As the lifecycle of SUVs goes, the Carbon Edition Range Rover Sport SVR was something of a pleasant surprise – if you’re into carbon fibre of course. You can blame this Carbon Edition entirely on the unmitigated success of aftermarket aesthetic enhancement specialist companies. I’d guess that someone at Range Rover was noticing too many cars being driven straight from showroom floors to the work bays of said fitment companies for mega car transformations most of which were aesthetic updates. Imagine designers faces when an assumed aggressive and sporty design is transformed into something much more striking from Lumma Design or something.
The Carbon Edition then, is a Range Rover Sport SVR with a lavish lick of carbon fibre aesthetic additions and it really is striking. Sporting an unmissable vented bonnet lid in exposed, tailored carbon fibre this essentially turns the Range Rover Sport into a two-tone design with a black top carried from the bonnet through to the gloss black roof panels and tinted panoramic glass sunroof. The real highlights are the detailed carbon fibre elements of the reprofiled grille elements, the side air vents, the mirror caps and the rear tailgate lip. Even the engine cover has been finished in carbon fibre and it looks all sorts of serious. Whether you’re into the carbon fibre movement or not, Range Rover has done this in spectacular fashion.
The interior is simply sublime. I don’t know many premium SUVs that woo and impress as this Carbon Edition does. There’s such an attention to detail at almost every corner of the cabin that you won’t soon forget you’re seated in an almost R3-Million Super SUV. It feels expensive in here. It’s the small things that make the difference. The illuminated sills are a neat touch with SVR Carbon lettering backlit by a white LED strip. The door garnish, the centre console, air vent surrounds and even at the base of the steering you’ll find swathes of carbon fibre beautifully worked in. It all matches the silver and black cabin and the Performance seats. These latter items still finished in Windsor leather are smaller and 30kgs lighter, giving you more legroom all round and keeping you securely seated when the going gets loud.
The user-experience within the cabin is a touch complicated from the dual screen layout to the driver's display and multi-function steering controls, the whole operating system takes some getting used. It's beautifully done but complex and compared to others in the segment, I wouldn't rate this one as the best in terms of overall usability.
Rear seat passengers too benefit from climate control, ample leg and headroom and the same luxurious appointment detail as the front passengers. Rear seats slide fore/aft and feature heating too so it plays luxury for the family or business person very well. Of course, it’s not a big body Range Rover where rear seat passengers sit lower in the cabin so if you’re considering this as something in which you don’t do much driving yourself, there are other options.
The rear reveals a large 650-litre load space with electronic switches for the tow hitch and to drop the rear seats should need that 784-litres extended to 1 761-litres. This is one of the larger SUVs luggage spaces in the segment beaten only by the Volkswagen Touareg.
We know this engine well. It’s the same unit within the Jaguar F-Pace SVR and the F-Type SVR that we’ve been privileged to pilot. If you were wondering whether JLR had tweaked it for this special edition application, you’ll be disappointed. But no matter it is still something to be venerated such is its immense charm and character. It is the very legend of V8 ICE powerplants. In normal or sport modes, 423kW of power is mostly sent rearwards which makes for an entertaining and playful barge and the ZF box needs no introduction. It is a slick-shifting unit for which I have no criticism. The sound requires further veneration. What a glorious burble at idle that turns into a ridiculously mighty tune as you climb through the revs. SVR has truly taken the sound competition honours from AMG here.
The combination of this sound, the supercharged mill, the air suspension and the 8-speed transmission render this SUV as one of the most versatile, capable and exciting. Don’t forget the Range Rover name must bear some off-road excellence in addition to luxury ride quality and technology. Of this, I can truly attest. Ride quality even on 22-inch wheels is superb for the everyday commute and long-haul roadtrip. Cabin damping and NVH levels are of the highest standard. If you are going to employ the plethora of All Terrain technology you’d do best to fit more worthy tyres. That aside, the Range Rover boasts a wading depth of 850mm, approach and departure angles of 29.2 and 28 degrees respectively and with the suspension raised to the top, a ground clearance of 274mm.
There’s much to the Range Rover Sport SVR – and now made more unique with this Carbon Edition treatment. There’s also much to that price tag now and it is into the territory of other toys such as the BMW X5M, Mercedes-AMG GLE63S and Porsche Cayenne Turbo or Turbo S E-Hybrid.
If you want a faster car, around a track or otherwise, then some of these are certainly options. But if you want a standout car with a level of uniqueness that won’t require any aftermarket fiddling, then this Range Rover Sport Carbon Edition makes a strong case for sure.
The Range Rover Sport SVR Carbon Edition is just an aesthetic upgrade but as our market’s buying behaviour has taught us over the years, this is the most important part of the deal when buying premium products. The carbon upgrades have been done in a tasteful manner using beautifully hewn carbon fibre panels both inside and out.
On the whole, minding its near 5-metre length it plays the role of everyday luxury cruiser and long-haul luggage and VIP-holder with equal competence.
A really exciting SVR Rangey just got a touch better. If you’re into that sort of thing. We certainly are, which is why it stands so high on our scorecard.