Range Rover decided they want a piece of Pikes Peak action this year, but instead of coming up with a race car for the world’s most challenging hill climb event, they sent out a stock 2014 Range Rover Sport. The new Sport set a record for production SUVs by completing the 12.42-mile asphalt course in 12 minutes 35.61 seconds with an average speed of 59.17 mph (95.23 kph).
That is a testimony to the Sport’s superb on-road driving dynamics. The Supercharged version really does drive like a fine sports car. The Pikes Peak course these days is a snaking road that clings to the edge of the mountain, covered in fine tarmac. What you need here is a well-sorted chassis to deal with the bends and a powerful engine to get you up the hill. The Range Rover Sport has got them both.
The Pikes Peak course consists of 156 corners as it ascends beyond the treeline from 9,390 feet (2,860m) above sea level to 14,110 feet (4,300m). That kind of altitude affects the performance of an internal combustion engine drastically, which is why the last legs are the hardest. But the 510HP 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine in the Sport was more than enough to cope with the situation.
The new RR Sport benefits not only from a more advanced chassis, but also a modern structure that is whopping 800lbs lighter than the previous model. Despite all the fact that this car is designed to eat asphalt like it’s nobody’s business, the Sport is also surprisingly capable off the road. It does come, after all, with the firm’s fantastic All Terrain off-road system.