A decade ago, you would not consider an SUV if you were in the market for a fast commute.
I was fortunate enough to spend a few days behind the wheel of this mad Range Rover Sport, and I can now confidently say that the SVR Carbon Edition is the best all-rounder, high-performance SUV on the market.
The Carbon Edition
The SVR Carbon Edition is based on the fastest Range Rover – the Sport – and has enhanced styling cues, higher exclusivity, and more carbon fibre bits.
Engineered using Land Rover’s all-aluminium monocoque body shell technology, the Range Rover Sport SVR has a strong, robust structure – complemented by a lightweight architecture leading to greater performance and a lower centre of gravity than the SUV it is based on.
In this Range Rover, a 5.0-litre, supercharged, V8 engine with 423kW and 700Nm is capable of slingshotting the 3-tonne beast to 100km/h in 4.5 seconds.
A jab of the accelerator pedal results in a throaty bark from the exhausts and gravel flying out from behind the car like buckshot from a shotgun.
It is fast even without Sport/Track mode activated, which brings Active Dynamics and its continuously variable suspension to the fore.
Selecting these modes results in a helmet and exhaust-tip icon popping up to tell you that you’ve poked the bear.
The red digital dials and ambient lighting glare back at you like angry eyes, too, a track mode sub-menu appears in the centre console, and the active exhaust flaps open up for an even mightier roar that crackle and pop as you play with the throttle.
In every mode, objects in the rearview mirror disappear out of sight quickly.
Where the rest of the Range Rover vehicles aims to conquer the path less traveled, the SVR Carbon will take its strengths to the track.
A comfy spaceship
This Range Rover Sport is also packed to the hilt with technology and features.
Even without the off-roading pedigree of its siblings, it can rival the best from Mercedes-Benz in its cabin.
The seats are bespoke SVR Performance buckets, soft and adjustable as ever, and behind the myriad of screens, dials, and buttons that control everything in the car is a 19-speaker Meridian sound system.
This is an excellent fallback if you ever tire of listening to the drum solo-esque symphony that is the exhaust note.
In my opinion, due to the above, this is a car for the open road – not for daily driving nor for off-roading.
For the off-road enthusiasts, there are other models from Land Rover to suit their needs.
It’s still a Range Rover
Despite its city-slicker personality and it begging to be driven on open highways, the SVR Carbon Edition still has an 850mm water wading depth.
Its approach and departure angles have been reduced, due to its aerodynamic bumpers and lower ride height, and the break-over angle remains the same as the other Range Rover Sport models.
It is therefore not a Range Rover for overlanding or 4×4 outings, but it can get itself out of a sticky situation if needed.
A full suite of locking differentials and low-range gears mated to the Terrain Response system also mean it can hold its own in a muddy field.
The Ranger Rover Sport SVR Carbon Edition has a laser focus on its target market, which rightfully differs from the “rugged” group of Discovery and Defender owners.
It is for those who want an extremely-powerful and first-class-luxury SUV experience.
It is arguably the most accomplished off-roader out of the bunch, too, making it the best all-rounder.
In combination with the SVR’s exclusivity, this means the SVR Carbon Edition might be the car that its buyers hang onto for the longest.