What is it?
The latest diesel Range Rover. Range Rovers have always gone best when propelled by eight cylinders. The petrol versions always have been, but diesel Range Rovers have made do with as few as four turbocharged pistons, and more recently six. But that’s not enough when there are over two and a half tonnes to drag about.
Which is why the Range Rover has at last got the diesel engine it has always needed: a twin-turbo V8, an engine specifically designed for it and therefore optimised for the low-down torque that a sizeable off-roader needs.
It’s a 3.6-litre unit, and related to the 2.7-litre V6 turbodiesel used by Jaguar and PSA. The commonality occurs in the cylinder, combustion chamber and valvetrain designs, although the block is entirely different in that the vee is of 90 degrees – optimal for a V8 – rather than the V6’s 60 degrees. The V8 also complies with Euro IV emissions regulations.
What's it like?
The following stats provide a sizeable clue to the transforming effect that the new engine has. Power climbs by 54 per cent over the outgoing TD6, from 174bhp to 268bhp, and torque swells by an even more spectacular 64 per cent, from 287lb ft to 472.
The Range Rover’s 0-60mph time improves by 32 per cent, tumbling from a lethargic 12.7sec to a brisk 8.5sec. That’s almost as swift as the 4.4 petrol manages. And the 50-70mph acceleration time is 42 per cent better.
At least as impressive is that the TDV8’s combined fuel consumption remains the same as the TD6’s, at 25.1mpg. Better yet, chief programme engineer Paul Walker reckons owners will achieve at least this figure in the real world.
It takes mere metres to feel that V8 difference. Step-off is more positive, and you need only sink the throttle by a third to summon a fat storm of torque that will have the Range Rover spearing forward with the assured, unruffled authority of a global powerbroker. Now it has the thrust to go with the imperious aura.
All this, and without draining the fuel tank as though it had been inverted. For the record, the combined consumption of the 4.4 petrol V8 is 19.0mpg and the supercharged 4.2 17.7mpg. It’s not hard to see why Land Rover reckons 75 per cent of British buyers will opt for the TDV8.
Now you rarely need dither over whether you have enough grunt to overtake, whether you should nail kickdown for a mildly ambitious manoeuvre or engage a lower gear for a motorway merging moment, because you’ll have the power. Not that the TDV8 has a surfeit of it – even 472lb ft of twist action is going to be knocked back by 2.7 tonnes – but this car feels as amply endowed under the bonnet as it does just about everywhere else.
In fact, Land Rover has taken the chance to ensure that remains the case by giving the interior a detail makeover. There are now two gloveboxes that will swallow six litres’ worth of clobber, and there’s more space in the more robustly finished centre console now that the park brake is electronic. The air conditioning is quieter and has more outlets, repositioning the passenger and side airbags has improved their effectiveness, you get active head restraints, the door trims have been redesigned and cabin lighting is upgraded.
Should I buy one?
Absolutely. Though the Range Rover looks the same on the outside, these useful improvements and this fine new diesel massively improve it as an ownership proposition. The TDV8 is easily the best RR yet.