Last month, Land Rover claimed a new record for a production SUV as its 2015 Range Rover Sport SVR ran the 20.8 km (13 mile) Nordschleife circuit at the Nürburgring in eight minutes and 14 seconds. Now the company has lifted the bonnet and revealed the specs behind how a two and a half tonne Chelsea tractor is able to do a lap time like a stabbed rat.

A product of the Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations team, the all-terrain Sport SVR is billed as the "most dynamically focused Land Rover vehicle ever produced" and is the first Land Rover model to bear the SVR badge. Land Rover says that it put a lot of work into the looks of the Range Rover Sport SVR to reflect its track-worthy nature, but at first glance, it still comes across as a fairly standard Range Rover profile with a strong lateral line that makes it look a bit smaller than its 115.1 in (2,923 mm) wheelbase.

However, a closer look finds the pronounced high-level spoiler in the rear and the new style package that aims at better aerodynamics and feeding cooling air to the engine and brakes. Unfortunately, the front has a neither-fish-nor-fowl appearance with a smallish grille overwhelmed by the air scoops beneath.

Made mostly of aluminum, Land Rover says that the Sport SVR's chassis has been retuned for greater agility. It’s covered by an all-aluminum unibody that is 39 percent lighter than the previous version, yet is stronger and stiffer and is available in a choice of seven color palettes. In front, the new dark-finish grille is designed to contrast with the LED headlamps, and beneath are large air intakes of the sort that usually aren't associated with the wax jacket set. Situated either side of the new grille, these feed into the air coolers for the engine’s superchargers.

Under the bonnet is that supercharged, all-aluminum, longitudinal V8, 32 Quad cam Dual Independent Variable Cam Timing, high-pressure direct injection, 5-liter engine that blasts 550 bhp (404 kW) and 502 ft lb (680 Nm) of torque – that’s a 40 bhp (29 kW), 41 ft lb (55 Nm) boost over the standard supercharged V8. Fuel economy is, not surprisingly, far from the top of the class, but is typical for a Range Rover with 14 mpg (16.8 L/100 km) city and 19 mpg (12.3 L/100 km) highway.

Behind this is the 8-speed ZF 8HP70 gearbox, which is controlled with flappy paddles or gear lever, and it can operate as a full automatic, occasional manual, or full manual. Using eight close ratios and rapid, precise fuel cut-offs, the gearbox reduces shift times by up to 50 percent while upshifting. In addition, it uses adaptive shift strategy to select from 25 pre-determined programs to adapt to the driver for sportier shifting. And, there’s Torque Vectoring, which uses the brakes to act as a torque-vectoring differential.

It’s not a bad set up for a car with permanent four-wheel drive with standard locking center differential, Land Rover’s Terrain Response 2 system, optional locking rear axle differential, a two-speed transfer case, and low-range option for off-roading, as well as a re-calibrated Dynamic Active Rear Locking Differential.

Put this all together on the tarmac at the Nürburgring and you get 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds (0 to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds), and a top speed limited to 162 mph (260 km/h). Given that the Sport SVR weighs in at 5,148 lb (2,335 kg) in its socks, and that performance makes the word "impressive" give way to "alarming."

Holding all that weight and power up is the front SLA suspension, with twin lower links and air springs/CVD with ARC, and the integral link suspension with air springs/CVD with ARC in the rear. Steering is electric power assisted rack and pinion, which cuts down on the weight over hydraulics, and there are 15 in (380 mm) ventilated disc brakes in the front and 14.4-in (365 mm) ventilated discs in the rear.

Inside, the track motif for the Sport SVR is carried over with contrasting leather sports seats boasting a distinct racing look and feel and full 14-way electric adjustment. Land Rover says that the trim is available in Ebony Black, Ebony Black and Cirrus White, Ebony Black and Pimento Red, and Ebony Black and Tan.

"The Range Rover Sport SVR is a natural progression beyond the core vehicle's outstanding on- and off-road capabilities and leading-edge design," says John Edwards, Managing Director of Land Rover Special Operations. "Its exhilarating performance will satisfy a particularly demanding customer set. A thorough range of revisions specially developed by Land Rover's Special Vehicle Operations combine to make this premium derivative even more distinctive both inside and out, as well as taking its dynamic capabilities to the next level without impacting on comfort, refinement or all-terrain versatility. The Range Rover Sport SVR is truly the world's most capable performance SUV."

The starting price for the 2015 Range Rover Sport SVR is a bracing US$110,4754.

The video below shows the 2015 Range Rover Sport SVR taking on the Nürburgring.

Source: Land Rover