(Pocket-lint) - We've already seen a new Range Rover this year and it's been closely followed by this, the Range Rover Sport, with a range of variations on the theme to choose from. For example, there's the full-fat Range Rover Sport First Edition P530, with its 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine. Alternatively, pick a mild hybrid petrol or diesel. On the other hand, a much more interesting way to go is in the direction of the extended range plug-in hybrids, in the shape of the P440e or P510e.
The Range Rover Sport Autobiography P510e is the car you see here, and it's slightly more powerful than the P440e, though both models feature an excellent 3-litre, straight six engine. It's a perfect alternative to the thirstier V8 and performance feels on a par, or perhaps even smoother than the bigger lump. Add in the usual Range Rover refinements, both on the outside and the inside, along with premium Autobiography trim-level finishing touches and you've got a fantastic bit of kit, albeit for around £154k. Prices start from £114,680 however.
The Range Rover Sport Autobiography P510e looks a treat in Varesine Blue, but it's the enormous 23-inch wheels that add an extra touch of flair to the exterior of the SUV. At the front it's those digital LED headlights that really help it stand out from the crowd, but overall the design lines are quite lean and reassuringly mean. There's definitely a brooding vibe going on with this car, especially in the darker colours.
If you’re keen to curtail your petrol costs the Range Rover Sport Autobiography P510e is an excellent bet in advance of a fully electric model come 2024. The whole package works to great effect, with that seamless switching from EV to straight-six power happening, almost without you noticing. All-wheel-steering, active roll control and adaptive air suspension delivers a ride that's graceful but actually pretty good through the corners too. Around town, despite the nigh-on 5-metre length of the Sport, the SUV feels agile and easy to manage.
On the off chance you get to go off-road there are even more treats in-store, thanks to the well-proven tech settings that can be fine-tuned to tackle any kind of terrain. If you're too busy to bother, the Range Rover Sport Autobiography P510e will just carry on regardless anyway, meaning you can be as involved with the car’s setup as you want to be. Either way, you'll arrive fully rested and relaxed, thanks to comfort and trim levels that are as good as anything else in this class.
Range Rover Sport Autobiography P510e
- EV efficiency
- Comfort and ride
- Lots of bulk
- Some wind noise
Design and spec
As you'd expect from such a sizeable SUV, it's easy to get in and out of thanks to chunky doors. However, if you've got the electronic air suspension hiked up following an off-road session it turns out to be further to the ground than you might be expecting.
The Range Rover designers have done an excellent job with the current range of colour schemes, both interior and exterior. All of the variants we saw seemed to strike the perfect balance of looking cool without overdoing the showy features. There are some trim flourishes on offer, but they're largely low-key rather than bling.
Climbing up into the Range Rover, the look and feel isn't revolutionary, but it is a fantastic place to sit and pick over the controls. Right in front of the well-appointed steering wheel there's a 13.7-inch digital dash that is nicely laid out and good on the eyes. There's also the Pivi Pro system, which lives in a central 13.1-inch touchscreen. It's well worth acquainting yourself with its inner workings and especially the suite of off-road settings that can be called upon to get you over any number of obstacles, by trimming the ride height and drive settings.
However, the bulk of owners will probably be more concerned about the everyday obvious stuff, such as Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Being a Range Rover, you can obviously spend as much as you like on the options, and the Range Rover Sport Autobiography P510e model we drove packed in plenty and then some.
The other highlight is obviously the space you get from a Range Rover and the Sport is no exception as it sits on the new MLA-Flex platform. This delivers lots of space for people in the front and the rear. There are innovative new seat coverings using a blend of 'ultrafabrics' and internal trimmings too, which help to elevate the comfort levels alongside the space considerations. Out back, there's an electrically operated split tailgate that offers easy access to a sizeable 818-litre luggage area.
The example you see here boasted a Raven Blue/Ebony interior colour combination, which is slightly less ostentatious and probably more durable than the white option seen in other Sport models. Anyone actually planning on getting muddy in their Sport is probably wise to stick with the darker shade.
Sublime collection of tech
Everyone knows just how good a Range Rover can be off-road and the Range Rover Sport Autobiography P510e is no exception. In order to assist you in your off-the-beaten-track excursions, however infrequent they may well be, there's a sublime collection of tech to help get the job done. Coordinating the settings is done using the central touchscreen and the selector buttons in the centre console.
At first it seems like there's a lot to take in, but once you've got into the swing of it, setting up the Range Rover to take on rough terrain of any type becomes easy enough. The real benefit when you're doing it is the way you can see how the suspension dynamically adapts via some great graphics on the screen. How much owners will actually use the system remains to be seen, but it's well worth hunting out some muddy lanes to put it through its paces, should you get the chance.
There's Cabin Air Purification Pro too, which aims to help you breathe easier while you can also give your ears a solid workout by cranking up the Meridian Signature Sound system. The seats, meanwhile, feature 20-way electronic adjustment with heating and ventilation as part of the package and you also get all of those other accoutrements like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon voice control and wireless phone charging.
The 3D surround camera turns out to be really useful when you're trying to get into those tight spaces, while a range of driver assist options are helpful if you're a little uneasy about the size of the Range Rover. You even get wade sensing if you're considering taking on a deep puddle or minor flood situation come wintertime. Meanwhile, software-over-the-air updates should help to keep things bang up to date further on down the line.
Driving, range and charging
The Range Rover Sport Autobiography P510e makes a lot of sense if you're the sort of driver that's going to be using your SUV around town, rather than out in the sticks. It still packs plenty of performance, with a 0 to 60mph time of just 5.2 seconds and a 150mph top speed, but the EV part of the package - there's a Hybrid driving mode too - means its able to cope with congestion zone charging obstacles with ease.
Despite its size, the Range Rover Sport Autobiography P510e has a WLTP range of up to 70 miles using battery power alone, thanks to a 38.2kWh battery and 141bhp electric motor combination. On top of that, it can call on geofencing technology that switches the car into full-on EV mode when it gets into an inner city area. You can toggle this option manually too if you prefer and, having tried it on a couple of occasions the system turns out to be pretty handy. Considering most Range Rover Sport Autobiography P510e owners are likely to be heading into cities quite frequently, this seems like a very sensible feature.
Driving on fully EV resources, the Range Rover Sport Autobiography P510e is, as you'd expect, wonderfully quiet. It's actually really good at getting around less than ideal city streets, something which is helped by the four-wheel steering that is subtle but undeniably useful for getting out of sticky situations.
Hit those bigger out of town roads though and you really start to appreciate just how good the 3-litre, straight six engine is too. It boasts plenty of power and, being mated to the 8-speed automatic transmission, the delivery is silky smooth. In fact, it's a little less erratic than the V8, which offers plenty of grunt, but the delivery doesn't feel quite as linear.
A little bit of wind noise creeps in as you wind up the chunky SUV to legal motorway limits, but aside from that it slips on down the road very nicely indeed. When you need to plug in and recharge there's CCS connectivity, which can get your Rangey back up to 80 percent on chargers up to 50kW in less than an hour. Considering how many owners will be doing the bulk of their runs locally, the up to 70-mile EV range of the Range Rover Sport Autobiography P510e starts making even more sense.
In advance of a fully electric Range Rover due to arrive in 2024, the Range Rover Sport Autobiography P510e is a hugely impressive plug-in hybrid stop-gap. It can cover up to 70 miles in EV-only mode, offers excellent performance by combining all-electric power with a beefy-but-smooth six cylinder engine and does it all while getting you there in comfort. Plump for the Autobiography model and trim levels are even more sumptuous, while there is a lot of tech on tap and plenty of off-road capability for when, or if, the going ever gets tough.