Range Rover SVA

A su­per lux­u­ri­ous SUV with a dirty big blown V8

Motor (Australia) - - FIRST FANG -

One hell of an en­gine wrapped in the luxe Au­to­bi­og­ra­phy’s body. It’s an ex­er­cise in ex­cess

IF YOU had to imag­ine your dream Range Rover, it would surely look some­thing like the SV Au­to­bi­og­ra­phy. Ev­ery­thing thrown at the in­te­rior lux­ury-wise and, un­der the bon­net, one of the shin­ing stars of the JaguarLand Rover uni­verse, the 5.0-litre su­per­charged V8 from the F-Type crank­ing out 405kW and 680Nm.

Wel­come to the SV Au­to­bi­og­ra­phy Dy­namic, the fastest, most pow­er­ful and, at $316,000, most ex­pen­sive Range Rover ever pro­duced.

Ap­proach­ing the boxy, deep pur­ple test ve­hi­cle, with 22-inch wheels and look­ing be­he­moth-like, there are few cars with as much pres­ence as this one. Set the air sus­pen­sion on the low­est set­ting for a menacing, al­most tall-wagon look; or jack it right up for a don’t-mess-with-me at­ti­tude. Ei­ther way, this is a car other road users will be ea­ger to get out of the way of.

The in­te­rior, mean­while, you will want to sit in just for sit­ting’s sake. It’s beau­ti­ful, although that’s mostly down to the leathers than any­thing else. The di­a­mond-stitched seats are cool, and every sur­face you touch feels like the most ex­pen­sive and lux­u­ri­ous leather you can get. Un­for­tu­nately, there is a cer­tain some­thing about the Range Rover’s in­te­rior that doesn’t match up to its price tag. Is it the way the but­tons feel? Or the way the graph­ics on the LCD screens look? It’s hard to put your fin­ger on, but jump from a Bent­ley Ben­tayga to a Range Rover and you might get what we mean. Although that’s still like say­ing, the Hil­ton isn’t quite as nice as the Sher­a­ton.

Sit­ting up high, the ride is also bliss­ful, com­pletely wafty at 100km/h, like you’re sus­pended on a cloud. Although we sus­pect it might quickly get un­com­fort­able if the sur­face con­di­tions got ‘chal­leng­ing’.

Of course, this is a rapid car when you open the taps, bolt­ing up free­way on-ramps like a scalded griz­zly bear. Although its ac­cel­er­a­tion does feel some­what ham­strung by the weight – 405kW and 680Nm aren’t quite as much when they’ve got 2465kg to shift.

For­tu­nately there’s a mean V8 bur­ble, even if it’s not quite as loud, sin­ful or anti-so­cial as some of its SVR sib­lings.

For all its grunt and de­cent brakes, you will laugh out loud at its han­dling. Even with electro­mechan­i­cal an­tiroll bars, it’s Body­roll Cen­tral, the car mov­ing through long and ex­ag­ger­ated arcs – with also some pretty funny squat and dive – ne­ces­si­tat­ing some con­sid­ered in­puts when driv­ing fast. There is a lot of weight mov­ing about.

Is this a per­for­mance car? It was made by the same boffins who brought us un­hinged ma­ni­a­cal cars like the F-Type SVR. But the Range Rover SV Au­to­bi­og­ra­phy Dy­namic misses out on the ‘R’ at the end of ‘SV’, pos­si­bly be­cause it’s a big, lux­ury SUV with a great lump of su­per­charged V8 – as in, not a pre­cise driv­ing de­vice. You’d cer­tainly never de­scribe it as a gi­ant hot hatch, like you might a BMW X5M. It’s just a nice car with a nice en­gine.

Look at it; lis­ten to it; sit in it We pre­fer driv­ing it slowly; it costs how much?

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