What is it?
The latest, 2011 model year Range Rover. It gets a new 4.4-litre ‘Super diesel’ engine boasting 15 per cent more power yet better economy (30.1mpg on the combined cycle) than the outgoing 3.6-litre TDV8, and it’s also built to meet the new Euro 5 regulations which come into force in 2011. It costs £67,495.
That engine, together with the all-new, eight-speed ZF auto gearbox. Inside, Land Rover has ditched the gearshift lever and adopted the rotary control knob first seen in the Jaguar XF and XJ. This also means there’s a ‘sport’ setting for the gearbox alongside gearshift paddles sprouting from behind the spokes on the steering wheel, should the driver fancy changing gear manually.
What’s it like to drive?
Very good, but different to expectations – rather than the twin turbochargers working together (as on the 3.6 TDV8), the 4.4 TDV8’s work sequentially, so on part throttle openings only one turbo is doing any work, the second turbo chiming in once the driver presses the throttle harder. The result is much better fuel economy on part throttle but the big jump in performance doesn’t make itself felt until you really start pressing on.
The new eight-speed gearbox means motorway cruising is even more relaxed; 70mph in top gear equates to just 1450rpm. With peak torque occurring from 1500rpm, the engine still feels very punchy, even at these low engine speeds.
How does it compare?
The Range Rover almost has the luxury SUV market all to itself. Okay, the new Porsche Cayenne has better on-road ability, but if you want an oil-burner then its V6 diesel feels pretty weak next to the latest Range Rover.
The only other SUV that gets close on refinement is the massive Mercedes-Benz GL or perhaps the legendary G-Wagen, which is now available again in the UK, albeit on special order only.
Anything else I need to know?
The big news for owners is this new Range Rover is the most economical one yet, capable of averaging over 30mpg according to the official figures. It also drops down a VED class (just) thanks to its new CO2 g/km figure of 253.
The Range Rover’s sales are up 51.5 per cent compared to a year ago, so its newfound ‘greenness’ should see its popularity spike further.