A Range Rover with a 2-litre engine. Really?

Range Rovers are synonymous with big, powerful engines. Right? Er, wrong.

The 2017 Range Rover Sport will be available with Land Rover’s new 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel. This twin-turbo engine will provide an impressive 240hp and 500Nm of torque, which Land Rover says will be enough to power the luxury SUV from 0-60 in 8 seconds.

Although this isn’t blisteringly fast, it is fairly respectable given the size and wait of the Range Rover Sport. What is impressive is that Ingenium engine will return 45.6mpg on the combined cycle with CO2 emissions of 164g/km. That’s very good for such a large vehicle.

2017 Range Rover Sport
The 2017 Range Rover Sport

Of course, this won’t be the only engine option available. For drivers who want a more visceral experience, a range of larger petrol and diesel engines will be on offer. Diesel fans will also be able to choose between Land Rover’s 3.0-litre V6 and 4.4-litre V8 models. For those who prefer the refinement and character of petrol, 3.0-litre V6 and 5.0-litre V8 supercharged petrol engines will be available.

These larger engines will provide the effortless and rapid acceleration drivers expect from the Sport — as well as a much more exciting soundtrack. If you choose the 3.0-litre V6 diesel, fuel consumption may not be much higher either. The regular 3.0SDV6 engine has an official combined cycle figure of 40.4mpg, while the hybrid version of the same engine is expected to match the Ingenium on 45.6mpg.

The Sport is never going to be the cheapest vehicle at the pumps, but the 2017 model will offer a range of features that should make it easier to drive and safer than ever before.

Self-driving luxury?

The new Range Rover Sport won’t drive itself. But it will come closer than ever before. Among the semi-autonomous driving systems available on the 2017 model will be Advanced Tow Assist, which will help drivers reverse trailers by controlling the steering.

Low Traction Launch will do exactly what its name suggests, while Autonomous Emergency Braking joins Front & Rear Park Distance Control, Cruise Control, Speed Limiter and Lane Departure Warning on the standard specification list.

HSE models will also offer an optional Drive Pack, which will feature  Blind Spot Monitor, Traffic Sign Recognition and Reverse Traffic Detection, plus Intelligent Speed Limiter. This is a new feature that uses traffic sign recognition to limit the vehicle’s speed.

Finally, The Drive Pro Pack will include Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist and Intelligent Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Assist and Lane Keep Assist for 2017. Blind Spot Assist monitors for vehicles approaching from behind or those in the driver’s blind spot. If the driver begins to change lanes in circumstances that could pose a risk of a collision, the vehicle will automatically apply a steering input to prevent an accident. Lane Keep Assist provides corrective steering inputs if the driver veers out of their lane without indicating.

Purely by coincidence, Ford announced today that it is targeting a fully self-driving vehicle in commercial operation in a ride-hailing or ride-sharing service for 2021.

The array of technology available with the new Range Rover Sport makes it clear the we’re already halfway there. The other half of this transition will be more difficult, I suspect. It’s not just a technical challenge. The legal, political and social aspects will be very difficult.

But I’m certain that self-driving vehicles are both inevitable and a necessary step on the road to reduce congestion, pollution and collisions.

Watch this space.

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