Next-gen Range Rover Sport (Hybrid) road testing begins [Update]

Real-world testing of the next-gen Range Rover Sport is underway, and prototypes have been put on public roads in Britain. The new Range Rover Sport could arrive about a year after the 2022 Range Rover, with the grand unveiling around the end of next year. Featured is a spy shot passed on by TopElectricSUV reader Samantha, spotted near Corgarff Viewpoint.

Design

Evidence gathered from test mule sightings like Samantha’s suggests that the Range Rover Sport will yet again assume the role of a younger sibling of the Range Rover. At least the stately proportions and signature design cues would be retained. Progress will be evolutionary on the looks, although that’s exactly what loyal customers would seek in the subsequent model generation.

The next-gen Range Rover Sport has visibly short overhangs compared to the next-gen Range Rover. Another difference between the SUVs is a strongly tapering tail on the Sport, a design feature that may remind some of the Range Rover SV Coupe that was not mass-produced. Using a softer roof and a different tail, JLR can disguise the 5+2 SUV as a sporty five-seater.

Safety

JLR is testing the 2023 Range Rover Sport with a mysterious circular object on the roof, and according to our friends at autoevolution, it is likely a LiDAR. Chances are that it is a new-generation LiDAR that is more compact and coming from German engineering company Bosch. Bosch says that its first long-range LiDAR sensor “is indispensable” for SAE Level 3, 4, and 5 autonomous driving functions. It can work in both long and close ranges, and thus, it is suitable on highways and in the city.

Volvo Cars plans to offer all upcoming cars with a LiDAR integrated into the roof, with the sensor coming from Luminar. The company is exploring the option of equipping a LiDAR sensor as standard in its next-generation vehicles. Maybe JLR will also offer a LiDAR sensor on its rival in the next generation, although we doubt the company would introduce it as standard equipment.

Interior

More extensive changes could be seen on the inside, although JLR designers may repeat the classical SUV elements like chunky four-spoke steering, a chunky dashboard, vertical AC vents, and so on. In one of the prototypes, Auto Express reader Peter Siu spotted a large central screen, which could be the Pivi Pro infotainment system’s 11.4-inch unit. More information on the interior is bound to emerge later this year when the bigger Range Rover is previewed.

Platform & Powertrains

The RR Sport will be underpinned by the new MLA (Modular Longitudinal Architecture) platform that was supposed to debut in the next-gen Jaguar XJ, which was canceled early this year. The MLA platform supports full electrification. So, a Range Rover EV/Range Rover Sport EV should follow in a few years. At launch, partial electrification should be standard across the range, with mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid technologies.

Price & Release Date

The next-gen Range Rover Sport will arrive in the U.S. market as the 2023 Range Rover Sport, likely in the second half of next year. JLR updated the current-gen model in the country for MY2022 in June. With the MY2022 update, it discontinued the plug-in hybrid variant, and according to a report from CarBuzz, the reason is the semiconductor chip shortage, which is creating supply chain issues. It is safe to assume that the plug-in hybrid variant will return to the U.S. market in the next generation. We expect the company to offer the next-gen Range Rover Sport as a PHEV right from launch.

The next-gen Range Rover Sport’s prices could start at around USD 72,000.

Jaguar Land Rover electrification strategy

JLR is not planning an EV blitz like Volkswagen Group’s luxury brands, and it will gradually create a formidable EV line-up by the middle of the decade. Six Land Rover EVs (incl. Range Rover EVs) are in the pipeline, all due by 2026.

Addressing shareholders in the 76th Tata Motors Annual Report, Thierry Bollore, CEO, Jaguar Land Rover, said:

Reimagine will see us journey towards net-zero carbon by 2039. Both our brands will be transformed by electrification, with six new all-electric Land Rover models in the next five years and Jaguar completely reimagined as a pure electric brand, from 2025.

Thierry Bollore, CEO, Jaguar Land Rover (76th Tata Motors Annual Report)

Jaguar will transition into a pure electric luxury brand by mid-decade, and from then on, it will clash with fewer Land Rovers for a clear distinction between the brands. JLR’s long-term goal is to achieve net-zero carbon emissions across its products, operations, and supply chain by 2039.

Featured Image Source: Samantha Thornton