Pretty much anytime there’s news coming from Nürburgring, it has to do with the latest, flashiest supercar model a manufacturer has hot off the line. The main contenders for Ring lap times are performance cars that often have to be specified as non-street legal because of their various modifications in order to shed as much weight as possible.
So what was a Range Rover, a rather hefty SUV, doing on the track last week? In this case, Mike Cross, the chief vehicle engineer for Jaguar Land Rover, wanted to see whether a Range Rover could achieve performance car speed and handling. The results? An admittedly impressive laptime of 8 minutes and 14 seconds. This is the fastest any production SUV has driven the course and puts it in the running with a vehicles such as the Merc C63 AMG, Lexus IS-F, and Jaguar XKR.
This time was achieved with the souped-up RR SVR model, which includes a 5 litre V8 JLR engine which produces 542bhp and 502 lb/ft of torque. It maintains the 850mm wading depth found in all other RR Sports models and retains its all-terrain handling and comfort.
But what does this time actually achieve, aside from giving Rover engineers another bragging item? As some have pointed out, this is a bit of an arbitrary accomplishment. Most consumers aren’t going to be seeking out a Range Rover because of its Nürburgring times and handling. It’s not meant to compete on this sort of course, so why should its performance there make any difference one way or the other? Should Rover’s engineering team really be investing their time and energy in such an effort, or is this just an amusing aside?
Some people are even casting doubt on the claim altogether, saying that it seems absurd to think a 2.5 tonne vehicle like the Sport SVR can outdo models that are 500kg lighter, such as one from Porsche or the Macan Turbo?
In the end, the Rover team said they put the SVR to the test on Nürburgring “because the undulating circuit’s challenging layout represents the ultimate test for high performance vehicles.” Whether or not the results are truly relevant to this model, it’s undeniable that this is one test the SVR passed with flying colors!