Class and technology intermingled

And there certainly is something to that argument, for no other 4×4 really compares to the Range Rover in terms of elegance, style, sophistication and poise. Or expense, come to think of it.

Just two models are available in South Africa: the 3,6-litre TDV8 diesel (640 Nm and 200 kW) and the illustrious 5,0-litre V8 supercharged petrol (625 Nm and 375 kW). The turbodiesel is superb, accelerating from 0 – 100 km/h in 9,2 seconds, reaching a top speed of 200 km/h, and doing it all smoothly and in an entirely refined manner.

And while the diesel might be superb (and will probably outsell the Supercharged a few to one), the supercharged, amazingly, leaves it for dead in virtually every arena. Figures of 0 – 100 km/h in 6,2 seconds, and a top speed of 225 km/h hardly do the drivability of this engine justice, and the alacrity with which is propels such a heavy car (2,7 tons) needs to be experienced to be believed.

Fuel consumption is claimed to be 14,9 l/100km for the petrol V8, and 11,1 l/100km for the diesel V8, but we suggest that it’d be easy to double this if you put your mind and your foot to it. The 104,5-lite fuel tank means that the petrol should be able to achieve a range of 700km or so, while the diesel should do about 940km on a tank.

Both engines have been mated to six-speed automatic gearboxes that feature an intelligent sport mode, which can sense and adapt transmission characteristics to particular driving styles. The vehicles can also be driven in a “manual” manner.

The classic Range Rover shape has been subtly refined, without losing the essence of the original Range Rover design. It’s a bit slimmer and more streamlined, with revised headlights, grille and bumper. But these are changes that will escape all but the most fervent car enthusiasts, and rightly so considering the venerability of the preceding Range Rover’s design.

Another new element is the TFT (Thin Film Transistor) instrument display. Instead of a traditional speedometer and tachometer there is a digital replacement, the speedometer’s needle “ticking” up like a watch. In between these two dials is an extensive display, showing such information as system warnings, outside temperature and vehicle information, or comprehensive off-road information (which mode you’re in, which diff is locked, where are the wheels pointing, etc). Personally, I missed the beautifully crafted dials and needles of the earlier models, but technology, unfortunately, marches relentlessly on.

The Range Rover is available in the two models, namely the 3.6 Diesel V8 (R1 164 000) and the 5.0 Supercharge Petrol V8 (R1 204 000). For an additional R100 000 you can order the even more luxurious Autobiography model, or if you want a completely bespoke vehicle, that can be arranged on order.

For a more extensive review, see the November issue of Leisure Wheels.