I couldn’t help smiling when I saw this morning’s announcement about the Range Rover Ultimate Edition.

This sort of excessive no-holds-barred version of the Rangie has been a long time coming.

Ex-company bosses were flirting with the idea of putting in a V12 engine and raising the Range Rover’s price accordingly years ago. And members of the current management have told us in private that they could easily charge more for the things, and so squeeze more cash from Russian oligarchs and  West Coast squillionaires who see the Range Rover as a must-have status symbol.

In fact, Autocar’s own road-test team compared the new V8 diesel version favourably to a £200k Rolls-Royce Ghost, prompting our coverline ‘it’s a high-rise Rolls’. So I’m sure that this new version won’t have trouble finding homes around the globe, even if the price tag is likely to be well over £100,000.

More crucially, these specials at the end of a car’s life give interesting clues to the thinking behind the next generation model. We know that a new Range Rover will be going on sale at the end of 2012. We also know that it’s likely to be lighter and a little lower to make it more in keeping with the times.

Today’s announcement also signals that it is likely to be a good deal more luxurious and probably more expensive than the current car too. And why not if the business is out there? It would be a shame if it became just another super-luxury car in the process though, wouldn’t it?