BEAUTIFULLY crafted and with astonishing performance for what is a big and bulky car, the Range Rover Sport HST is a triumph of design and engineering.

The introduction of a new 400PS in-line six-cylinder 3.0-litre petrol engine to replace the V6 takes this special addition to the Range Rover line-up to another level of power and refinement.

The smooth six-cylinder unit includes the introduction of an electric supercharger that not only makes the engine more responsive than the V6 but also helps achieve a virtually unrivalled hushed carriage experience.

That’s not to say that you won’t hear this power-packed all-rounder as it employs its muscle to propel the 2.5-tonne car to 60mph in under six seconds. That’s hot-hatch territory in the acceleration stakes and requires a mighty punch.

Supported by a twin-scroll supercharger that works alongside a new mild hybrid electric vehicle powertrain, the HST achieves only modest fuel economy of up to 30mpg. The system is based around a stop-start system that switches off when stationary and pairs the engine with an electric motor. This allows the system to harvest energy through regenerative braking and store it in a battery for later use, such as pulling away from a standing start.

But performance is only part of the story. The HST model features a combination of interior and exterior updates including bespoke badging and carbon fibre trim on the bonnet, front grille, side vents and tailgate. There’s also a choice of two alloy wheel designs and tell-tale red brake callipers.

If, like me, you think the HST looks gorgeous on the outside, then just wait until you open the doors on the plush cabin. One of the most luxurious interiors money can buy awaits you.

The 16-way powered leather front seats are wonderfully comfortable and supportive, while the two touchscreens provide all manner of facilities and information.

Eight-speed automatic transmission is the norm, but satin chrome gear shift paddles add to the fun and the array of driving modes through the Terrain Response 2 system enables you to travel across hostile environments. Whether you would want to take this £81,000 luxury motor on anything more challenging than a muddy field is a different matter.

There’s something intensely satisfying about sitting behind the wheel in the plump seats with so much to enjoy through your fingertips, hands and the soles of your feet. It is a feast for the senses.

A prod of the right foot brings a more immediate response through the supercharger, an array of features allows you to dictate ventilation, lighting and positioning and all that you touch feels and looks beautifully finished.

There’s a barely audible hum as the automatic transmission makes progress through the eight gears, but other than that you are left only with a feeling of being cocooned in luxury from the vagaries of the outside world.

The available suite of safety enhancements includes adaptive cruise control – featuring stop and go and steering assist – and high speed emergency braking.

Surprisingly for a car of such dimensions, the HST is quite agile on a country road. It will come as no surprise to hear that it absorbs the bumps exceptionally well.

This is a five-start performer in every area except fuel economy and CO2 emissions. Even the keen driver might be tempted by this power-packed and exquisite Range Rover.


Range Rover Sport HST

Price: From £81,250

Engine: Six-cylinder 3.0-litre supercharged/turbocharged mild hybrid petrol producing 400hp

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic driving all wheels

Performance: 0 to 60mph in 5.6 seconds; top speed 140mph

Economy: 24.9 to 27.4mpg

CO2 emissions: 209g/km


Performance: *****

Economy: **

Ride/Handling: *****

Space/Practicality: *****

Equipment: *****

Security/Safety: *****

Value For Money: ****