A true-blue Range Rover, that plugs into the wall.
It’s taken a while, but British luxury SUV specialist Range Rover have finally introduced their very-own plug-in hybrid model in the form of the Range Rover Sport PHEV. Wearing a ‘P400e’ badge on the back, this plug-in petrol-electric hybrid may change the game for Range Rover, but it mostly apes what its rivals have been doing for a while, albeit in an arguably better presentation.
Under the P400e’s bonnet lies a 2.0-litre (!) turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine, mated to an electric motor that’s sandwiched into the gearbox, which gets its power from a 13.1kWh lithium-ion battery pack shoved into the boot floor. Combined output is an impressive 297kW, with twist rated at an eye-watering 640Nm. Those numbers mean the Range Rover Sport PHEV can hit 100km/h from rest in under 7-seconds, impressive for something that we can only assume weighs as much as a small moon.
All that power hasn’t compromised usability, which is arguably what Range Rover was most focused on. With a full charge, the Sport PHEV can run for about 51km (give or take) without the petrol engine turning over at all, at speeds of up to 140km/h. And when we say it can run without the engine, we mean it can run that distance without the engine over any terrain, because the Range Rover Sport PHEV’s trick powertrain doesn’t compromise off-road ability at all.
The plug-in hybrid Range Rover Sport comes along as part of a 2018 model year update, which sees the inclusion of the marque’s ‘TouchDuo’ dual touchscreen infotainment system, along with new Matrix Pixel LED headlights with laser beams that adapt the light pattern being thrown ahead of the car as to ensure maximum visibility and minimal dazzling. There are also reprofiled bumpers on either end, along with a sleeker grille, in line with the visually-arresting Range Rover Velar.
The Range Rover Sport PHEV comes with two driving modes, with the default ‘Parallel Hybrid’ setting doing the usual blend of electric and petrol propulsion based on the situation, aided further by a system called ‘Predictive Energy Optimisation’ that identifies the best places to engage either engine to maximise efficiency using the satellite navigation. There’s also a ‘Save’ mode that allows you to, er, save the electric charge for use later, like if you’re on the motorway and expect to hit urban traffic later.
This green machine isn’t all about its powertrain, either. The Range Rover Sport PHEV is built with more sustainable materials too, utilising some 26kg of recycled plastics and 40kg of natural materials (that can be recycled at the end of the cars’ lifetime) for every car. And if you have passengers that aren’t impressed by fuel efficiency, you can wave your hand ahead of the rear-view mirror and trigger the ‘Gesture Sunblind,’ which opens and closes the panoramic roof blind with the swish of a hand.
Sitting in the middle of the range, the Range Rover Sport P400e PHEV starts at a whisker over £70,000 for the P400e HSE (or about $119k), with the top-flight P400e Autobiography Dynamic on-the-road for £85,000 (or $144k) and some change. This puts it almost level-pegging with the BMW X5 PHEV and the Volvo XC90 T8 TwinEngine PHEV, both of which have set the pace for large plug-in hybrid SUVs. It’ll be interesting to see how the nascent RRS PHEV stands up against its more established rivals.
Update: Jaguar-Land Rover Australia has released a statement to say that the Range Rover Sport P400e along with the rest of the 2018-updated Range Rover Sport lineup will be making Australian landfall come April next year, with prices to start at $95,100 for the entry-level SD4 S variant.