When it comes to luxury cars, our priority tends towards the former of our two headline dynamic traits. And providing a smooth secondary ride – that is, a car’s ability to smooth out smaller surface imperfections – should, in theory at least, be the Range Rover’s forte. A heavy bodyshell and high-profile rubber usually proffer exceptional bump-soothing qualities. And so it proves here, with this large 4x4 providing excellent isolation from the roughest and toughest of surfaces taken at low speeds.
It is exceptional, in fact, and particularly so given that, despite the many advantages a Range Rover does have, it is also equipped with air springs, which are not always the ideal choice for quiet progress over sharp ridges. Air suspension’s major advantage comes while traversing larger inputs and degrees of wheel travel, which can be compensated for by adjusting the air pressure. And so it proves. Despite the Range Rover’s generous maximum wheel travel, it remains exceptionally stable across higher-speed roads that dip and crest and brow and have bad cambers, thanks to its active dampers and anti-roll bars. In corners, meanwhile, it is uncannily flat and fleet-footed for a car of such size.
The TDV6 doesn't come with the active anti-roll system, which makes it float about more than the two V8s, but its lower weight (thanks to the smaller engine) helps it to feel just as agile as the larger engined cars. And the supercharged V8 is just as deft and able as the diesel V8.
Don’t mistake this for a Porsche Cayenne, mind, as there isn’t the same level of engagement and interaction with the road surface. A Cayenne steers more keenly and with more road feel. It is a keener driver’s car on the road, but don’t dismiss the Range Rover as aloof by comparison. It is ridiculously easy to make enjoyable, rapid progress in the Range Rover; it’s easily placed in corners, has fine visibility and offers supreme isolation from poor surfaces and bad cambers.
That makes it a particularly satisfying place in which to sit and enjoy and admire the way that the car makes progress. There are times – many of them, in fact – when you’d scarcely credit the Range Rover with the kerb weight it carries. It may have the mass of a small hatchback on its front wheels alone, and yet more on the rears, but it can feel like it weighs almost half what it does when you’re threading down a country road, able to see over hedgerows and across bends that would have you waiting for the moment you can see far enough ahead to unleash the throttle and then hang on to the wheel as the chassis gets antsy in, say, a Porsche 911 Turbo or a Nissan GT-R.
These are the times when a Range Rover, which remains impeccably flat and surefooted even in appalling conditions, is probably as quick as anything else on sale, and undoubtedly as safe to pedal briskly.
With such levels of security and usability, it gives little cause for wonder that, for all their inherent thirst and size disadvantages, 4x4s have become the executive transport of choice anywhere with variable weather and road conditions. That the 4999mm-long, 1983mm-wide Range Rover can feel so manageable in such circumstances does it great credit.