Ξ Comments are off

2023 Land Rover Range Rover Sport First Edition Review & Test Drive

posted by  
Filed under Automotive, Land Rover, SUV, Test Drives

2023 land rover range rover sport first edition

The Land Rover Range Rover Sport has been a prominent figure for SUVs and somewhat of a trendsetter in its midsize luxury segment. Despite its luxury positioning, it has set the tone for many modern-day crossovers of many sizes, both mainstream and luxury. For the 2023 model year, the Range Rover gets fully redesigned but retains its classic look continuing a path of being one of the most attractive vehicles on the road, making a profound statement for a slight boldness in being a vehicle that can also conquer just about any vehicle-navigable terrain that you throw at it.

The new 2023 Land Rover Range Rover Sport brings us the largest Sport model of the lineup yet as the traditional Range Rover also grew in size, leaving room for the Sport model to increase its proportions but remaining smaller than the full-size Range Rover. Those proportions are attractive, and when adorned with the right paint like my loaded-up Firenze Red Range Rover Sport First Edition test vehicle, the Range Rover Sport is standout from the crowd in a good way, potentially being one of the best-looking SUVs around. From its massively large gloss black 23-inch wheels to the unmistakable body lines, the Range Rover Sport is a looker and a luxurious statement in a classically designed delicate mix of luxury, sport, off-road-capable, and powerful package.

2023 land rover range rover sport first edition side

Performance and Driving Character

The Land Rover Range Rover Sport has traditionally offered many trim levels and powertrains. For the 2023 model year redesign, there are four trim levels to select from, each with its own powertrain, including a first for the brand bringing us Hybrid technology for the Autobiography PHEV (Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicle) trim featuring a system good for 434 horsepower and an all-electric range of 51 miles. The base Range Rover Sport and Dynamic trims make do with a 3.0-liter inline-6-cylinder turbocharged engine with a mild hybrid system making 355 horsepower in the base trim but 395 horsepower in the Dynamic trim. Moving all the way up the trim chain is my Range Rover Sport First Edition, which has a monstrous 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 engine that’s supplied by BMW, pumping out 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission.

2023 land rover range rover sport first edition rear

The overall performance of the Range Rover First Edition is good, but extracting that beefy horsepower comes as a mixed bag as the gas pedal is often slow to respond initially but you find yourself having to let up where overcompensate for a slow response that’s often followed up with a big burst of power. Fundamentally, the throttle positioning feels unnatural in the normal drive mode but mostly corrects itself with a sensitive tip-in when you put the Range Rover Sport into the Sport drive mode. Having the BMW twin-turbo V8, which is a wonderful engine that feels like it has much more than 523 horsepower, is the right choice, but Land Rover’s throttle mapping feel a bit off where you never really get used to the odd sensation. Stomping the throttle and letting it fly, the Range Rover Sport First Edition will hit 60 mph in 4.4 seconds.

There’s a lot of performance in the Range Rover Sport First Edition being the size that it is. While you can feel the hefty weight of the SUV, there’s a sensation of it doing exactly what you want in turns where the rear steering system is quite aggressive where the turning radius seems to be among the shortest of any SUV I’ve driven. The steering feel is mostly artificial with an unnatural weighted sensation that feels almost like a force-feedback wheel from a video game. Otherwise, the Range Rover Sport First Edition rides excellent on its air suspension and adaptive dampers that react quickly to keep unwanted body motions at a minimum. In fact, it’s one of the better-riding SUVs I’ve driven with a nice sensation of added stability at highway and interstate speeds.

2023 land rover range rover sport first edition exhaust

Utilizing the many Terrain Response 2 system features is mostly a thoughtless process as each mode is tailored to conquering its specified terrain, enacting the air suspension for additional ground clearance, adjusting the stability and traction control, and even modulating the active rear differential where it can vector torque between the two rear wheels to maximize available traction. There’s even a water-wading sensing system in case you want to immerse the Range Rover Sport in up to 35.4-inches of water, where the double-sealed door stripping and water-sealed engine components come in handy.

2023 land rover range rover sport first edition brembo brakes

Land Rover kept with tradition in giving the Range Rover Sport First Edition spectacular off-roading chops through all the Terrain Response 2 goodies along with low-range gearing to tackle demanding terrain and obstacles, only leaving you at the mercy of the stylish large 23-inch wheels and all-season tires. Though, most will never get those big wheels dirty, but for those who want to “explore,” the capability is there, along with astounding road-going smoothness and power from the twin-turbo V8 to the large Brembo brakes.

Fuel Economy

Having the powerful twin-turbo V8 engine, the Range Rover Sport First Edition isn’t shy about drinking a little more than its fair share of premium unleaded fuel. The fuel consumption is mostly consistent and doesn’t deviate far from the EPA estimates of 16 mpg city and 21 mpg highway in the real world. However, I did see some occasions of about 22.5 mpg on the highway cruising around 60 mph for about 50 miles. Around town, in the city, you’ll expect to match that 16-mpg figure.

2023 land rover range rover sport first edition dashboard

Interior and Technology

Customary to what you expect in a new Land Rover, the new Range Rover Sport First Edition captivates with its interior having several leather or alternative-leather upholstered surfaces coupled with unique trim and expected soft-touch areas throughout the cabin. The only hard plastics are found in small trim areas and the piano black center console surrounding the padded gear shifter and select climate control knobs and haptic buttons. The overall new layout of the interior is welcomed with the large 13.1-inch curved infotainment touchscreen that waterfalls on a hidden mount on top of the dashboard. The screen and system have an abundance of feature sets along with the many vehicle settings with some redundancy when coupled with the haptic climate controls below and terrain response setting knob. The touchscreen, with its optional-setting haptic feedback feature, is mostly responsive after an initial load time but has sizable learning curve for most. I do enjoy the customization options of the system allowing you to drag feature icons for quick access along with modifying the home screen setup with its many core functions and vehicle feature settings.

2023 land rover range rover sport first edition touchscreen

The driver’s digital gauge cluster features a few unique displays where two can view a live map and one reserves the costmary gauges along with a customizable information readout. The steering wheel buttons are capacitive with a tactile press and there are real metal shifter paddles.

2023 land rover range rover sport first edition front seats

There’s a respectable luxury theme to enjoy in the Range Rover Sport First Edition, where its plush side really shines and keeps Land Rover aficionados appeased with the traditional adjustable front seat armrests, high seating position, and the tall roofline stature. There’s plentiful room inside of the Range Rover Sport, much more than outgoing models being that it’s the biggest it has ever been. The front seats feature heating, ventilation and several massage functions coupled with 22-way power adjustments that can be accessed through the touchscreen. Even the cushy headrests are unique, with integrated speakers and folding wings to add better head support.

2023 land rover range rover sport first edition back seats

The back seats provide comfy space for three occupants, with the outboard seats having heating and ventilation. Cargo space is generous for a two-row SUV, and the digital rearview mirror feature allows you to see a live feed in the mirror avoiding objects in the cargo area or rear passengers from blocking your view.

Land Rover covered most of the luxury aspects of what is expected in a luxury SUV with some added sport, all without taking away from the elegance of a Range Rover.

2023 land rover range rover sport first edition cargo


There’s a plethora of active safety features and the addition of some additional safety measures on top of the expected features of lane departure warning/lane keep assist, blind spot monitors, forward collision warning/emergency braking, rear cross path detection/emergency braking, and an updated 360-degree camera system that can be enabled at any speed in addition to viewing several 3D angles and a virtual view of what is underneath the vehicle for safe off-roading adventures. I did find the adaptive cruise control system to work well, but controlling the distance gap was somewhat awkward using the steering wheel buttons as they didn’t respond with each press.


The new Range Rover Sport has positioned itself well to set the one in between the Range Rover Velar and the full-size Range Rover, and it does so with a starting price of $83,000 before any fees or options for the base model. Moving to the Dynamic SE model, you will have to fork over an additional $10,000, and then a starting price of $104,200 for the PHEV Autobiography, and then, at least $121,000 for the First Edition. My loaded-up Range Rover Sport First Edition tests out to $132,757 when you add in a decent list of available options (such as the 29-speaker Meridian sound system, full non-leather upgrade, 23-inch wheels w/23-inch full-size spare, ionizing cabin air purification, and cold climate pack) and a destination charge of $1,475. The “pay to play” factor seems to come to mind here – but look at this shockingly gorgeous SUV!

2023 land rover range rover sport first edition

If you are in the market for a luxury SUV that’s off-road, capable, sporty in its own right, spoils you with luxury, and you can get past the historical temperamental reliability factor of Land Rovers, this is certainly a vehicle that you should consider.


You May Also Like


Automotive Manufacturers & Categories