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Engines on test: Jaguar Land-Rover AJ126 3.0-liter V6

A sports car engine in an SUV? Does JLR's AJ126 supercharged 3.0-liter V6 help the Range Rover Sport live up to its nameplate? 

 

We’ve had the pleasure of testing Range Rover’s Sport before, but that was the brilliant but aging 4.4-liter TDV8. The rather handsome, all-black (including badges) 2017 Range Rover Sport HSE that was delivered to Engine Technology International, however, was packing Jaguar Land Rover’s AJ126 supercharged 3.0-liter V6. Derived from its larger AJ133 V8 brother, the V6 utilizes the same castings to help efficiency at the engine plant (both engines share the same external block details and therefore can come down the same production line).

Internally, and in addition to the missing two cylinder cavities, the ones that remain feature a revised bore and stoke to 84.5 and 89.0mm respectively - down from 92.5mm and 93.0mm on the V8 model to help bring down swept capacity by 2,000cc. Refinement on the V6 is improved through the use of a balancer shaft, which also helps drive the oil pump. Sitting atop the all-aluminium alloy 90° block is a belt-driven supercharger, that takes from the crank via a secondary drive belt.

What this all translates to out on the road is an oddly baritone rumble at low revs, particularly from inside the cabin – externally, however, the sound isn’t quite as pleasing – which as the speed builds is then joined by the signature supercharger whine. With the engine producing 340hp (345PS) at 6500rpm and 332lb·ft (450Nm) between 3500-5000rpm, the Range Rover Sport never really feels obscenely fast. Whilst this may seem like a criticism, it isn’t. The Sport, after all, still weighs in excess of 2,100kg and still measures over 4,850mm in length and over 2,070mm in width. It is a very big car, and for all of the complex air suspension fitted, still has a significantly higher center of gravity than any F-Type ever will.

What the Range Rover feels like is adequate – and again, in no way is that meant as a criticism. The power arrives effortlessly, the engine is willing to rev freely toward the red line, and all in all, progress can be made very easily. It is responsive, and unintrusive making the RRS a very enjoyable place to spend time.

That said, like most things designated with the word ‘sport’, it is far from sporty. Whilst the myriad of electronic trickery allow the car to be dynamically set-up in a sporting manner, you’re hardly likely to see any thundering around your local circuit’s open pitlane track days any time soon.

If you take the Range Rover Sport for what it is, a very well rounded SUV that comes with the added benefit of a supercharger whine every time you depress the accelerator, you may end up as smitten with it as Engine Technology’s editor is…

 

28 June 2017

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