Powering the Sport is a new, 2.5-litre, 16-valve common-rail diesel engine, a quantum leap for the Pajero, considering the last one was a turbocharged diesel with just eight valves. The figures say it all. A boost of power, from 116 bhp to a whopping 176 bhp. Peak torque jumps from 29.6 kgm to a useful 40.4 kgm.
The advantages become obvious once you find an empty stretch of road. It has an immediacy and a surge of power that the former Pajero simply lacked. While it's a good two seconds quicker to 60 kmph now, it's a staggering seven seconds quicker to 100 kmph.
What it means is overtaking is now simply a mere dab of the throttle away and getting to three-digit speeds doesn't take the collective strength of all your muscles. What helps the Sport is its slick-shifting gearbox and very strong mid-range; so strong that it even outpaces its competition like the Fortuner and the Endeavour.
But some problems do exist. The clutch is on the heavier side and it's quite a workout, especially in traffic. There's also a slight hint of turbo lag at low speeds, so you have to calculate every move in town with quite some precision. Also, the vehicle seems to run out of steam at the top; progress starts to diminish past 140 kmph on account of its aerodynamics and gearing.