What is it?
The all-new Range Rover, which introduces an even higher level of luxury to the iconic off-roader. Available with a choice of three different engines at launch, the range kicks off with two diesels – a 254bhp, 443lb ft V6 turbodiesel (196g/km and 37.7mpg combined) and 334bhp, 516lb ft SDV8 (229g/km and 32.5mpg) - and the supercharged 5-litre V8 petrol with 503bhp and 461lb ft of torque (322g/km and 20.5mpg). Prices start at £71,295.
The big news is the new car’s all-aluminium body construction, resulting in a significant reduction in kerb weight; this peaks at a remarkable 420kg saving on the new 3-litre TDV6 version compared to the outgoing 4.4-litre TDV8 that its performance apparently equates to.
Other key technical highlights include new ‘active roll reduction’ using an updated version of Land Rover’s ‘Dynamic Response’ system, which we first experienced when the Range Rover Sport was introduced. Stop-start is standard on the TDV6 but is not available on the other models initially.
What’s it like to drive?
Very different to the previous model is the short answer. The chief difference is in the steering, which feels much more direct than before, thanks to an all-new electrically powered steering rack and revised front suspension design. The sweetest steering version of all is the TDV6, thanks to it having the lightest engine (the 254bhp TDV6 is 200kg lighter overall than the new SDV8).
This makes a bigger difference than you might expect because both the ride and engine refinement seem to be better on the smaller engined model too, even though Land Rover says spring rates and damping are very similar across the model range.
While the TDV6 offers more than adequate performance (0-60mph 7.4sec, 130mph top speed), there’s a significant jump in perceived power when you get behind the wheel of the SDV8 that’s most noticeable when overtaking. Once up to motorway speeds though, there’s little to choose between the two diesel models in terms of quietness, with the bigger diesel turning over at a mere 1400rpm at 70mph.
The 60mm wider track and lower roofline on the new car have both helped to give it a far more agile feel through corners than any previous Range Rovers (not hard, we know) and even though the TDV6 lacks the trick new anti-roll technology, it rolls far less than we expected it to when pushed.
How does it compare?
With the introduction of the new version, the Range Rover is entering an even higher echelon of luxury than we've yet seen in this segment of the market. Previously, there has always been a whiff of ‘utilitarian’ to Land Rover's finest but that's feeling that's banished on this new model. The new Range Rover can compete head-on with luxury titans like the Bentley Continental GT and Rolls-Royce Ghost like never before.
Anything else I need to know?
It’s expensive when you compare it to the outgoing model. Ignoring the £71,295 TDV6 entry model, like-for-like pricing on the V8 diesel model has increased by close to £15-20,000 compared to its predecessor. Land Rover says the average price of the new Range Rovers it already has in its order bank is close to £94,000, and on the supercharged Autobiography models it’s running at close to £120,000.
So while the Range Rover has always appeared relatively good value for what it offers, it’s now priced much closer to its true competitors. Even so, we expect the new Range Rover will find a ready audience because it remains the ultimate luxury off-roader but now offers remarkably better on-road manners than it ever did before. That’s a unique combination.