2015 Land Rover Range Rover Sport V8 Supercharged Update 3

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I spent a lot of time looking at the Range Rover Sport in action during this year’s Best Driver’s Car extravaganza. With 510 hp and the ability to hit 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, along with big sticky tires and excellent body control, it was the go-to camera rig for photographer William Walker while Chris Walton, Scott Evans, and I indulged in sideways silliness in the BDC show cars at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

After watching it on the move, coming and going, sometimes from a distance, sometimes up close and personal through driver’s side window of a Z06 Corvette, this much I now know: This Range Rover Sport doesn’t have many bad angles. The dash-to-axle is terrific, the front wheels pushed right to the front corners of the car; the body side swells muscularly over the 22-inch wheels; and that rakish roofline enhances the stance. Watch the Sport accelerate away from you in a gentle arc, and it looks like a Riva speedboat carving away, bow high, from George Clooney’s place on Lake Como. It’s a British luxury car thing: A Rolls-Royce Phantom does the same.

I never particularly liked the previous-generation Range Rover Sport. Its blocky, upright styling was a huge letdown after the promise of the Range Stormer concept that debuted at the 2004 Detroit show. Geoff Upex, then head of design at Land Rover, later admitted design of the production L320 Range Rover Sport had been pretty much done when the Range Stormer appeared, and the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the show car had caught everyone at Solihull by surprise: “We should have pushed [the design of the production Range Rover Sport] more, but we didn’t know we could.”

The fender flares, the tapering roofline, the strongly raked D-pillars, the ratio of glass to body side, the line from the base of the fender vent that carries through the front door: There’s a lot of Range Stormer in the 2015 Range Rover Sport.

The Supercharged Dynamic trim level—now, with the addition of the head-banging Sport SVR, the fourth-highest trim level in a six-model lineup—gets a gloss black finish on the grille, vents, and mirrors, which took a little getting used to (find out how the Range Rover Sport SVR finished in a comparison against a Porsche, BMW, and Mercedes right here). The fake skidplates on the front and rear fascia panels are also trimmed in a darker color, which makes the car look wider. One small niggle—and one fault the Sport shares with the big Range Rover: The D-pillars are finished in a shiny black plastic that quickly accumulates millions of fine scratches after a few trips through the carwash.

More on our long-term 2015 Range Rover Sport Supercharged:

Arrival Update 1: From Supercar to SUV Update 2: Road Warrior