How many 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport owners do you think have a desert as part of their daily commutes?

Just in case, Land Rover has them covered. The British automaker took a new Range Rover Sport for a spin in the Empty Quarter, a massive expansive of sand and nothingness in Saudi Arabia. It's the largest sand desert in the world, and Land Rover says this was the first recorded crossing by an unmodified production vehicle.

To make things even more interesting, Land Rover set a goal of crossing the desert in under one day. Spoiler alert: The Sport was able complete the journey in 10 hours, 22 minutes, at an average speed of 51.87 mph.

That requires a vehicle with both off-road prowess and speed, which is exactly what the Range Rover Sport is.

The recently-redesigned Sport rides on a shortened version of the aluminum chassis that underpins the big Range Rover, saving about 800 pounds compared to the previous model. U.S. buyers get a choice of two engines:a 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 with 340 horsepower, and a 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 with 510 hp.

The V-6 version will reach 60 mph from a standstill in under 7.0 seconds, while the V-8 will do the deed in around 5.0 seconds.

The Range Rover Sport is on sale now, and Land Rover will continue to do improbable things with it. The Empty Quarter challenge was the second in series of "Drive Challenges" (Land Rover also drove it up Pikes Peak back in June), so look for more soon.


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