Yes, this Range Rover SV Carmel Edition really does cost $345,000 | Top Gear
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Yes, this Range Rover SV Carmel Edition really does cost $345,000

Absurdly expensive limited edition is only for absurdly rich Americans

Published: 23 Aug 2022

New Range Rovers have never been cheap, but this Carmel Edition might be wading into some seriously deep water in that regard.

As you might expect from a) Land Rover’s SV Bespoke division and b) a luxury car limited to just 17 examples, exclusively for the American market, it’s properly pricey. What you – and we – might not expect is that ‘properly pricey’ extends as far as $345,000. Convert from freedom francs to British bob and you’re looking at £291,795.

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Still reeling, we went to the new Range Rover configurator and threw just about every option we could at a top-spec, V8-powered SV. Even so, the driveaway price still pulled up at £221,927, even after we included as many accessories as we could stomach (we will not even pretend to want Union Jack tyre valve covers) and unseemly red-painted calipers. So that leaves £70,000 for the Carmel Edition to fill in. But how?

It’s not the drivetrain, which is the same 523bhp, turbocharged V8 as the ‘regular’ V8 SV. Not the forged 23-inch wheels, either – they’re a £3,600 optional extra that we ticked on our run-through. We also plumped for the long-wheelbase version, with the ultra-luxe four-seat configuration that comes as standard in the Carmel Edition. Those white ceramic controls are... certainly something, but they’re also available as part of a £3,000 interior pack, which we ticked. Erm... what gives?

As far as we can tell, buyers of the Carmel Edition get bespoke interior leathers, a bit of embroidery and a couple of sets of golf clubs. Oh, and a unique paint colour called Satin Bronze. You can get satin paint on the regular Range Rover – for £7,000 and change – and can choose between gold or brown, if that’s your thing. But you can’t get this lovely caramel shade.

And no, it’s not called the Carmel edition because that’s how Americans pronounce ‘caramel’. It is, of course, named for the particularly pretty (and pricey) part of Californian coastline that’s officially Carmel-by-the-Sea, but better known simply as Carmel.

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If you wanted some insight into the demographics of Carmel, it’s just down the road from Pebble Beach and Monterey. Brad Pitt has a house there, apparently, and Clint Eastwood was the mayor for a while in the Eighties. So a $345,000 Range Rover is likely affordable by many of its residents, even if such a machine is hardly in keeping with the village’s rustic aesthetic.

And even if it seems that the Carmel Edition looks to be something of a gouge. Land Rover says it’s donating “a portion of the profits from each vehicle to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary”, which had better be in the order of £50,000 per car to make the maths work. Otherwise, consider us all at sea.

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