Frank S. Washington, Sat, 21 Jan 2012 02:20:32 PST
DETROIT - You know, I just spent six days test driving a new 2011 Range Rover Sport Supercharged and the most appropriate phrase that came to mind is never mind.
By that I mean never mind the 5-liter V8 engine that made 510 horsepower as well as the 461 foot-pounds of torque it made. Never mind the six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift capability that featured steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.
The direct-injection engine had an Eaton twin-vortex supercharger and dual intercoolers that were packaged within the engine's V for a low overall engine height. Peak torque was produced from 2,500-5,500 rpm, enabling my test vehicle to get from zero to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds. Still, never mind.
And never mind the new headlights featuring LED running lamps. Never mind that those headlights were adaptive and they had automatic high beams. And never mind the surround camera system and the rear view camera lens that somehow didn't get iced over in the freezing weather.
The cockpit had the feel of a book-filled study or a well appointed den. Leather was everywhere, wood was abundant and there was a tactile richness and stitching that was a hallmark of quality. And this model year, ambient lighting provided by interior LEDs joined the mix. Still, it didn't matter.
The new 480 watt, 13-speaker plus woofer audio system was thunderous. It featured HD radio as well as standard satellite radio. But never mind that either; it really did not matter.
What did matter were the 10-inches of snow that fell here roughly 48 hours after I began my test drive of the 2011 Range Rover Sport Supercharged. I've got a snow blower so getting in and out of my drive way was not an issue. But I knew the side streets would be challenging; we had been through this no more than two weeks ago.
But I forgot because of the Range Rover's legendary street rep as the ultimate luxury sport utility that it is one of the foremost all terrain utility vehicles in the world and I do mean the entire globe.
A lousy terrain, be it gravel, rocks, big rocks, mud, no terrain as in roads of any type, ruts, snow, water, whatever, is what Range Rovers, the luxury brand of Land Rover, are engineered to handle.
From pressure die-cast oil pans, to waterproofed belt drives, alternators, air condition compressors, power steering pumps and starter motors my Range Rover Sport was built to handle the tough stuff. So 10-inches of snow were nothing to get overly anxious about.
My supercharged Range Rover had an Adaptive Dynamics System that adjusted my test vehicle's body and ride control in response to my driving style and terrain conditions. What that meant was that the bumps lumps and ruts usually associated with heavily slush and snow filled side streets just didn't come into play.
Although I drove at moderate speeds, my test vehicle remained relatively stable on the uneven streets. Still, its larger brakes with high performance 6-piston calipers really didn't come into play. I never gained enough speed where braking became an issue on slippery streets.
Heck, my Range Rover Sport was so stable on slushy streets I didn't bother to set the terrain control. It optimizes the vehicle set up for any on-road or off-road driving situations. There were five settings and Grass/Gravel/Snow was one of them.
The bottom line is that in some fairly nasty conditions my Range Rover Sport Supercharge handled itself, as well as the conditions, with aplomb and class and most important no problems. My test vehicle had a sticker of $77,995.