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After countless teasers, the second-generation Range Rover Sport is finally here! This is a big change from the car it replaces, and fits right in between the small Range Rover Evoque and full-size Range Rover. This could very well be the most balanced and capable Range Rover ever made!

Finally ditching the Discovery’s heavy twin construction platform in favour of the latest Range Rover’s all singing and dancing lightweight aluminium chassis completely changes the new Sport for the better. The modern architecture saves up to 420 kg in weight, bringing massive improvements to performance, efficiency and handling.

Land Rover claims this to be their fastest, most agile and most responsive vehicle ever together with class-leading, genuine all-terrain capability. Coupled with good looks that straddle the line between its sporty and classy siblings and a more luxurious interior, you can safely say that Land Rover is up to something special here.

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The outgoing one has always been a looker but this one hugs the floor with far more vigour and aggression to fit its name. Assertive, powerful and muscular, the new Sport is 62 mm longer and 55 mm wider than before. It certainly looks faster, courtesy of the lower stance, steeply raked front windscreen and tapering roofline.

It’s over 8% more aerodynamic than its predecessor, and is 149 mm shorter and 55 mm lower than the Range Rover on which it is based. Only 25% of the internals are shared between the two models, each possessing its own distinct character and appearance. Model-for-model the Sport weighs 45 kg less.

The Evoque-Range Rover match in heaven theme continues inside. The driving environment combines the sense of confidence and control offered by the Range Rover, with a more sporting seating position similar to the Evoque.

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Interior accommodation and cabin access are significantly improved with a wheelbase that’s 178 mm longer. This Range Rover Sport also breaks new ground by having optional seven seats for the very first time. The occasional 5+2 powered seats leave a flat floor with no loss of boot space.

Only two engines are available for now – a supercharged 5.0 litre 510 hp V8 petrol and a 3.0 litre 292 hp SDV6 diesel engine. A lower powered TDV6 engine with 258 hp will join the range next year, as will a high performance 4.4 litre SDV8 model with 339 hp.

All models come with a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic gearbox. 0-100 km/h time is as fast as five seconds, with up to 24% better fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions as low as 194 grammes per kilometre.

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Land Rover added that a diesel hybrid option is already in development, and is due for a 2014 debut. Made possible by the weight reduction, a four-cylinder option is also on the cards, which may have an overall weight of less than 2000 kg compared to the current lightest figure of 2115 kg.

An updated Terrain Response 2 system with Dynamic Response active lean control, Dynamic Active Rear Locking Differential and Torque Vectoring by Braking controls guarantee enhanced handling capabilities on and off the road. It’s good on water too, with a maximum wading depth of 850 mm (150 mm deeper than before).

As before, the Range Rover Sport will be available in SE, HSE, HSE Dynamic and Autobiography Dynamic trim lines with a wide choice of colours, finishes and wheels (19- to 22-inches).