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Land Rover Unveils Range Rover Sport HST

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On: Wed, Mar 25, 2015 at 2:03PM | By: Carl Malek

Land Rover Unveils Range Rover Sport HST

Let’s face it, the 2015 Range Rover Sport has emerged in recent years to become one of the most potent performance luxury SUVs that money can buy (mainly due to its excellent 3.0-liter supercharged V6). But for customers that think 340 horsepower is a bit too mundane for their needs, Land Rover has unveiled a compelling alternative: The Range Rover Sport HST which will make its official debut at the 2015 New York Auto Show in April.

Unlike the more luxury oriented HSE, the HST serves as a sort of a tweener trim level bridging the gap between the HSE and the uplevel 5.0-liter V8 variant. The bulk of the changes are found under the hood where Land Rover engineers tweaked the potent 3.0-liter V6 to produce 380 horsepower (a gain of 40) which should help produce a slight increase in performance. In addition to the engine enhancements, the suspension and handling hardware has also been slightly modified to make the HST stiffer in sharp corners, though expect the laws of gravity to still allow some body roll when pushed hard (a phenomenon typical of other entries in its rarefied segment).

The exterior styling of the HST also embodies this newfound theme of subtle performance. It features higher amounts of black paint as well as model-exclusive Stealth Pack lamps for the front and rear lights which incorporate a special non-reflective surround to help give the SUV a bolder look than before. Further enhancing this theme are a revamped rear spoiler and an attractive Santorini Black contrast for the roof that also do their part to make the HST stand out, though expect the high performance SVR model to still win beauty contests when viewed side by side. Rounding out the changes are beefier brakes, as well as 21-inch alloy wheels which feature an HST-exclusive dark satin grey finish.

Buyers looking for bigger hoops can opt for optional 22-inch Stealth Alloy wheels, though if we were shopping for an HST of our own, we’d stick with the base wheels, not only because of their aesthetic appeal, but also due to the small cost savings. This embracing of black can also be found on the hood and fender vents which have been dipped in a slick Gloss Black finish, with the grille and fog lamp bezels also following suit. Rounding out the changes are body-colored lower door panels, as well as a revamped vent design for the front and rear bumpers, and model-exlcusive HST badging on the fender vents.

The interior of the HST retains much of the ergonomic layout that has come to define other Range Rover offerings; it also features two-tone seats trimmed in opulent Oxford leather as well as contrasting ebony trim on the door panels and center console. The HST also shares the HSE's steering wheel-mounted shift paddles which allows the driver full control of the slick eight-speed automatic gearbox for improved driver feedback and performance. While we we're hoping for more supportive thrones than the HSE, the addition of a two-tone color scheme does make up for this to a degree.

Look for the Range Rover Sport HST to eventually make its way to showrooms in the Middle East, North America, China, and Russia but avoid showrooms in the broader European market where demand for performance/luxury SUVs is weak, thanks in part to higher fuel prices as well as the narrow roads in many European cities which limits their usefulness and practicality.



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