Driven | Range Rover Sport SVR Carbon Edition

The last time we were piloting a Range Rover Sport SVR it was the regular non-refreshed model but now they have another offering that claims the range-topping spot with the new SVR Carbon Edition.

So what happens when you add a conspicuous amount of exposed carbon fibre to the already-in-your-face Range Rover Sport SVR? Well, rather obviously, you get a very fast and racy SUV, but is the additional R200k for the Carbon Edition necessary? That will be left up to you but if we were shopping in this category, and if you are, then R200k should not be too much to worry about, it would certainly be the more menacing Carbon Edition.

The Carbon Edition sees the normal SVR receive the SVR Carbon Fibre Exterior Pack with exposed Carbon Fibre Bonnet, some stylish 22″ 5 split-spoke wheels in gloss black, SVR carbon engine cover, extended carbon fibre interior trim finisher and the SVR carbon edition illuminated treadplates.

Yes, it’s a Range Rover which means the interior is superb and with the additional carbon trim finishing, this puts it right up there for one of the best interiors in the game. The Performance seats are finished in Windsor leather and are slightly smaller so not only do they save weight, they actually give you more legroom while keeping you properly secured when the loud pedal is mashed to the floor. The infotainment system is a little complicated and certainly takes some getting used to but at the same time, it is beautifully finished.

Nothing has changed under the carbon hood which means the incredible 5.0-litre supercharged V8 remains and delivers a potent 567 hp (423 kW) and 700 Nm (516 lb-ft) of torque. That is enough to hurtle the beast to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds and run to a top speed of 283 km/h. In today’s Super SUV battle, this is not going to worry the likes of the BMW X5 M Competition but if you are looking for character, then this wins that battle over and over again. The phenomenal V8 is paired exclusively with an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive, this setup readily and easily blasts past legal speed limits.

That engine delivers one of the most immense soundtracks and although it sounds a little more feral in the F-Pace SVR the bellow it produces under full-throttle is hair-raisingly primal. The best part is that if you like the sound in normal mode, there is a mode we have dubbed “my neighbours hate me” otherwise known as Dynamic mode. The sound gets even more aggressive, with a barrage of bangs and pops on the overrun that borders on utterly unnecessary. It both is and most definitely isn’t utterly unnecessary, of course, which is the beauty of it.

The horizon comes up on you fairly quickly as mentioned so you must not forget you are piloting a seriously large SUV and you must adapt and get on the brakes sooner than later. Thanks to its slick air suspension, it hunkers down alarmingly low in Dynamic mode and handles impressively well for something so big, tall and heavy, but a slow-in, brutally aggressive-out approach is rather rewarding with the back end even stepping out marginally to give you a little wake-up call.

This car has the potential to get you into a lot of trouble as you are not aware of your speed on the highways thanks to its size and sheer comfort level. If you have it in Dynamic mode (who wouldn’t), then the V8 does give you a gentle reminder that you are picking up speed but if the valves happened to be closed, you will be very surprised when you look down at the crisp digital speedometer.

The Carbon Edition has not been well-received by everyone and that is because adding so much carbon fibre costs a whole load of extra money with no improvement in performance. There is little to no extra performance and the weight savings are negligible on something this big anyway (everything the carbon fibre replaces is either aluminium or plastic), so the sole purpose is to simply spend more money making something already quite in your face into something completely in-your-face.

Being petrolheads, we value the look and styling of the car as much as the drive and feel and the extra presence from the Carbon Edition tickles the right spot for the right reasons. Every time we popped it in to park and hopped out, we had a second or third look at it while walking away. That did not happen with the ‘regular’ offering we drove a few years back.

Pricing starts from R2,831,000 but same fancy paint options and something like the Signature Entertainment Pack and you are closing in on the R3 million mark with ease.

Sure it is not for everyone and the Carbon Edition is just an aesthetic upgrade but a product like this will more than likely be a success in South Africa as we know there are enough people out there with this sort of buying power and with the desire to have the top of the range.

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