In the market for a fast hybrid SUV? The P400e is great. Otherwise, probably not. By Jake Groves
GO ELECTRIFIED WITH your new Range Rover Sport and the only versions that will show you a clean pair of heels are the supercharged V8s. That’s a pleasing bonus on top of some chilled silent driving time and potentially improved economy. Potentially, it should be noted.
The punchy end of the PHEV powertrain reveals itself with peaks of 398bhp and 478lb ft, and when the 2.0-litre petrol four revs out there’s a meaty growl – a
welcome change compared to the strained buzz from the same engine in the Evoque or Discovery Sport. During such activity, the torque from the electric motor is smoothly mixed in to hurl you forward surprisingly quickly for a two-and-ahalf- tonne SUV.
When you want to behave yourself, the system acts as a parallel hybrid where the petrol engine and electric motor constantly work together. Like most plug-ins, you can force the battery to hold charge to save your stealthy drive time for when it’s more needed or engage EV mode via a button on the centre console, with up to 31 miles of EV-only range claimed.
Like most plug-ins, you’ll have to work hard to gain any economy advantage – our drive netted us reallife mpg similar to the SDV6. That’s about 28-30mpg if you’re not paying much attention to the powertrain’s very particular demands.
Still, inside the Sport is just how a Rangie should be: comfortable, well appointed and with plenty of kit. The facelifted front is more handsome, and the new Velar-style screens may be fiddly to work but they keep the cabin looking contemporary.
The only real giveaways about hybrid motoring are an EV mode button on the centre console, the ‘My EV’ menu in the infotainment and a different digital display to show the hybrid powertrain at work.
The P400e is not the plug-in SUV that will convince you to go electrified if you weren’t planning to. But if you’re already looking around for a big, fast PHEV it does provide you with a handsome, luxurious and very potent new option.
RANGE ROVER SPORT P400E HSE
> Price £72,185 > Engine 1984cc 16v turbo 4-cyl plus 85kW electric motor, 398bhp @ 5500rpm, 478lb ft @ 1500rpm > Transmission 8-speed auto, all-wheel drive > Performance 6.3sec 0-62mph, 137mph, 101mpg, 31 EV-only miles, 64g/km CO2 > Weight 2471kg > On sale October 2018 > Rating ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Makes as much sense as any other PHEV SUV