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Nothing makes a statement in someone’s rear-view mirrors quite like a matte black Range Rover Sport SVR with a thundering V8 sound.
Dawdlers in the freeway overtaking lane hastily moved left when they saw (and heard) us approaching from behind in this dark-themed British SUV, and there’s something distinctly brutish and not-terribly-polite about it. Not that a large brute with 423kW of grumpiness needed any extra “edge”, but if you do wish to go full pimp-my-ride with your sports SUV, Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division can get it done.
The test vehicle’s deep satin black costs R128,700 and is called Stimela sa Sebusuku which translates from isiZulu as “midnight train”. It’s one of the bespoke paint finishes available from the SVO skunkworks.
Along with its custom paint finish, this Range Rover Sport SVR has also been personalised with custom door sill plates etched with the words “Built by Special Vehicle Operations” and circular B-pillar badges etched with “SVO Bespoke” logos, adding a further R46,700 to the price.
The cabin is further adorned with options like carbon fibre trim, red anodised shift paddles, and seat upholstery in dual-tone Ebony and Pimento Windsor (black and red) leather.
The test car is one of 27 Range Rovers ordered with several specially-developed paint options by Land Rover SA to showcase how customers can jazz up their rides. The unique hues have all been assigned SA-inspired names such as izi Khaleni Plum, Bantry Blue and Namaqua Orange among others, and this test unit is one of 20 Range Rover Sport SVRs painted in Stimela sa Sebusuku.
Using SVO’s match-to-sample service, customers can have their vehicles painted in just about any colour they like — after a family heirloom, a brand identity or a favourite item of clothing for instance. This applies to the Range Rover Sport SVR, Range Rover SVAD and Jaguar F-Pace SVR, and is in addition to a wide range of optional trims and options available.
On our winter morning jaunt the heated and cooled front and rear seats (R11,100) were especially appreciated.
Priced at R2,654,862 without options, the SVR is the flagship high-performance variant of the Range Rover Sport line up. The 5.0l supercharged V8 thrusts the big SUV from 0-100km/h in a claimed 4.5 seconds and a 283km/h top speed.
The SVR theoretically has the capability to go off the beaten path with its all-wheel drive, height-adjustable air suspension, hill descent control and various off-road driving modes. But with its low-profile tyres it’s like expecting Akani Simbine to break Olympic records in flip flops; we punctured one of the expensive 22-inch tyres while attempting an off-road amble.
Unless it’s re-shoed with sensible high-profile rubber, this swift Range Rover Sport’s preferred playground is the tar. Looming large and dark in someone’s mirrors.
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.