We’ve got a V8 diesel-engined Autobiography edition on loan from Land Rover at the moment; I took it home last night. And to say that it’s a special car is something of an understatement.
Because this could be the special car. Autobiography Rangeys used to be built bespoke to order, for its richest clientele. This year, however, Solihull decided to fix the badge to its most luxurious series production model ever.
This car has enough of the softest leather to occupy the minds of a whole pasture of bovine worriers; even the floormats are edged with the stuff. It’s got 20in diamond-turned alloys too, and an in-car TV, as well as all the usual Range Rover refinements. And it’s got a price tag of £72,995.
I reckon it’s worth every penny. Consider that a car not quite as well fitted out as this one quite recently beat a Rolls-Royce Phantom and a Bentley Flying Spur to Autocar’s title of ‘Best car in the world’, and you’ll begin to understand how great you feel from the driving seat.
If we’ve got one man to thank for that, it’s the man who encouraged BMW to invest in a new Range Rover back when the German company still owned LR, in the late 1990s: Wolfgang Reitzle. He subsequently became boss of Ford’s Premier Automotive Group after it had bought LR, clearly feeling that the new Rangie was worth sticking with more than BMW was.
Although Reitzle’s plans to fit the Range Rover with a ‘high torque’ V12 engine got stymied – it would have been essentially the same motor that ended up in the Rolls-Royce Phantom – the newish diesel V8 remains to the motor of choice.
I reckon it could even be the finest Range Rover that will ever be made, and here speaks a man whose first ever steer was in a first-generation H-reg, VM Motori-engined Turbo D, and who regularly drives his old man’s 3.0-litre diesel ‘P38A’ (or ‘mk2’ to the non-cognoscenti). I know how far these cars have come.
And here’s the best news. Thanks to the epic plunge that Range Rover residuals have taken, you can get a two-year-old Range Rover TDV8 for less than £30,000 at the moment. Older six-pot diesels are hovering around the £12k mark.
That’s 12 grand, for what could turn out to be one of the greatest versions of one of the greatest cars in the world. It’s the sale of the century – and we’re only eight years in.