The people at SVO have made the SVR nothing less than the most powerful Land Rover in the company’s history. The car deploys 542bhp from its supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine and adopts a raft of mechanical and dynamic changes to accompany the extra horsepower. This is still a vast SUV, but given the kind of demand that’s available globally for luxury and performance 4x4s, the question, then, is no longer “why would you make a car of this size, with this power?”. Given that there are so many people with the income and inclination to buy one, the question is “why wouldn’t you make one?”
What's it like?
For all of the gawdy exterior details - the black 22in alloys, bright orange paint and lashings of carbonfibre - and performance-orientated underpinnings, the SVR is actually a hugely comfortable and refined beast to drive. Even with the firmer suspension, it rides in the manner you expect a Range Rover should, ironing out ruts and bumps in the road. You sit high up in the firm, but largely supportive, sports seats, with a commanding view of the road and no shortage of interior space. The cabin is plush and luxurious, and every bit as high end as you would expect from a car costing almost £100,000. It’s all very calm, very relaxing and very Range Rover.
Then there’s the soundtrack, which dominates the SVR’s driving experience. It starts off as a deep, bassy growl before developing into an unhinged, savage roar as the tachometer needle approaches the 6500rpm redline. It’s intoxicating, antisocial and thoroughly brilliant, and is only made better by the fact that when you lift off, the excess fuel exploding in the exhaust system makes for an overrun that sounds like a dozen muskets being fired in quick succession. It’s excellent stuff. As impressive is the way in which the SVR can be hustled down a particularly challenging stretch of country road. It’s never going to be as nimble or adjustable as a hot hatchback, but considering its size, it stops, corners and grips tenaciously. Body roll is well contained, and the steering, while not exactly bristling with feel, is healthily weighted and reasonably quick in its gearing. And while you may not be able to maintain quite the same levels of speed through the bends as you would in a smaller, lower sports car, you always have that atomic bomb of an engine to rely on when you exit.