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Range Rover TDV8

Road Test

Land Rover Range Rover TDV8 driven

Driven October 2010

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Ratan Tata, billionaire boss of Tata Motors and owner of Land Rover, should pop over to Munich sometime and buy Stefan Quandt, billionaire part-owner of BMW, a beer. Over that beer, he should at some point say, "Cheers for the Range Rover, matey". As this upgrade of the Range Rover hits dealership forecourts around the globe, and customers in their thousands trundle off after happily parting with up to £100,000 for a 10-year-old design, Ratan should be mindful that the car is nothing if not a testimony to the excellence of the L322 Range Rover of 2002, the development of which was funded by BMW to the tune of £1 billion.

As Tata's profits churn healthily thanks to perennially high Range Rover sales numbers, Ratan will be considering the investment he's making in the all-new Range Rover, due out in a couple of years. Don't think the development budget will be £1,000,000,000, will it, Ratan? For that reason, it's likely to be an inferior product. Sure, it'll be lighter and more efficient and nicely designed, but by the standards of its day it'll have nowhere near the quality of the L322 and nowhere near the lifespan.

I wouldn't buy this 2011 upgrade if I owned a current V8 diesel Rangey. This one is for the Chinese and Russians. Hence the overly bling new radiator grilles and the new rear seats on the Autobiography tested here. Russians and Chinese like to be chauffeured in Range Rovers, so the rear seats now get power operation, including lumbar and recline, and heating and cooling. Oh, and you now have a switch in the back to move the front seat forward, limo-style.

There's a more-powerful bored-out version of the twin-turbo V8 diesel and a new eight-speed transmission, which operate smoothly together but are hardly giant leaps forward. And there have been some small changes to the interior, including the adoption of Jaguar's rotary transmission control. But that's it.

It's the greatest vehicle in the world, the V8 diesel Range Rover, but it always has been. Quiet, refined and capable, nothing can touch its majesty and ability on all roads in all conditions. And that's just how BMW wanted it back in 2002. Cheers, Herr Quandt. Good job. We await Tata's new Rangey with interest.

Bill Thomas

On your drive for: £2,007pcm
Performance: 0-62mph in 7.8secs, max speed 130mph, 30.1mpg
Tech: 4367cc, V8, 4WD, 313bhp, 516lb ft, 2810kg, 253g/km CO2

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