What is it?
Thank goodness for Euro 5 emissions regs. Sure, they’ve killed off a few choice models – Mazda’s RX-8 and the five-pot Ford Focus ST, to name but two – but equally, they’ve forced some manufacturers to rethink products that, well, needed a rethink.
And this is a prime example: the 2011 Range Rover, equipped with a new, Euro 5-compliant 4.4-litre TDV8 powerplant and an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
The luxo-SUV uses parallel sequential turbocharging to deliver more power (308bhp) and torque (516lb ft) than the old 3.6-litre TDV8, while still managing to reduce CO2 emissions (by 14 per cent, to 253g/km) and fuel consumption, too.
In fact, it nudges 30.1mpg on the combined cycle; Land Rover proudly points out that this makes it the first Rangie to beat 30mpg.
The eight-speed auto is available only on the TDV8. It is controlled by a Jaguar-like rotary dial that rises from the base of the centre console. The 2011 model year also means new grilles and side vents on diesel models, a couple of new colour options and optional illuminated treadplates for the front doors.
What’s it like?
On the road, the new car builds on an already strong package. The V8 is smooth and laden with torque from as little as 1200rpm.
There is a gentle metallic twang as it rises through the rev range, and you’ll hear the faintest of V8 rasps from the exhaust, but in general it’s extremely refined.
The transmission represents a gain over the six-speed auto, too. It does trip up over its tall overdrive occasionally – you’ll feel the odd kickdown on motorways when you don’t necessarily want one – but it’s still an impressive upgrade.
Inside, the cabin is pretty much as you were, with the exception of that gear selector. The slabs of wood on the deliberately chunky dashboard and the sat-nav screen that can display different images to driver and front passenger remain, as do the excellent driving position and accurate steering.
Should I buy one?
So, the Range Rover remains an accomplished, comfortable, plush long-distance cruiser with few obvious rivals – and this is the car’s strongest variant yet. Small wonder that it has so few obvious rivals.
Range Rover 4.4 TDV8
Price: £81,395; Top speed: 130mph; 0-62mph: 7.5sec; Economy: 30.1mpg; CO2: 253g/km; Kerb weight: 2580kg; Engine type: V8, 4367cc, turbodiesel; Power: 308bhp; Torque: 516lb ft; Gearbox: 8-speed automatic