Our test car was a premium-level Autobiography powered by the new twin-turbo 4.4 litre diesel SDV8 (expanded from the previous 3.6 V8) now packing a generous 334bhp at 3500rpm plus 516lb ft of torque delivered between 1750rpm and 3000rpm, which turns out to be the rev band in which the engine spends most of its time, given that it’s attached to a standard eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox, with paddle-shifts.
Prices for this model start at £94,695, but there’s an extensive options list that will offer owners the opportunity to specify cars in Bentley territory, costing up to £120,000.
Performance is effortless: The car has a 135mph top speed and zero to 62mph acceleration in a decidedly brisk 6.9sec yet the engine rarely gets close to its theoretical 4500rpm redline. You only really hear the engine as it starts: even the idle is subdued.
There’s a faint V8 “woofle” if you use the engine hard, but mostly the car just glides as if propelled by a giant elastic band attached to the horizon. Gearchanges are rarely felt, though if necessary you can shift to a Sport regime (which holds indirect gears longer) operate it manually via shift paddles for extra zing or engine braking.
None of the Terrain Response facilities will surprise a modern Range Rover driver, but a new generation system arrives with the latest Range Rover that offers an automatic setting that gauges driving conditions and configures throttle, clearance, transmission and chassis electronics to suit changing conditions.
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How is it different from the outgoing car? Not much, in overall size. But its tracks are wider, it has 20mm more ground clearance, the self-levelling (and height adjustable) air suspension has more travel and it can wade through 900mm water pools, 20mm than before.
On-roads it feels tall but more stable that the previous model, with an even smoother ride, less sensitivity to crosswinds and even more relaxed, accurate steering especially near the straight-ahead. If the previous Rangie was easy to drive, this is even more so, and the margins are easily detectable.