Bucharest Expat drives the Turbo Diesel V8 Range Rover Sport in and around Bucharest, Romania. Why didn’t we get the new model? This is Romania of course!
The Vehicle – 4 Stars
The cabin is well appointed and has a high quality feel to it, although it is slightly smaller inside than might have expected. The soft leather seats were supportive and fully adjustable in any direction making them very comfortable once moved to suit your choice. The view out is commanding but in reality this is no different to most SUV’s now available. It is certainly a pleasant place to spend time. The controls are generally well laid out and easy to use. In keeping with this, the touch screen navigation system was relatively easy to use but has an old fashioned feel to it (if that can be said of a relatively young technology). A disappointment was that it appears to be lacking enough detailed information as it failed to identify an address that an off the shelf Garmin nuvi was able to locate. Not ideal…
Performance – 3.5 Stars
The engine pulls well from all speeds, which is to be expected with the amount of torque available. It was also very quiet at idle with a nice building growl from the exhaust as the revs increase. The Brembo brakes were very effective at bringing the car to a rapid halt in a controlled manner when required (after pre-warning the passenger). In normal automatic mode you have to really mash the accelerator into the carpet to achieve a sense of urgency but it does start to move with some real intent once you get it going. There were no paddles for gear changes but you can use the auto in manual mode if you feel so inclined
The handling is surprisingly crisp for a tall SUV weighing almost 3 tons and this is a real credit to the engineers and design team. Corners were taken with a reassuring lack of body roll and there was no feel that passengers would be reconsidering where their lunch should reside after a few minutes of pressing on. The great news is that the firm handling around the twisty bits does not mean that the suspension is over firm and the Sport manages to deliver a pretty smooth ride throughout the testing over some of Bucharest, Romania’s finest road surfaces (yes this includes the never-smooth tram tracks as well).
Fitze Factor – 3.5 Stars
The car had good presence around Bucharest and the surrounding area and was shown respect by most other road users. This was much appreciated when trying to get through busy junctions that seemed to be easier to negotiate than normal. It may be the size but is more likely to be the looks and links to the rest of the Land Rover range. I would wager that you get more respect than if you were driving an Audi Q7 (which is enormous from the outside).
The presence is not, however, enough to score even close to maximum points from a ’look at me’ perspective. When driving through Dorobanti we passed three other Range Rover Sports within the space of 100 metres. If you really want to flaunt your wealth then you will need to look for something with a bit more bling or exclusivity that shouts a bit louder and raises more eyebrows.
Ideal for Romania? – 4.5 Stars
If you had enough spare money or a very generous company car scheme then this would be a nice form of transport and great for the school run. It starts and stops well and copes with the hazards of the roads well. The suspension soaks up the uneven surfaces and leaves a much smoother ride than most cars manage. Crossing tram tracks is less of an adventure than usual. It even managed to smooth out the everlasting road works on Sos. Iancu Nicolae quite nicely.
Dealership Experience – 2.5 Stars
The Range Rover / Jaguar dealership we visited is just off Sos. Bucuresti-Ploiesti on the right as you drive out of Bucharest, just past Baneasa. They have a nice showroom but their management of their test vehicles could be more customer friendly. They supplied a well used test vehicle with an engine that is not sold anymore. This means that we have been able to give an accurate review of the vehicle supplied but we cannot give an opinion of the cars now sold as the diesel engine range has had a complete overhaul. Shame.
Engine: 3.6 litre 32-valve twin turbo diesel V8
Power: 200kW (272bhp) @ 4000rpm
Torque: 640Nm (472lb-ft) @ 2000rpm
0-100km: 9.2 secs, 0-60mph: 8.6 secs
Top Speed: 209 km/h (130mph)
Transmission: ZF 6-speed auto with manual shift capability
Four-wheel drive system: full-time four wheel drive with standard locking centre diff and Terrain Response
Fuel tank capacity: 84.1 litres
Fuel economy combined: 11.1 L/100km
Turning circle: 11.48
Height: 1812 mm
Length: 4788 mm
Width/including mirrors: 1928/2177 mm
Max ground clearance: 227 mm
Wade depth: 700 mm
Max load volume: 2103 litres
Safety: Driver and front passenger airbags – head and side, full size driver and front passenger side, rear outboard passenger head, electronic park brake, Electronic Brake Assist, ABS –four channel, Dynamic Stability Control, Active roll mitigation, Dynamic Response.