Amusingly, the Maloo comes with launch control. It’s wired directly into the car’s Performance mode. Select first gear, open the throttle wide and promptly come off the clutch. Easy. Amazingly, though, it doesn’t really need it. Even with the electronic aids switched off and a club foot on, the Maloo pounces forward – with wheels spinning, admittedly, but in a mix of flamboyance and exertion and not in an uncontrolled squandering of 495lb ft of torque. The traction being developed is admirable. Better still, its whereabouts is tangibly fed back through the pedals and is therefore pleasingly exploitable.
Unencumbered on Millbrook proving ground’s mile straight, with a very warm clutch and a brimmed tank, the Maloo manages 5.0sec to 60mph and 0-100-0mph in 15.6sec. Under load, helped along by a first cog that’ll have you doing 50mph alone, the pick-up is just 0.8sec slower in the sprint, and a little over 2.0sec slower in getting back to nought. So by the time you hit 100mph, each additional 100kg is adding around half a second to the pick-up’s time. Under braking, despite some ingratiating messiness and the unsettling noise of a load redistributing itself, the Vauxhall is just 0.2sec later in returning to a standstill. Managing to outrun a Honda Civic Type R to 100mph while lugging enough stone to pebble-dash a small house is rousing, and with the SVR carrying more than 400kg of additional weight before we even think about loading it up, it’s hard to see the Range Rover turning its fourwheel-drive benefit into a significant advantage.
Wrong. Although the SVR refuses to replicate its maker’s 4.5sec-to-60mph claim, it still manages 4.7sec, and 16.1sec for 0-100-0mph. It does this without launch control, but without a hint of wheelspin, either. And with its eight ZF ratios stacked like dominoes, the V8 spinning quicker and no delay required for upshifts, the Range Rover romps through the challenge like a silverback crashing through bamboo.
Turn the gorilla into hod-carrier, though, and it’s a slightly different story. With ballast and passenger aboard, the SVR is still 0.5sec quicker to 60mph than the pick-up – but by 100mph, the lighter, longer-geared Maloo has reeled it all the way back in, and because the Range Rover takes almost 5.5sec of pitching to shudder to a halt, the Maloo stops 0.2sec quicker, too.
Round two to the Aussie. Round three, though, lasts precisely 3.4sec, the absurdly small slither of time it takes for the RS6 to bludgeon its way to 60mph. That’s without the ballast, of course, but 13.1sec to do 0-100-0mph is absurdly quick for a two-tonne car. Even 15 shingle bags and a colleague to the good, it is the best part of a second quicker than the empty SVR to 60mph. To 100mph, it’s 3.0sec ahead of the Maloo. It even gains an extra 0.5sec advantage over both in the braking.