Track Tested: 2010 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged vs. 2010 BMW X5 M

Track Tested: 2010 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged vs. 2010 BMW X5 M

2010 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged vs. 2010 BMW X5 M tests hundreds of vehicles a year, but not every vehicle gets a full write-up. The numbers still tell a story, though, so we present "Track Tested." It's a quick rundown of all the data we collected at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

Land Rover has put a new motor in the 2010 Range Rover Sport Supercharged. As before, the force-fed V8 is shared with the Jaguar line, but with 5.0 liters of displacement, it's much more in step with the motivational needs of a nearly 3-ton SUV than the old 4.2-liter engine. Horsepower swells from a mere 390 to a whopping 510, while torque climbs from 410 to 461.

These are big numbers, so we couldn't resist the opportunity to compare the 2010 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged to the current reigning performance champ in the SUV kingdom, the 2010 BMW X5 M. Keep in mind this isn't a straight-up comparison. The vehicles weren't tested on the same day, and they have different personalities. The BMW is set up to give you maximum performance on the street, whereas the Land Rover is still aiming for some nebulous middle ground. Sure, it comes with a potent engine and summer tires, but it's still lugging around enough off-road hardware for a weekend run from Paris to Dakar. So this comparison is just for fun, OK?

For those keeping score, the 2010 Range Rover Sport Supercharged has a $74,195 base price with destination. Our tester had rear-seat entertainment ($2,500), adaptive cruise control ($2,000), upgraded wheels ($1,000), extended leather ($1,000), a 360-degree camera ($800), a locking rear differential ($500) and HD radio ($350).

  Range Rover Sport S/C X5 M
0 - 30 (sec): 2.0 1.8
0 - 45 (sec): 3.5 3.1
0 - 60 (sec): 5.2 4.5
0 - 75 (sec): 7.5 6.6
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 13.4 @ 104.1 12.8 @ 108.5
0-60 With 1 Foot of Rollout (sec): 4.9 4.2
30 - 0 (ft): 31 29
60 - 0 (ft): 123 116
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.76 0.91
Slalom (mph): 61.1 63.5

Vehicle: 2010 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged
Odometer: 1,743
Date: 11/10/09
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $82,345

Drive Type: Permanent four-wheel drive with 2-speed transfer case, and locking center and rear differentials
Transmission Type: 6-speed automatic with sport and manual modes with steering wheel-mounted paddles
Engine Type: Supercharged 90-degree V8
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 4999.7/ 305.1
Redline (rpm): 6,800
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 510 @ 6,000-6,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 461 @ 2,500-5,500
Brake Type (front): 15.0-inch ventilated disc with 6-piston fixed calipers
Brake Type (rear): 14.4-inch ventilated disc with single-piston sliding calipers
Steering System: Variable-ratio, hydraulic-assist power rack-and-pinion steering
Suspension Type (front): Independent, double-wishbone, air springs, adaptive dampers
Suspension Type (rear): Independent, double-wishbone, air springs, adaptive dampers
Tire Size (front): 275/40R20
Tire Size (rear): 275/40R20
Tire Brand: Michelin
Tire Model: Latitude Diamaris
Tire Type: Asymmetrical, directional summer tires
Wheel size: 20 X 9.5
Wheel material (front/rear): Aluminum
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 5,853

Test Results:
0 - 30 (sec): 2.0
0 - 45 (sec): 3.5
0 - 60 (sec): 5.2
0 - 75 (sec): 7.5
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 13.4 @ 104.1
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 4.9
30 - 0 (ft): 31
60 - 0 (ft): 123
Braking Rating: Very Good
Slalom (mph): 61.1 (59.5 stability control on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.76 (0.73 stability control on)
Handling Rating: Average
Db @ Idle: 48.8
Db @ Full Throttle: 72.3
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 59.2

Acceleration Comments: This new motor is damned powerful and an enormous improvement over the last Range Rover Sport S/C. Smooth, torque and happy to rev. Upshifts are both smooth and fast.

Braking Comments: Impressive power, excellent fade resistance (best stop on 5th run) and pretty decent feel. Expected more forward pitch.

Handling Comments: Skidpad: Turning the stability control off only widens the envelope slightly, but noticeably allows the Range Rover Sport to use all available grip. Steering is a little heavy and isolated but appropriately so. Slalom: Trial and error to guess the stability control system's threshold, but still more allowance (and capability) than I expected. Doesn't abuse the tires or feel like it's going to tip over. The "Sport" designation means something more this time around.

Vehicle: 2010 BMW X5 M
Odometer: 1,702
Date: 9/15/09
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $89,875

Drive Type: All-wheel drive
Transmission Type: 6-speed automatic with sport and manual modes with steering wheel-mounted paddles
Engine Type: Twin, twin-scroll turbocharged direct-injected 90-degree V8
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 4395/268
Redline (rpm): 7,000
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 555 @ 6000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 501 @ 1500
Brake Type (front): 15.6-inch ventilated disc with 4-piston fixed calipers
Brake Type (rear): 15.2-in ventilated disc with 2-piston sliding calipers
Steering System: Speed-proportional, driver-selectable hydraulic-assist rack-and-pinion power steering
Suspension Type (front): Independent, double-wishbone, coil spring, driver-adjustable variable dampers, self-adjusting active anti-roll bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent, multi-link, self-leveling air springs, driver adjustable variable dampers, self-adjusting active anti-roll bar
Tire Size (front): 275/40R20 106W (38 psi)
Tire Size (rear): 315/35R20 110W (38 psi)
Tire Brand: Bridgestone
Tire Model: Dueler H/P Sport
Tire Type: High-performance asymmetrical, summer run-flat
Wheel size: 20 X 10 front - 20 X 11 rear
Wheel material (front/rear): aluminum
Curb Weight As Tested (lb): 5,332

Test Results:
0 - 30 (sec): 1.8
0 - 45 (sec): 3.1
0 - 60 (sec): 4.5
0 - 75 (sec): 6.6
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 12.8 @ 108.5
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 4.2
30 - 0 (ft): 29
60 - 0 (ft): 116
Braking Rating: Excellent
Slalom (mph): 63.5
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.91
Handling Rating: Excellent
Db @ Idle: 42.2
Db @ Full Throttle: 77.4
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 61.5

Acceleration Comments: Even in default Drive (no M options selected), this lump is a rocket. The engine itself lacks any sort of audible personality, but it provides thrust like some sort of turbine propulsion unit. After selecting the M-mode and utilizing the launch control, it knocked more than a half-second off the 0-60 time and the upshifts were noticeably quicker and "belched" louder, as well. And seriously? This locomotive runs a 12-second quarter mile? I'm utterly amazed with how fast this thing is.

Braking Comments: While the distances aren't particularly short in a vacuum, they are remarkable for a 5,300-lb SUV. The fade resistance, too, is beyond impressive with the shortest stop arriving on the 6th run. A little more forward pitch than I had expected with all the real-time suspension hardware/software, but I'll cut it some slack, I guess.

Handling Comments: Skidpad: M-dynamic Mode (MDM) produced only a slightly better result (0.91g vs. 0.90 g), however, it was far more controlled requiring far less steering and throttle manipulation to maintain a smooth and fast arc. Steering weight is a little excessive here, but otherwise perfectly tuned for feel and assist levels. Grip is astonishing. Slalom: Two things limited the X5 M's slalom results: the DSC is NOT fully defeatable and the tremendous wind blast/contrails the vehicle creates topple otherwise untouched cones with regularity. The problems started when I purposely drove wide of the cones (to avoid blowing them down), effectively squaring off the turn which then awakens the DSC. Still, the connection between driver's palms and the tires' contact patches, the prodigious grip levels, and the obviously clever active AWD make the X5 M uncommonly (incongruously) nimble and capable.

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