2023 Range Rover Sport P530 First Edition

The cabin is an excellent space to spend time with top-notch materials used throughout and gorgeous craftsmanship.
The cabin is an excellent space to spend time with top-notch materials used throughout and gorgeous craftsmanship.

by Ben So | May 1, 2023

Advertisement

Despite having been around since the mid-2000s, the Range Rover Sport has sometimes been overlooked, even in its own brand portfolio. It would get outshined by the full-size Range Rover, or the attention-grabbing Velar, and has struggled to find its own identity. With that in mind, this is the latest third-generation Range Rover Sport, with promises to be the most advanced and dynamically capable model ever. We did not hesitate to grab the spiciest version first – the 2023 Range Rover Sport P530 First Edition complete with a fire-breathing twin-turbocharged V8.

In designing the new Range Rover Sport, Land Rover had opted for an evolutionary approach that allows the new model to feature a cohesive appearance with the rest of the portfolio. The lineage with other models such as the Velar and Evoque is unmistakable, and the raked-roof design, air inlets, and squatted stance gave the Sport some serious athletic flex especially when matched with the optional 22-inch wheels fitted here. Our only complaint is the rear end’s minimalist design that looks a bit pedestrian and  we prefer the distinctive taillights on the outgoing model.

Pop the hood and any feeling of this being a pedestrian crossover quickly fades away. Not only do you find a V8 engine that displaces 4.4 litres and is sourced from BMW, but also two turbochargers to push the power output to a whopping 523-horsepower – equating to 530 PS (metric horsepower) hence the P530 designation. With the help of its launch control feature, the Range Rover Sport P530 manages to surge from a standstill to 100 km/h in just 4.5 seconds, similar to the all-new BMW X5 M60i xDrive and the Porsche Cayenne GTS, and fully encroaching into Range Rover’s Special Vehicle Rating (SVR) territory.

The turbocharged V8’s power delivery is instantaneous; there was little time in waiting for the full 553 lb-ft. of torque and lag is imperceptible, with a delicious exhaust note. There are a couple of downsides though; the Range Rover Sport P530 has a thirsty appetite for fuel, as we observed a 14.5L/100km, and it is hard to modulate at slow speeds especially in traffic due to the engine’s eagerness to spool up the turbochargers. The brake pedal is also on the sensitive side, allowing a full grab by the Brembo calipers even with a slight touch – good for performance driving but a challenge to drive smoothly in the city.

Good news is that if performance driving is your priority over urban commutes, the Range Rover Sport P530 will certainly be able to live up to expectations. Engineers have loaded it up with dedicated handling goodies including all-wheel steering, electronic active differential, torque vectoring, Bilstein dampers, and air suspension systems that result in a joyful and responsive dynamic. The systems worked together well in the corners where the Range Rover Sport feels planted, and the rear-wheel steering system allowed it to turn almost unnaturally. This is a refreshing change of pace from many fast SUVs these days that shows its weight once the roads get curvy.

It is fair to expect stiff ride quality given the Range Rover Sport’s handling prowess. While the ride is on the firmer side, we were delighted to find that it is by no means harsh or punishing even with the oversized wheels and thin tires. Road imperfections such as potholes and large rocks are well absorbed by the suspension and most of the bumps did nothing to startle us or affect our driving.

The cabin is an excellent space to spend time with top-notch materials used throughout and gorgeous craftsmanship. The Semi-Aniline leather and suede used are silky smooth, the forged carbon trim on the door cards and console add an element of exclusivity to the vehicle, and the layout is clean and devoid of clutter. The seats are incredibly supportive with the help of massage up front, and most occupants will have no trouble finding legroom. Headroom is a bit short due to the low-slung design though my five-foot-ten frame is able to fit just fine. Cargo volume is measured at 970 litres and there is a clever fold out bench that is extendible from the cargo floor for easy tailgating.

Star of the centre console is the 13.1-inch curved touchscreen that houses the standard Pivi Pro infotainment unit. There is a wide variety of information that can be displayed on screen including crucial vehicle information and settings for off-roading purposes and an excellent 3D Surround Camera that can display what lies beneath the vehicle.

Operation is fairly intuitive with most features reachable within a few touches, and there is standard wireless Android Auto and CarPlay for those looking for a connected experience. We particularly enjoyed the 29-speaker Meridian 3D surround sound system that filled the cabin with crystal-clear sound quality, enhanced by active noise cancellation technology normally found in high-end headphones.

To keep its occupants and surrounding safe, the new Range Rover Sport features the latest adaptive driver assistance systems including emergency braking, surround-view camera with front and rear parking sensors, wade sensing, driver condition monitor, lane keep assist and traffic sign recognition systems. We found the systems worked well together to add to the confidence behind the wheel, but the overly sensitive parking sensors felt a bit too intrusive especially when reversing into spaces.

With a base price of $133,650, the 2023 Range Rover Sport P530 First Edition is in the big league of premium SUVs. Both the BMW X5 M60i and the Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+ start at about $20,000 lower, and they all end up costing about the same when similarly equipped to our tester.

Each of the above luxury SUVs carries their own unique appeal. The BMW is a little sportier, the Mercedes-AMG has a fancier dashboard to appeal to tech-savvy users, and the 2023 Range Rover Sport P530 First Edition does a good job being a solid go-fast crossover on-road while providing users with an additional element of off-road capabilities to go along with its premium kit. More importantly, it establishes itself as the one most suitable for enthusiast driving within its own brand. The new Range Rover Sport gives way to the full-size Range Rover to go all-in on what luxury transportation represents in today’s world.

See Also:

2022 Range Rover Velar P400 R-Dynamic

2022 Land Rover Range Rover P530

2023 BMW X7 xDrive40i

Vehicle Specs
Segment
Midsize Luxury Crossover
Engine Size
4.4L twin-turbocharged V8
Horsepower (at RPM)
523 at 5,500
Torque (lb-ft.)
553 at 1,800
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
14.5
Cargo Capacity (in L)
970
Base Price (CAD)
$133,650
As-Tested Price (CAD)
$140,399
The DoubleClutch.ca Podcast
Advertisement
Advertisement

About Ben So

Editor-in-Chief

Ben has been living and breathing car magazines, spec sheets, and touring auto shows for his entire life. As proud member of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada, he keeps a close eye on the latest-and-greatest in the auto industry. When he isn't geeking out about the coolest new cars, he's probably heading to the next hidden-gem ice cream shop with his three quickly growing kids.

Current Toys: '97 Integra Type R, '07 LS 460 RWD, '08 Corvette Z06, '13 JX35 Tech

Advertisement
Advertisement