2018 Range Rover PHEV & RR Sport

We hit silly speeds in a V8, and mud-plug in an EV on the UK launch of the latest legends

By Shahzad Sheikh

Click below now to watch my 2018 Range Rover PHEV & Range Rover Sport First Drive Reviews

Earlier this year I went to the UK for the international launch of the latest 2018 updates to the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport model lineups. To showcase these changes, the hero cars chosen for the drive event were about as diverse Shepherd’s Pie and Chicken Tikka Masala!

2018 Range Rover PHEV & Range Rover Sport First Drive

On the one hand you had a big phat comfy limousine that can conquer all-terrain supremely and gently, whilst replanting trees, rocking Bambi to sleep and sprouting beautiful butterflies from its exhaust pipes.

2018 Range Rover PHEV & Range Rover Sport First Drive

Yeah okay, I made those last three up, but the car in question, the Big Daddy Range Rover PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) emits only 64g/km – way less than a quarter of the emissions of a V8 Range Rover and sips fuel at a rate of just 2.8L/100km, all of which is almost as unbelievable as the stuff I made up earlier!

2018 Range Rover PHEV & Range Rover Sport First Drive

On the other hand there was the Range Rover Sport SVR with power upped by 25bhp to 575bhp, and over 515lb ft of torque giving it spectacular 0-100kph time of 4.5 seconds – it’s now properly worthy of the ‘Sport’ tag, whilst ripping through the air sounding for all the world like a Spitfire on a mission to rain down hurt on upstart German rivals.

2018 Range Rover PHEV & Range Rover Sport First Drive

Common to both were a host of model year updates that follow through directly into your regular Range Rovers and Range Rover Sports on sale now – and mainly revolving around a futuristic high-tecchy interior lifted wholesale from the new Range Rover Velar.

2018 Range Rover PHEV & Range Rover Sport First Drive

That means a load of interior buttons have been washed away to make space for two large black screens that take over most functionality, look cool and need to be a little more smudge-resistant (keep a lens cloth handy at all times). We reviewed the new interfaces in our video on the Velar, which you can see below.

On the outside the Sport SVR is adorned with swathes of matte black carbon and has a monster-of-mayhem sound track accompanying it everywhere – or did I already mention that?

2018 Range Rover PHEV & Range Rover Sport First Drive

The Range Rover is identifiable by the four big stripes on the front door panel now instead of the previous three – I guess it got promoted to Captain from Sergeant. And there is a precedent for Range Rover actually following a Militaristic identifier; can you tell me what that was? Leave your answer in the comments below – just for our respect and extra brownie points.

Range Rover PHEV 18MY Global Media Drive

With a combined total of 400bhp in the Phat PHEV, there are no worries about the main motor being a four-cylinder motor (it kicks out 300bhp alone) as the car feels pretty effortless to drive, never struggling. And the EV power also helps with instant and constant torque to give it more get up and go, as well as surprisingly steady dirt-tracking momentum.

2018 Range Rover PHEV & Range Rover Sport First Drive

The LWB is hilarious – you can recline back fully, get one of a selection of exotic massages (oi, I didn’t mean that!) break out the chilled… er… Mango lassi and luxuriate in the opulence of the traditional top-dog off-roader. I still reckon the Rangie has nothing to fear from the Bentayga or even that Cullinnan.

2018 Range Rover PHEV & Range Rover Sport First Drive

Meanwhile the Sport SVR is nutter-mental loud and fast. It’s sharp-suited and agile too, with a fairly decent ride, and awesome road-presence as well as maintaining a portfolio of off-roading competencies. Of the two, this the one I most wanted to bring back to Dubai and I still want to review it on local roads soon.

2018 Range Rover PHEV & Range Rover Sport First Drive

The PHEV is the one I want to drive into Central London right under the noses of the environmentalists because as gangster and in-yer-face as it is, it’s got a piously clean conscience. We probably won’t see this very clever hybrid here till later next year or early 2020, but this technology works brilliantly and you won’t feel short-changed by it, that’s for sure.

2018 Range Rover PHEV & Range Rover Sport First Drive

Roll on the future, meanwhile fire up the SVR and see if can beat that top speed I got in the video above.

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