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Road test: Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography

14 October 2019

The Range Rover Velar brings a dimension of presence, modernity and minimalist design to the Range Rover family and in doing so it turns heads wherever it goes.

Now Land Rover’s Special Vehicle operations team have been given free reign and have created a very special, special edition model by improving an already great vehicle even further

Range Rover have taken their most beautiful mid-size SUV to the next level with the exclusive SVAutobiography treatment, which sees the addition of added performance and improved luxury and exclusivity. Now powered by a 5.0 litre V8 supercharged engine that produces 405kW and 680Nm it morphs from a sedate cruiser to a highway cruiser at the slightest prod of the throttle.

This Velar is now capable of a 0-100kmh sprint in 5.0 seconds and can complete the quarter mile in 13.1 seconds at 177,1km/h. That is enough to make hot hatches look silly and embarrass many proper sports cars.

Only a very limited number of units of the SVAutobiography will go on sale in South Africa and it will be sold for one year only meaning that this is a very exclusive Velar and one that will return a good resale when the time comes.

On the surface the Velar exudes elegant simplicity but once you look deeper it offers so much. The design is beautifully balanced, from its continuous waistline through to the taut tapered lines of the rears. The generous wheelbase contributes significantly to its elegance while helping to ensure a spacious interior.

The team at Special Vehicle Operations had a unique challenge, to increase performance without compromising the inherent composure, capability and refinement inherent in the Range Rover Velar. And the SV Autobiography does this, delivering astonishing performance without any pomp and ceremony.

A range of visual enhancements distinguishes this exclusive model and unique trim finishes. On the outside, the award-winning mid-size SUV boasts a new front bumper with larger air intakes to feed cool air to the Supercharged V8 engine and cool the uprated braking system. A new grille and lower side mouldings combine with a revised rear bumper that features integrated quad exhaust finishes.

The Range Rover lettering on the bonnet and tailgate has been enhanced, with a knurled finish on the metal element of the two-piece letters adding a fresh degree of sophistication to the exterior. All models feature a contrasting Narvik Black roof as standard.

The brakes have been uprated with high performance SV brakes, enveloped by lightweight 22-inch forged wheels.

These distinctive forged aluminium wheels are lightweight, weighing less than the 20-inch wheels. The larger wheels support the performance focus of the SVAutobiography with more rubber on the road and space for the larger brakes. 395mm front and 396mm rear discs feature a two-piece construction to optimise weight and dissipate heat more effectively to cope with the higher braking forces generated during high performance driving. Red brake callipers featuring Land Rover lettering highlight the extra stopping power.

Calibrations for the AWD system, Active Rear Locking Differential, eight-speed transmission, steering and air suspension have all been honed and are bespoke to the SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition, delivering a more focused driving experience. Engineers at Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations spent 63 900 hours fine-tuning the unique calibration to optimise the ride, handling and responsiveness.

The AWD system was also updated with a transfer case capable of withstanding the higher loads generated by the 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine The advanced Intelligent Driveline Dynamics system precisely and imperceptibly distributes engine torque to suit the conditions and can direct as much as 100 percent to the rear depending on the conditions.

The SV’s Variable Active Exhaust System features valve technology to optimise the exhaust note, depending upon the driving conditions and provides the Velar with an unmistakeable V8 rumble. Nothing too hooligan, but just enough to keep the petrol head in you happy.

The sporty exterior is complimented by an even more luxurious interior consisting of a carefully curated combination of trim finishes and upholstery. The twin-stitched, perforated and quilted Windsor leather is unique to this model too. Customers can choose from four interior colour combinations; Ebony, Cirrus, Vintage, Tan and Pimento and the front seats are 20-way adjustable, heated and cooled with memory and massage functions.

Special touches inside extend to the unique sports steering wheel, which features a specially contoured rim and tactile aluminium gearshift paddles. The rotary gear selector and circular control dials for the seamlessly integrated Touch Pro Duo infotainment system all feature a sophisticated knurled finish. The optional carbon fibre pack for the interior adds a more contemporary feel to the cabin.

The most driver focused model in the range is as practical as ever, as the generous boot capacity remains unaffected, while the flexible 40:20:40 split rear seats allow customers to vary the load space depending on their requirements.

The Velar remains a proper Land Rover with commendable 4×4 ability thanks to a suite of technology including Terrain Response 2, All Terrain Progress Control, a locking rear differential, Low Traction Launch, Hill Descent Control and Gradient Release Control.

When pushing the car hard on the road you can feel it is a big car but the Velar remains rather nimble given its size.

As an everyday luxury SUV, which offers a great combination of space, equipment and exceptional dynamism the Velar, is already a great choice. Now it offers a package that will reward the driving enthusiast handsomely across all conditions.

Specifications: Range Rover Velar SVAutobiograpy


Engine: Eight-cylinder Supercharged petrol

Displacement: 4 995cc

Power: 405kW @ 6 000r/min

Torque: 680Nm @ 2 500r/min

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

4WD system: All-wheel drive

Differential lock: Rear

Tyre size: 265/40 R22

Tyre brand: Pirelli Scorpion Zero All Season

Rim size: 22-inch

Suspension front: Double wishbone, air-suspension

Suspension rear: Integral-link, air-suspension

Brakes front: Ventilated discs

Brakes rear: Ventilated discs


60km/h: 56km/h

80km/h: 77km/h

100km/h: 97km/h

120km/h: 115km/h


0-60km/h: 2.4 seconds

0-100km/h: 5.0 seconds

60-120km/h: 4.1 seconds

Quarter mile: 13.1 seconds @ 177.1km/h


60-0km/h: 1.9 seconds and 14.6 metres

120-0km/h: 3.4 seconds and 57.2 metres


Engine speed at 120km/h: 16800r/min

Average fuel consumption: 13,3 litres/100km

Fuel tank capacity: 82 litres

Range: 616km

Ground clearance, front: 230mm

Ground clearance, rear: 230mm

Weight: 2 200kg

Price: R1 743 325