Land Rover Range Rover 4.4 P530 V8 SV 4dr Auto
The new Range Rover takes aim at the latest Mercedes S-Class and the Rolls-Royce Cullinan as a curator of the ultimate luxury automotive experience. It’s underpinned by an all-new chassis, a mostly aluminium configuration dubbed MLA-Flex that works in conjunction with Land Rover’s Integrated Chassis Control which the company reckons moves the car from ‘a mechanical world to a mechatronic ecosystem’. Answers on a postcard, please. High tensile steel in critical areas of the body delivers a structure that’s up to 50 per cent stiffer than the old one.
The Range Rover rides on fully independent air suspension that incorporates a new five-axle set-up at the rear and twin-valve dampers, while a new 48-volt electronic roll control system checks excess body movements. It also uses eHorizon tech in the GPS to scan the road ahead for imperfections in order to prime the suspension.
So it feels a little odd to slide behind the wheel of the D350 first. A diesel just doesn’t feel terribly 2022, although people are apparently still buying them. Land Rover’s Ingenium twin turbo 3.0-litre features 48-volt mild hybrid tech and a starter generator for improved efficiency; it averages a claimed 37.2mpg and its CO2 emissions dip below 200g/km. It’s brisk enough and though not the last word in refinement it’s never sounded better – or quieter – than it does here. On part-throttle you’d barely know it was there. Handling? Yes there is some, but a quick hustle along the twisty coastal roads of our northern Californian test route is enough to establish that the Range Rover would prefer it if you enjoyed the view – inside and out.
The P400 and in particular the P530 are obviously more fun to punt along. The bigger BMW unit has a new air intake (for wading), a redesigned sump (for 45 degrees of articulation during off-roading), and it’s been beefed up to survive Land Rover’s durability tests (they slam their cars into concrete kerbs at 25mph). It’s also rapid – 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds – but the novelty wears off just as quickly. The Range Rover’s electric power steering is linear but over-light, the ZF automatic as silky as ever. There’s grip, poise and body movements are well contained, but this isn’t a car that really wants to be cornered on its – substantial – door-handles. Better to back off and enjoy the ride, which is sublime even on 23in wheels. We had a quick play in Dynamic mode, but quickly returned to the Comfort chassis setting.
Really, the focus is on overall refinement; the Rangie repels the privations of the real world more effectively than anything this side of a Rolls-Royce Ghost. Advanced speaker tech builds on the inherent integrity of the chassis; a revised active noise cancellation system monitors wheel vibrations, and mechanical and tyre noise and uses the 1,600w Meridian audio system to send out a noise-cancelling signal. There are 35 speakers to play with, including four hidden within the head-rests.
Other highlights include all-wheel steering, which allows the rear axle to pivot at up to seven degrees. It sharpens high speed stability but more importantly improves the Range Rover’s low-speed manoeuvrability. In fact, it now has the best turning circle of any Land Rover. LA hotel car jockeys will be thrilled to hear that. If their journey to the underground parking facility involves muddy inclines, something’s gone badly wrong. Nonetheless, we can reveal that the new Range Rover remains unsurpassable off-road. Terrain Response 2 automatically taps into the various chassis systems, or you can set things up manually.
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