We applaud the effort, but the hype needs some tempering. No one should confuse this for a light car. Our test example tickled the MIRA weighbridge to the tune of just over 2.6 tonnes – getting on for 300kg heavier than Solihull’s claim for an unoptioned V8 diesel. It wasn’t a flagship-spec car, either.
Breadth of ability is this car’s saving grace. It may weigh as much as two normal family cars, but it should be able to do the job of at least that many. Imperious luxury is the most brightly shining of the Range Rover’s several USPs, and there’s promise of improvement on that. The car’s lighter, stiffer monocoque should bring its own gains in rolling and mechanical refinement, but new ‘dual-isolation’ engine mounts have also been adopted.
Add to that an air suspension system with all-new aluminium chassis arms, active dampers and anti-roll bars for the last word in rolling compliance, along with new ‘low-hysteresis’ air springs on the front axle (designed for a quieter, smoother secondary ride), and you’re beginning to understand the lengths to which Land Rover has gone in order to deliver a truly cosseting experience for all on board.
This is still a Land Rover, of course, so capability off road has also been improved. The Range Rover can tow 3500kg, while ground clearance has increased to a maximum of more than 300mm and wading depth to 900mm, with the engines drawing air via a gap between bonnet panels.
There are six engines on offer. A V6 turbodiesel makes a welcome return, producing 255bhp, the 503bhp supercharged V8 petrol is the familiar range-topping option, while the rest of the range is punctuated by 3.0-litre V6 supercharged petrol and diesel, a 4.4-litre V8 oilburner and JLR's Special Vehicle Operations tweaked supercharged 5.0-litre V8 producing a mammoth 542bhp.