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2012 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Introduction

The Range Rover Sport blends on-road performance dynamics with off-road capability, boasting a powerful V8 engine and an agile chassis. The Range Rover Sport seats five and is smaller than the flagship Range Rover but larger than the Range Rover Evoque.

The 2012 Range Rover Sport is distinguished by some minor exterior styling changes. Among them: minor grille and headlight trim changes, a subtle change to the badges, body-colored door handles replace black handles. Range Rover Sport was launched as a 2006 model and received a major facelift for 2010.

The 2012 model year brings upgraded technology. The 2012 Range Rover Sport gets a new electrical system, updated infotainment functions and other amenities. 2012 Range Rover Sport models comes standard with an upgraded 380-watt harman/kardon audio system with 14 speakers; an optional system delivers 825 watts through 17 speakers. The hard-drive navigation system that comes standard on all 2012 Range Rover Sport models features updated graphics for more user-friendly operation. And a new Say What You See voice activation feature for onboard and connected devices on 2012 models helps the user learn applicable voice commands by displaying a step-by-step format on the bigger, 7-inch touch-screen.

Compared with the big Range Rover, the Range Rover Sport is seven inches shorter overall, on a wheelbase that's five inches shorter. It's a little narrower as well and the roof is lower. Priced about $20,000 less, the Sport is less luxurious than the big one and slightly less roomy. It's also a bit sportier.

Range Rover Sport and Land Rover LR4 share platforms, drive systems, suspension, and powertrain. The Sport boasts more standard equipment, more upscale styling, and generally a more luxurious approach to the same mission: go anywhere, do anything, in any weather. The Sport rides on a 108-inch wheelbase, five inches shorter than that of the LR4.

The Range Rover Sport is powered by a 5.0-liter V8 made by Jaguar, a 32-valve engine that makes 375 horsepower and 375 foot-pounds of torque. We found it to be plenty during our test drive.

The Range Rover Sport Supercharged model features a supercharged version of the same engine that uses a twin vortex supercharger with dual intercoolers to deliver 510 horsepower and 461 foot-pounds of torque. That's a lot of power by anyone's dyno and out on the road it's magic, easily and instantly propelling you at any rate you wish.

All Range Rover Sports use a smooth and quick-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission, with Normal, Sport and Manual modes. Standard is full-time four-wheel drive with a two-speed transfer case that can be shifted on the fly. The low range will drive the vehicle through unimaginably rugged offroad conditions, employing the magical Terrain Response system to maintain optimum traction.

The Range Rover Sport competes in the crowded midsize luxury sport utility vehicle segment with the Acura MDX, Lexus RX, Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Audi Q7, BMW X5, Volvo XC90, Infiniti FX, Porsche Cayenne, Volkswagen Toureg, and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Its starting price, however, is the highest of this group, and arguably only the Audi, BMW, Infiniti, Porsche, and VW are priced comparably.

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