The Land Rover Range Rover is now in its fourth generation. Most significantly, Land Rover shaved an incredible 700 pounds from its curb weight during the 2013 redesign, and the current Range Rover weighs only 4,850 pounds. This was achieved thanks to copious use of aluminum, which now makes up much of the unibody as well as both front and rear subframes.
Five Range Rover models are offered: base, HSE, Supercharged, Autobiography and SVAutobiography. Base and HSE models are powered by a supercharged 3.0L V6 engine capable of 340 horsepower. In the Supercharged trimmed Range Rover, a supercharged 5.0L V8 is utilized. The V8 makes 510 horsepower -- enough to make the Range Rover startlingly quick. The SVAutobiography takes things a step further with a 550 hp version of the same engine. Maximum speed on models so equipped is 155 mph. A turbocharged 3.0L V6 diesel makes an excellent compromise between power and efficiency. It makes 254 horsepower but an intense 440 lb-feet of torque. The highway fuel economy is estimated at 29 mpg.
All Range Rovers come with an 8-speed ZF automatic gearbox, which features steering wheel paddles for complete driver control.
All Range Rovers are equipped with Terrain Response 2 Auto, Land Rover's next-generation system of off-road control. The system provides enhanced capability across every terrain and automatically adapts to driving conditions and road surfaces. Additionally, Range Rovers feature a permanent 4-wheel drive system that splits torque 50/50 front to rear, along with a 2-speed transfer case for high and low ranges.
Range Rovers include 19-inch alloy wheels, auto-leveling xenon headlights, power-folding and heated exterior mirrors, heated and rain-sensing wipers as standard equipment. Front and rear parking sensors with display, grained leather in one of three colors, a choice of veneer appliques, power seating with heated front seats, a 380-watt Meridian sound system, 3-zone climate control, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, hard disk navigation on an 8-inch touchscreen and satellite and HD radio are also included.
Upgrading to the HSE adds 20-inch wheels, several more interior leather choices, soft-close doors and heated rear seats. Supercharged models are similarly equipped but feature 21-inch wheels, in addition to the more powerful engine. Finally, the Autobiography comes with all the bells and whistles, including adaptive xenon headlights, 17 interior leather options, perforated climate-controlled front seats that also feature multi-mode massage functionality, power reclining rear bench seat, a leather headliner, 4-zone climate control, programmable ambient lighting, adaptive cruise control, a blind-spot monitor, an even more powerful Meridian audio system and a rear seat entertainment with twin touchscreen displays. Autobiography, Supercharged and HSE Range Rovers are all available in long-wheelbase versions, which adds 7.3 inches to rear seat legroom.
Options allow for even more exclusivity in the Range Rover. The options list offers massaging front seats, front console coolers, surround cameras and full-size panoramic roofs.
Finally, safety is paramount on the Range Rover, and it comes loaded with a full slate of airbags and driving aids such as traction and stability control, cornering braking control and roll control.
Modern certainly applies to the Range Rover's exterior styling, which looks even better out in the wild than it did captive in a studio. There is a sculptural simplicity to this SUV that is really very striking. It's a confident design yet it retains enough restraint to stop just short of being showy, although you can tip it over the edge if you spec certain colors. I saw white, burgundy, gray and two gold variants on Land Rover's launch event, and you can probably imagine which of those would attract more attention.
Inside is really where the luxury starts, but the modernity also continues. Like the exterior, there is a sense that the design has been pared back to leave you with a nicely uncluttered and rather calming ambiance. Thankfully, however, not all the controls have been migrated to touchscreens, so you can still simply and quickly access things like the drive modes and adjust the HVAC system. Alexa is also on hand to help for the first time. Ease of use is crucial to luxury.
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