By: Mike Ginsca
Recently, Land Rover has been marketing the Range Rover as the benchmark for luxury and off-road capability. Whether you’re driving to a red carpet event or traversing across the Andes, Land Rover has claimed that no other vehicle can offer the same ruggedness mixed in with luxurious comfort as the Range Rover can provide. Now they have redesigned their flagship SUV and have attempted to raise the benchmark even further.
Performance – The new 4th generation Range Rover is quite a hefty looking SUV but it is actually 400+kg lighter than the outgoing model. This is the first SUV to feature an all aluminum monocoque chassis, similar to a sports car, and the weight reduction not only improves fuel efficiency but also greatly improves driving performance. 0-100km/h is achieved in just under 5 seconds, that’s faster than a Porsche Cayman S. Powering this “lightweight” SUV is a 5.0L supercharged V8 that produces 510hp and 461 lb-ft of torque and fuel economy improves to 10.6L/100km on a highway and 15.5/100km in a city. I know, those seem like outrageously absurd fuel consumption figures but when you think about it, it’s not bad for a supercharged V8 that’s hauling a 2200kg body around. The engine is mated to a ZF 8-speed automatic transmission that is more than capable of providing smooth shifts on city roads as well as delivering the engine’s power to the wheels when the SUV is off the roads. The Range Rover Supercharged is also equipped with a high and low gear transfer box for off-road conditions and multiple locking differentials to prevent it from getting stuck in the middle of nowhere.
To control the transmission, the transfer case, and the locking differentials, the SUV is equipped with Land Rover’s updated Terrain Response 2. It is an electronic feature that monitors and adjusts accordingly to ensure that maximum traction is available in changing surface conditions. The driver can select from 6 predetermined settings (grass, gravel, snow, mud, sand, and rock crawl) or the computer can be set to automatic in which case it can detect what surface the Range Rover is on and it will adjust the vehicle accordingly. Unfortunately in the very short time that I was test driving this Range Rover Supercharged, I was unable to test the Terrain Response 2 system so I can’t comment on how well it performs in the real world.
Comfort – The redesigned interior of the Range Rover Supercharged feels much more up-to-date and in-tune with today’s times. The dash and center console are very minimalistic and feature simple to use and elegantly designed buttons and knobs. The infotainment system is controlled via the 8” touchscreen in the center of the dash which controls the navigation system, radio, phone, and the camera system. The camera system in this Range Rover allows the driver to see the extremities of the SUV when parking or crawling over rocks. There are two in the front bumper, two on the sides, and one in the back. There are more cameras on this SUV than there are on a movie set. In front of the driver, there is a massive 12.3” digital display. This screen replaced the traditional analog gauges and replaces them with digital ones as well as displaying key vehicle information such as which seats belts are secured or a trip computer or the current fuel consumption. Overall the newly redesigned interior features 50% less buttons than the previous model and has a design that can stand the test of time but it’s not the best new feature of the interior.
The best thing about the interior is how it feels to be inside of the Range Rover Supercharged. The large windows and panoramic roof give it a feeling of spaciousness. The seats are luxurious and feel like a comfortable sofa in your home. And outside noises are kept to a minimum to further add to the relaxing environment inside the cabin. Range Rovers are renounced for their interior comfort and this new one definitely raised the bar for luxury and comfort in all driving conditions.
Odds and Ends – What else is there to say about it? It looks much better than before. It drives like a big sedan rather than a big bus. And it has an interior that other auto manufacturers just can’t match at the moment. There is however a chip in its armour and that is the price tag. This Supercharged model starts at $115,000 CAD and when the options and accessories are added on, that number can quickly climb to $150,000 CAD. For most people that is a lot of money but if your name starts with Dr. or Sheikh, then the amount of features and performance that this Range Rover Supercharged provides for the money can be considered a bargain.
Thank you to Autoform Performance Inc. for providing the car.
Editor at large and gearhead. Can drive anything on 4 or 2 wheels... sometimes 3 wheels too.