for these sorts of things as any upper-middle class suburban drive way will show. Most of these hail from Germany but the British are about to take on the Panzer tanks with one of their own challengers.

Here it is everybody – the new Range Rover Sport SVR. This is the first car to go through Jaguar Land Rover’s newly established Special Operations finishing school. Not only is this Land Rover’s fastest ever car but it also catapults it’s way to the elite of super-SUVs.

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At first glance the SVR doesn’t look especially different from any other Range Rover Sport. It could very well be a TDV6. But wait, because upon closer inspection you’ll notice that it sports a more aggressive front bumper, flared wheel arches (which I love), a unique side vent design, a racier rear bumper complete with a diffuser and quad exhausts, as well as a larger spoiler. There are also new 21-inch wheels which hide beefed up Brembo brakes. It’s the classic Range Rover shape with a bit of Lululemon thrown on.

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Inside there are beautiful sports seats which look like they’ve been lifted from the Jaguar F-Type sports car. You get a choice of aluminium or carbon fibre trim. As strange as it is seeing “sports seats” in a Range Rover this SVR model is all about having a sporting edge. And it shows with the numbers.

The numbers are as follows: 542bhp from a 5.0-litre supercharged V8. Torque peaks at 680NM. That translates to a sports car rivalling 0-100 km/h time of 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 260 km/h. Which is 10 km/h than a similarly powerful Mercedes ML63 AMG.

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Land Rover claim despite the increased power and performance, fuel economy and CO2 emissions remain the same as the “standard” 500bhp supercharged Sport. Which is a bit optimistic if you ask me. It’d be a good Tui billboard. Yeah right.

Okay, take the quad exhaust as an example. Nothing with quad exhausts will ever save the planet. These particular exhausts have an electronically controlled valve which makes them even louder! At low revs only two of the exhausts are open. But over 3000rpm all four come to life. The engineers have even tuned it to crackle on the overrun. And get this – the exhausts still work under 850mm of water. Get in!

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It’s not just a fast car in a straight line too. As unlikely as it sounds, Land Rover have tested this extensively at the hallowed Nurburgring track. As a result the SVR has added weight to the steering, retuned the ESC system, Torque Vectoring by Braking, and a Dynamic Rear Differential which can send more torque to the rear wheels. Now doesn’t that sound like a lot of fun?! The chassis, suspension, and dampers have also been strengthened using lighter but stiffer components.

The SVR wades in to a very competitive segment of super-SUVs such as the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, Mercedes Benz ML63 AMG, BMW X5 M, Audi Q7 V12 TDI, and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT-8. I have high hopes for this Sport SVR as the engineering and development behind it sound fantastic. Can’t wait to see how it fares on and off the road.

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