From £98,395
One of the world’s finest luxury cars of any shape or size

What is it?

It's the Range Rover 5.0-litre V8 Supercharged. For the 2010 model year - which for buyers starts this month - the quickest Range Rover gets a new, supercharged petrol V8 engine that puts a mighty 503bhp under the bonnet.

It also gets some gentle interior and exterior changes, and some impressive equipment upgrades. The intention has been to develop everything for which Land Rover’s flagship is justly famous - luxury, comfort, refinement, versatility, craftsmanship and outright performance - without disturbing the model’s highly successful template.

What's it like?

The 2010 Range Rover looks much like its predecessors, with subtle changes to the bumpers and lights to give it a cleaner look and reduce the impression of size. The mesh grille is deeper, the bi-xenon headlights are shallower and the foglamps are relocated in a lower front air intake.

The bigger story is inside. The cabin gets even better-quality leathers, even more tasteful brightwork and a general reorganisation and simplification of the switches around a better central screen.

And following a major upgrade of its electrical architecture, the Range Rover now has an aircraft-style 12-inch TFT screen for the driver, on which a variety of virtual dials and graphical displays appear. When driving normally, the driver sees a speedo and revcounter as normal, the relevant speed and rpm readings highlighted with a unique 'spotlight' feature.

Off road, the revcounter moves aside in favour of a graphical drivetrain that shows which wheels are being driven, which diffs are locked and much more.

The new supercharged V8, shared with Jaguar, delivers its peak 503bhp between 6000 and 6500rpm, plus maximum torque of 461lb ft between 2500 and 5500rpm. These are improvements of 29 per cent and 12 per cent respectively over the old 4.2-litre V8.

Yet despite the new engine’s 16 per cent capacity increase, it still delivers 7.4 per cent cuts in both fuel consumption and CO2 output, following a variety of improvements such as better direct fuel injection technology, variable cam timing and reduced internal friction.

Other refinements? There’s an adaptive radar cruise control that works with Forward Alert and Emergency Brake Assist to provide unprecedented motorway security. Improved continuously adjustable dampers (by Bilstein) replace the previous model’s dual-rate items and there’s also a blind-spot monitoring system that helps to prevent you from pulling into a lane occupied by close-following traffic.

Five exterior cameras can provide a 'helicopter view' of the car for close manoeuvring, and Land Rover’s now-traditional Terrain Response system has improved rock crawl and sand driving programs. There’s even a towing stability system that can detect trailer sway and tame it with opposite-wheel braking.

Snick the silver-tipped lever into Drive and the car glides away from rest, almost silently. Gliding is something you soon discover the Range Rover does plenty of, at motorway speeds and well beyond. Range Rovers have always specialised in low road noise, even on 20-inch wheels, and this 2010 edition does it better than ever. Couple that with a supple, unhurried ride and more communicative steering and you have an inspirational driving experience.

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Use all of the long accelerator travel and you’ll soon find yourself in Porsche Boxster performance territory. The 503bhp Range Rover can sprint from 0-60mph in just 5.9sec and has a governed top speed of 140mph. Despite all this performance, the engine is still quiet, the wind noise still controlled and at seriously high speeds the Range Rover is impressively stable. It’s all to do with the subtle action of the new dampers, which also improve chassis turn-in and tame the lurches that ordinarily result when a tall, soft-sprung vehicle abruptly stops cornering hard one way, to corner hard the other.

Should I buy one?

A Range Rover is never going to be all things to all people. Truth be told, the model can look forward to a future of polarising opinions far more than ever. But if you can accept the big, heavy supercharged flagship for what it is, this is undoubtedly the best Range Rover ever, and surely one of the world’s finest luxury cars of any shape or size.

Land Rover has successfully attacked every one of the RR’s foibles, and even improved some things (like the interior) that didn’t seem to need it. The good news is that this work flows through all four models - three V8 diesel editions (Vogue, Vogue SE and Autobiography) and the one and only supercharged 5.0-litre Autobiography - whose prices start at £64,700 and end just short of £80,000.

Steve Cropley

Steve Cropley Autocar
Title: Editor-in-chief

Steve Cropley is the oldest of Autocar’s editorial team, or the most experienced if you want to be polite about it. He joined over 30 years ago, and has driven many cars and interviewed many people in half a century in the business. 

Cropley, who regards himself as the magazine’s “long stop”, has seen many changes since Autocar was a print-only affair, but claims that in such a fast moving environment he has little appetite for looking back. 

He has been surprised and delighted by the generous reception afforded the My Week In Cars podcast he makes with long suffering colleague Matt Prior, and calls it the most enjoyable part of his working week.

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Add a comment…
Lee23404 22 July 2009

Re: Range Rover 5.0-litre V8 Supercharged

Steelydan wrote:

Can you see now, Robotboogie, how passe your climate change argument is and how offensive and sanctimonious it is to be accuse someone of being anti-social? Climate change believers are becoming the heretics and that is truly refreshing.

Agreed, it's annoying to be told you are anti-social because you like/drive a certain car. This is still (just) a free country.

What's also annoying is when the BBC in particular refer to those who have doubts over climate change (an increasing number of people) in the same tone as holocaust deniers.

DGC 22 July 2009

Re: Range Rover 5.0-litre V8 Supercharged

RobotBoogie wrote:
The tax argument is that you do the CO2 damage by driving a big old 4x4 but that's OK because you provide funding for some kind of solution, which is a bit like saying that it's acceptable to run someone over if you pay a bit towards the ambulance service and the hospital.

May I just point out here that quoting climate change as a reason for not driving a Range Rover or the like is a bit silly. Yes CO2 does contribute to climate change but in a very small amount, the biggest contributor to climate change is water vapour, estimates are varied but it is generally agreed that water vapour is 70-90% responsible for climate change, so unless these cars are pumping out tonnes of water vapour then their effects are incalculable!

Sorry, Carry on!

Weststandwatcher 22 July 2009

Re: Range Rover 5.0-litre V8 Supercharged

Overdrive wrote:
As has the airline industry. From what I've read aviation produces around 5 to 6% of the world's estimated CO2 (someone correct me if I'm wrong on this).

You're nearly right....

Man-made Co2 constitutes about 5% of all Co2 produced. (We have no control over the other 95%)

Of that 5% ,the airline industry produces about 4% (about the same as cars) So in terms of a % of the total Co2 produced, it's a very small amount.

That is the con of the 'Climate Change' lobby.

Given the rate that the rain forests are being torn down (the trees asorb Co2) That is of far greater concern than how much Co2 a Range Rover or any 4X4 produces.