The SVR covered the 11.3-kilometer (7.0-mile) route in 9 minutes, 51 seconds, averaging 42.8 mph. Land Rover admits that this is an “unofficial” time, but it is quicker than the previous record 10 minutes, 31 seconds set by a 458 Italia in 2016. It’s also worth noting that the Italia has been supplanted by newer mid-engined Ferraris. But a big SUV like the Range Rover Sport SVR beating any sort of supercar is still impressive.
Land Rover made no apparent modifications for the record attempt, but the SVR is no ordinary Range Rover Sport. While most Land Rovers are at home in the mud, the SVR was built to go fast on pavement. Its 5.0-liter supercharged V8 produces 575 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. In a straight line, the SVR will do 0 to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and reach a top speed of 174 mph, according to Land Rover. Suspension upgrades, sportier bodywork, and other changes accompany the powerful V8.
Racing driver Ho-Pin Tung piloted the SVR for the Tianmen Mountain Road record attempt. He’s a 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner, and is currently a reserve and test driver for Land Rover sibling Jaguar’s Formula E team. He’s also familiar with Tianmen Mountain Road from a previous Land Rover stunt.
Tung recently tackled the road as a warmup to driving a Range Rover Sport P400e plug-in hybrid up the 999 steps to Heaven’s Gate, a natural rock arch at the top of Tianmen Mountain. Stunts like these help prove that Land Rover’s SUVs are still the real deal. They may be more luxurious than their predecessors, and they may spend most of their time in shopping mall parking lots, but it’s cool to know they are still capable of doing extraordinary things.
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