Not to be outdone by a bunch of soulless reality housewives, I have dipped my toe in the pool of narcissism as well. Strangely, it was not with a Mercedes Benz, Audi or even a BMW. I was stricken by vanity’s kiss in a 2011 Range Rover Sport.
Oh the shame, oh the humility.
On most days, I would be perfectly happy to suck down a greasy double bacon cheese burger with extra chili before driving a test car – but not in the Rover. I became a pinky lifting, cucumber munching dilettante of the cultured world. I nearly drank tea (whimper) instead of coffee! My late night cigar and beer was nearly substituted by a pipe and sherry.
Oh the indignity.
Here’s the main reason why it’s so bleedin’ good. The 2011 Range Rover Sport has a five-liter engine that puts out 510 horsepower. That’s FIVE HUNDRED AND TEN HORSEPOWER! A six-speed automatic transmission with CommandShift® (Rover talk for flappy paddles shared with Jaguar). This power is fed through an electronically controlled 4WD system. It acts like a Subaru-sourced all wheel drive system for ballistic street maneuvers. When you call on the rotation knob, south of the gear lever, to change the terrain requirements, snow, mud and rock are easily tackled.
The air suspension lifts and lowers the 2011 Range Rover Sport Supercharged as needed.
A friend of mine stated that he felt like he was inside of a Sherman tank when he drove one. I nearly agree; however, I felt like I was in a British Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle. Simply put, I was in a swift British tank (it’s an infantry/tank support vehicle). It may seem that I stretch the point, but get this: the 2011 Range Rover Sport Supercharged weighs nearly three tons! So, the “tank” comparison is rather fitting.
What blows my mind is the sheer velocity. Only vehicles like the BMW X5 M and Porsche Cayenne can compete. Unlike those toys, the Range Rover can dance nearly as skillfully while being able to do some serious off-road exploring. Oh, and this rolling cannonball can tow just over 7,700 lbs.
Off the line, the 2011 Range Rover Sport Supercharged pulls hard and shifts smoothly. I’m not a fan of flappy paddle shifters, but these units work well. I do wish they were larger and made from some kind of metal – instead of plastic. The big Rover sticks to asphalt like oatmeal to a spoon. Just when you think a corner will pry it loose, it continues to cling. Add too much cowbell and it will under-steer. Drive with a hint of restraint and the 2011 Range Rover Sport Supercharged can overtake many sport sedans. Unfortunately, there is very little in the steering. It will go where pointed – but you’ll struggle to ascertain what the front wheels are doing.
Do you think this Rover rides like a luxury vehicle? You bet your ascot it does. Even with its massive wheels and thin rubber, it rivals many of Germany’s best for comfort.
Do you think this Rover works well in snow? Give that man a silver spoon! Despite mediocre, all weather tires – the traction system in the 2011 Range Rover Sport Supercharged is flawless. I only slid once and it was far less than the ’09 Ford Explorer I was behind.
In many ways, the 2011 Range Rover Sport (which is based on the Land Rover LR4 platform – not the big Rover) reminds me of a Subaru WRX. No kidding! Even the 0 to 60 mph times of 5.9 seconds is mighty close to WRX territory. Granted, if you want to score with someone over 40, the Range Rover works better than the jailbait Subaru WRX.
The interior is a cornucopia of tastefully crafted leather, wood and metal. It certainly looks appropriate for the as-tested $80,000 the 2011 Range Rover Sport Supercharged commands. There were two issues that “Sir” Roman Mica (Duke of TFLCar.com) and I immediately noticed. The British are shorter than us. They must be for the leg and headroom in such a massive vehicle was dwarfed by the 2011 Mini Cooper Countryman – no kidding.
Stereo controls and general workings within the infotainment system were difficult to master for both of us.
The rest of the interior, including the slick little refrigerator in the elbow rest, is extremely comfortable. I actually opted to wear a button up shirt instead of one of my obnoxious tee shirts. This may seem trivial, but I pride myself on my irreverent wardrobe. It has to do with the interior trappings that are good enough for royalty.
Life, it seems, is not without its ironies – even when piloting something over-the-top as the 2011 Range Rover Sport Supercharged. I was between paychecks and had to stretch my gas money while I was testing the Rover. Sadly, this SUV sucks down gas faster than Charlie Sheen can ruin his career. Seriously, this beast averaged just under 13 mpg – AND – that was with a LOT of highway driving.
As nice as this machine is to drive, it is only for the rich to enjoy.
Never before have I driven something that forces me to love it and hate it like the 2011 Range Rover Sport Supercharged. It performs beautifully while wasting so much. It is a fantasy wrapped in British foil. It pains me to say it; but I do indeed love it.
So, for those real housewives and househusbands of Aspen, Beverly Hills, Long Island and so-on, you will definitely dig the 2011 Range Rover Sport Supercharged. Just remember, you may need to exploit the wealth you’ve been “saddled” with just to fill up the tank.
Here’s TFLCar crew playing with an LR4! – – – among other vehicles
Automotive media, racing, vehicle evaluation, wrecking yards, and car sales are just a part of Nathan Adlen’s vehicular past. He writes out of high octane passion! To read more reviews by Nathan Adlen or just to enjoy more of excellent writing please visit him on at his examiner.com page HERE.