Nic Cackett
26 October 2012

What is it?

Diesel power may account for the majority of Land Rover sales in Europe, but there are still plenty of places where petrol is king - making JLR’s voracious Range Rover V8 the variant of choice for everywhere from the dust of the Middle East to the Day-Glo-green grass of suburban America.

In the UK, the supercharged 5.0-litre car is deservedly thought of as the high-price pinnacle of an already expensive range. The latest model doesn’t disappoint: Land Rover’s coffers swell by £98,395 whenever anyone signs for an Autobiography (the only trim level available).

For that you get the same eight-cylinder motor as before, turning out the same 503bhp and 461lb ft of torque. Land Rover says the new model gets an improved engine management system, but the biggest mechanical change is that the whole unit is now mated to the eight-speed ZF transmission already enjoyed by the rest of the range rather than its predecessor’s six-speeder.

2013 Range Rover 3.0 TDV6 Autobiography review

2013 Range Rover 4.4 SDV8 Autobiography review

Two additional super-slippery ratios bring their own reward - primarily in the efficiency stakes - but the notable statistical bump enjoyed by the latest car is better attributed (as elsewhere) to the 250kg that has been pruned from its kerb weight. CO2 emissions are reduced by 7 per cent to 322g/km and, more importantly for its buyers, its 0-62mph time has fallen from 6.2 seconds to 5.4.

What is it like?

Thirsty, fast and excessive. A pleasure found so wantonly guilty that its block ought to have been cast from ivory. Supercharged Range Rovers have always been thus, but this one takes Land Rover’s beautifully formed new biscuit and dusts it with impudent splendiferousness.

As before, the V8 whines from silence to headstrong, whistling revs in a thrashy blur. Planting the accelerator pedal and enjoying the juggernaut effect was the previous model’s party trick, but this car has a whole deck to pluck from its underbody. The onslaught of momentum is still there, it still comes after a 2500rpm pause, but as it’s no longer hamstrung by quite so much weight, the quality of its propulsion is significantly more assertive.

Consequently, rather than feeling audaciously quick for a Range Rover, the 5.0-litre version now seems fast full stop. Hardly surprising, perhaps, given the triumphant extent Land Rover’s metallurgical diet, but such an observation would still be a footnote in the car’s obituary if it weren’t for the new-found athleticism that now underscores the package.

Rather than merely being a glutton for a wide-open throttle, super-heated brake pads and head-swimming lean, the supercharged model is transformed by the accumulative effect of precise, ductile steering and the physical compensation metered out by its electro-hydraulic stabiliser bars.

The virtue of Land Rover’s Dynamic Response, greater width in the tyres and the dainty interaction between the centre and (optional) rear differential place traction at its usual premium, but the nose-heavy ‘here we go’ dive of the previous Range Rover has been superseded by a honed, unfaltering change of direction - charged not just with improved dependability, but a measure of adjustability and even, incredibly, a sense of delicacy.

2013 Range Rover 3.0 TDV6 Autobiography review

2013 Range Rover 4.4 SDV8 Autobiography review

While the clarity of its handling is not exclusive to the supercharged car, the petrol engine’s intrinsic exuberance, its capacity for righteous, neck-snap urgency, make it a punchy, improbable pleasure to steer. Demerits? There certainly are a few. Chief among them (if we sidestep the colossal amount of CO2 still belching from the tailpipes) is the 10mpg average recorded over a spirited run, and the 18mpg it evened out to on a motorway.

Should I buy one?

Squint a tiny bit, and it’s just about possible to see the supercharged Range Rover as the quintessential example of the new breed. Land Rover has force-fed its headliner with such a sumptuous range of abilities that its already imperious character has now ascended to an almost implausible level of extravagance; what better way to exploit it than with the most absurdly lavish power output on offer?

Yes, the 4.4-litre V8 diesel is cheaper to buy and run, has more torque from lower down and will certainly hold its value better, but the idea of buying the 5.0-litre version has arguably just the kind of hectic, overindulgent giddiness to it that Land Rover is espousing with its all-terrain Bentley-baiter. It’s also worth noting that in the rarefied air of the range-toppers, the petrol V8 is just £3,700 more expensive than the oil burner in Autobiography trim.

The very fact that it can be warped into making sense is, of course, a tribute to the car behind the supercharged engine, and a tacit censure of its vast price tag and operating costs. Land Rover has been so successful at trimming the fat and waywardness of the previous model that a 503bhp V8 no longer feels like a farcical appendage, but a genuine option for powering its mega-SUV. Nevertheless, in this country, it’s an option only open to those with suitably huge budgets, and, almost inevitably, a rather shameless habit of flaunting them.

Range Rover 5.0 V8 Supercharged Autobiography

Price £98,395; 0-62mph 5.4 seconds; Top speed 140mph; Economy 20.5mpg; CO2 322g/km; Kerb weight 2330kg; Engine type 4999cc, eight-cylinder, petrol; Installation Front, longitudinal; Power 503bhp at 6000-6500rpm; Torque 461lb ft at 2500-5500rpm; Gearbox Eight-speed automatic; Fuel tank 105 litres

Join the debate

Comments
57

when paying £100,000 for a

1 year 24 weeks ago

when paying £100,000 for a car like this i cant see which fuel it uses being remotely relavent to your average footballer

target markets

1 year 24 weeks ago

you have to take this car in context - UK & Europe will take only a fraction of the production, it's destined for the uber-rich markets of China, Russia, Brazil, the Gulf - where the cost of fuel is largely irrelevant to the typical owner, and image is everything.

Of course there will be a number of takers from the premiership, but agin, running costs for that particular demographic is largely irrelevant.

Costs of ownership

1 year 24 weeks ago

As everyone else seems to be saying, surely to have the means to simply buy the car in the first place would deem the price of the fuel irrelevant. 

Each to their own I say...

Weight Saving

1 year 24 weeks ago

The Range Rover has switched from a heavy steel chassis to a lightweight aluminium one and consequently is 250kg lighter than the previous one, is that really a massive leap forward, given that the new Golf and even the new 208 have shed over 100kgs without resorting to expensive aluminium.

We have seen that the F-Type appears a bit flabby considering its also made using aluminium, so I wonder are the extra costs worth the effort when savings can be made with newer high strength steel and overall lighter components. Is the way JLR use the raw materials fundementaly flawed? 

You're all being very sexist

1 year 24 weeks ago

Tsk tsk boys. Not just footballers, you're forgetting the WAGs. Please correct your sexist outlook on life! The WAGs buying power seems likely to overwhelm the gravitational pull of a planet.

Sorry, couldn't resist it!

  [quote]Weight Saving  31

1 year 24 weeks ago

 

[quote]Weight Saving

31 min 50 sec ago

The Range Rover has switched from a heavy steel chassis to a lightweight aluminium one and consequently is 250kg lighter than the previous one, is that really a massive leap forward, given that the new Golf and even the new 208 have shed over 100kgs without resorting to expensive aluminium.

We have seen that the F-Type appears a bit flabby considering its also made using aluminium, so I wonder are the extra costs worth the effort when savings can be made with newer high strength steel and overall lighter components. Is the way JLR use the raw materials fundementaly flawed? [quote]

RR chassis is actually c.400kgs lighter than the old one, which allows the whole vehicle - including increased luxury content - to be 250kgs lighter, so you have to consider that.

F-type is basically a shortened and widened XK so was probably hamstrung from the start in terms of weight.  Had it been desigend fresh from the ground up I'm sure a more intelligent lighterweight solution woudl have been forthcoming, I guess the question is at what cost?

I'm waiting for the vulva trim

1 year 24 weeks ago

hahaha autobiography trim.  I love how unclassy the whole land rover brand has become. 

TS7

The cost of fuel, petrol vs

1 year 24 weeks ago

The cost of fuel, petrol vs diseasal, may indeed be a moot point to potential owners.

The lack of range between fill-ups may not. Although, one imagines the peasants who perform feetball, and their peasant wives, have obsequious PA's to carry out mundane tasks such as filling up at the local Waitrose fuel pumps.

2330kg ??!!

1 year 24 weeks ago

It may be lighter than it's predecessor (not a difficult exercise, one would imagine...) but it's still bloody heavy for what is essentially a road car.

250kg weight saving or not, does it NEED to weigh 2330kgs?

I bet the car-jackers can't

1 year 24 weeks ago

I bet the car-jackers can't wait for this to appear on the Chelsea streets. I agree that kerbside weight as well as co2 should be a factor in VED scaling on vehicles of this size. And why not? For people who can afford to buy these vehicles know that vanity doesn't come cheap.

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The fourth-generation Range Rover is here to be judged as a luxury car as much as it is a 4x4

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