The Range Rover Sport is now available as a hybrid

Plush and economical
by Rowan Horncastle | Oct 6, 2017

Ladies and gents, the plug-in electric revolution has finally hit planet Range Rover with this, the new Range Rover Sport PHEV.

It’s Jaguar Land Rover’s first plug-in hybrid and proof that it’s taking the whole ‘we’ll make only electric or hybrid cars from 2020’ thing quite seriously.

Introduced with the new 2018 model year updates across the range (a raft of exterior detail tweaks, technology upgrades and interior plushness trickled upstream from the Velar), the fact that you can now plug the posh performance-orientated off-roader into a wall socket to power the thing is big news.

Christened the P400e, the new PHEV model sees the traditional 300hp four-cylinder Ingenium gasoline engine paired with an 85kW electric motor (housed on the transmission) powered by a 13.1kWh lithium-ion battery stored under the trunk floor.

To save you having to reach for your iPhone’s calculator, that’s a combined power output of 404hp and 640Nm of torque fed to all four wheels permanently and good enough to send the plush lump from 0-97kph in 6.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 220kph. But, its magic trick is that it can drive on nothing but electricity for 50km—a talent no other Range Rover has possessed before.

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As plug-in hybrids can cheat the emissions tests (and recoup energy during braking) the P400e claims to deliver CO2 emissions of 64g/km and fuel economy of up to 36km/L on the NEDC combined cycle, making it the most fuel-efficient Land Rover ever. However, when we tested the full-fat Range Rover hybrid, we did see an increase in real-world economy and saw V8 performance for V6 emissions. And that’s a real-world win right there.

The PHEV Rangey has the option of two driving modes: Parallel Hybrid mode (the default driving mode) and EV (Electric Vehicle) mode. When driving in Parallel Hybrid, the RRS PHEV juggles the two power sources to offer the adequate amount of power for the scenario but favoring the clean stuff when it can.

But, on long drives, you can hit ‘SAVE’ button to engage the EV-only range for a specific part of the journey, for example, when entering traffic in a city. There’s even a clever brain in the computer called ‘Predictive Energy Optimization’ that uses the vehicle’s Navigation system to maximize fuel efficiency. 

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In EV mode, the P400e can do those zero-emission 50km up to a top speed of 137kph. How far you can actually go on electricity alone we’ll have to test for ourselves in the real world, rather than a simulation.

To charge the battery, you plug the car in via a socket behind a flap hidden in the Land Rover badge on the front grille. If you’ve got a super duper 32-amp wall box, you can juice up the RRS PHEV in 2 hours 45 minutes. If you have to use a normal 10-amp plug, you’re looking at 7 hours 30 minutes for a full charge. 

Visually, there’s been a light facelift to make sure the new Sport doesn’t look out of place next to the tapered and sharp Velar. Up front, there’s more pronounced LED headlights, a redesigned grille and mouthier front bumper.

Inside, the cabin now features the new Touch Pro Duo with the same two high-definition 10-inch touchscreens from the new Disco and Velar while more sustainable materials (26kg of recycled plastics and 40kg of natural materials such as wood veneers and seat leathers) are used in each car. Then there’s tech like the gesture sunblind that opens and closes when you move your hand around, plus Advanced Tow Assist, that makes pulling/reversing trailers a lot easier. 

Feeling a bit cold with all this plug-in RR talk? Fear not. Range Rover has also updated the hilarious Range Rover Sport SVR, giving it more power (up to 575hp) and carbon fiber to see 97kph off in 4.3 seconds.

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We’ll see both cars at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show

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NOTE: This article first appeared on Minor edits have been made. 

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PHOTO: Land Rover
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