Brembo’s New Octyma Brakes Provide 8 Reasons for Better Deceleration

With eight pistons arranged in an X-pattern, the Octyma brakes improve the stopping power of the new 2024 Range Rover Sport SV.

Brembo started working on the cross-shaped piston project in 2018, and production kicked off in summer 2023. (Brembo)

As the 2024 Range Rover Sport SV barrels down the front straight of the Portimão circuit, it’s fair to ask: What the heck is a 5,532-pound (2,509-kg) luxury SUV doing on a racetrack? With the next corner looming, the Rover’s innovative Brembo brakes supply literal feedback and a confident answer: stopping quickly.

The 2024 Range Rover Sport SV uses Brembo’s new eight-piston brakes to make stopping on the track better than ever with front pads that cover 26.4 square inches (170 square cm). (Land Rover)

From this Portuguese track to knotted roads in the Algarve region, the Rover’s chunky brake calipers — branded “Octyma” by the Curno, Italy-based Brembo — latch onto spinning rotors with surefooted force and no trace of fade. Those brakes are a key supporting player for what Land Rover bills as its fastest, most powerful and most dynamic model ever. The tech sheet includes a McLaren-style semi-active hydraulic suspension with air springs that eliminate weighty anti-roll bars. A 13.5:1 steering ratio is 30% quicker than standard Rover Sports, abetted by a rear-steering system. A twin-turbocharged, 626-hp (467-kW) mild-hybrid V8 hauls the shapely Rover to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 3.6 seconds, and to a fearsome 180-mph (290-km/h) top speed.

Brembo’s new Octyma brakes can be found in four colors in the new 2024 Range Rover Sport SV, including bronze and yellow. (Brembo)

That package led Rover to seek a special brake design to rein in this British freight train, and Brembo had just the idea for this first-ever OEM application. The “Octyma” name alludes to the Latin “octo” and the new, eight-piston caliper that arranges its pistons in an X-shape. That compares with the radial layout of a conventional caliper, in which pistons begin to deflect and lose force as they extend along the perimeter. Brembo and Land Rover engineers say the Octyma system distributes pressure more homogeneously across the entire pad area, significantly improving brake performance.

“Pulling the pistons inboard is a much more-efficient mechanical design,” Jamal Hameedi, Land Rover’s director of special vehicle operations (SVO) who previously led engineering for Ford’s SVT and ST nameplates, told SAE Media.

It helps that there’s wiggle room in the wheel arches for these enormous stoppers, including front pads with 26.4 square inches (170 square cm) of surface area. Dual-cast floating discs feature a familiar cast-iron braking surface and aluminum bell. A ridiculous 17.3-inch (5,273-mm) front rotor diameter would blow the mind of anyone who grew up with hot hatches or muscle cars riding 14-inch (4,267-mm) wheels. Engineers point to the relentless upward march of vehicle size and capability, with underpinnings to match.

“The increase in vehicle power and mass in recent years created the necessity to increase pad surfaces over previous design standards, which were typically used in 6-piston calipers,” a Brembo engineer said. “This, combined with the wish of our customer to have a unique design, gave the idea to develop this caliper.”

Braking assist from lighter carbon fiber

Land Rover says the 2024 Range Rover Sport SV is its most powerful and most dynamic model ever, in part because of Brembo’s new Octyma brakes. (Land Rover)

Offered in four paint colors, including bronze and yellow, the calipers nestle into standard 23-inch (584-mm) forged alloy wheels. Roughly 600 North American customers, pre-selected by Rover for this exclusive 2024 “Edition One” model, can upgrade to carbon-ceramic brakes for another $9,000, with a ceramic friction layer on both rotor surfaces and a backbone of carbon fiber. That trims a total 75 pounds (34 kg) of unsprung weight across four corners, giving brakes less work to do.

“This also translates into even more-responsive handling, quicker acceleration, improved ride quality and lower fuel consumption,” a Brembo engineer said.

Buyers of the $181,775 Rover Sport SV can save more weight — but not more money — by choosing ultralight 23-inch carbon-fiber wheels ($10,150), an industry first on a production car. Developed and tested over three years with Carbon Revolution, the Australian success story whose customers include Ford and Ferrari, the wheels trim another 46 pounds (21 kg) of unsprung weight.

Brembo began work on its cross-shaped piston project in 2018, and production kicked off in summer 2023. Technical challenges included increased fluid consumption for this eight-piston design and meeting high targets for weight-to-stiffness ratio.

It all comes together on the exuberant Portimão circuit, notorious for its blind corners and peekaboo crests, where Lewis Hamilton scored a pair of pandemic-era F1 wins. Hameedi urges me to hammer brakes at will: Nothing, he says, will make them overheat or fade. I only get six or seven laps per session to test the claim, but the Rover’s brake pedal stays firm and responsive after every pass of the grandstands.

This raciest Rover is remarkably agile considering its bulk and off-road capability, thanks in part to the trick hydraulic suspension that keeps the body almost magically flat. The interlinked system can apply nearly 1,800 lb-ft (2,440 Nm) of force to resist body roll, pitch or dive, versus about 1,000 lb-ft (1,356 Nm) for conventional electronic anti-roll bars. Even on mud-and-snow rated Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires, the SV can generate 1.1 g’s of lateral grip. Move up to new Michelin Pilot Sport S5 summer tires, specially developed for this application, and the Rover achieves 1.2 g’s, a number once reserved for supercars.

Two days of 2.5-ton workouts in Portugal affirmed the result: The Range Rover Sport SV stops as well as it goes.