What is it like on the inside?
Range Rover is going hell for leather to deliver the ultimate modern luxury automotive experience, a process that no longer exclusively relies on skinning cows. TG’s D350 is trimmed in Ultrafabric and Kvadrat, sustainable alternatives to leather that prove to be both pleasingly tactile and phenomenally comfortable, if a little oppressive tonally.
That said, the all-singing long wheelbase SV fitted with the Signature Suite really is something. Highlights include a selection of plated metals, ceramics, mosaic marquetry, and contrasting colours for the front and rear seats. Nothing oppressively obsidian in here. The four-seat version liberates acres of rear-legroom for the occupants, there’s massage functionality, and a ‘club table’ rises on a 3D printed support out of a fixed, full-length centre console. It motors into view in a spectacularly well-engineered manner, hands-down winner in the admittedly niche ‘rear compartment deployable table’ battle. But it speaks volumes about the lengths Land Rover has gone to.
Look long and hard and you won’t find a shabby piece of switchgear or a duff button anywhere. It has the best interior door handles of any car on sale. The doors themselves shut with a resoundingly expensive thunk, and in a move nicked from the Rolls-Royce playbook they can be specced with power assistance; radar and ultrasonic sensors detect hazards, and the doors can even recognise inclines. You can close the driver’s door by pushing the brake pedal, via the central touchscreen, or by using a switch by the grab handles. This might be over-egging the closing-the-door pudding. Range Rovers, notoriously, are coveted by car thieving gangs; the new one uses Ultra Wide Band transceivers for improved security.
The driving position is the customary commanding Range Rover affair. The modern bit extends to an unprecedented level of technology. A new electrical architecture supports software-over-the-air updates, and covers 69 individual ECUs capable of handling 22,880 network messages. This is The Matrix on wheels. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available, and Alexa voice AI is embedded and works in the familiar manner. And it actually does work, unlike most in-car voice activation software, which remains infuriatingly hit-or-miss.
Infotainment is taken care of via an enhanced version of the existing Pivi Pro system, now with a 13.1in touchscreen, the largest ever fitted in a Land Rover product. The graphics are crisp, the user interface generally pretty good, if not as intuitive as the system in the latest Mercedes S-Class or as imaginatively designed as the one in the BMW iX. There’s the option of haptic feedback, too, although that slows things down fractionally so you might want to turn it off.
Meanwhile, Land Rover is the latest car company to over-complicate the climate control, despite the presence of rotary buttons for temperature and fan speed. Direction is done by a graphic on the central screen which makes little sense. The air vents themselves are discreetly sited at the top of what used to be called the dashboard. That’s a quaint notion in the new Range Rover, whose mix of materials and tech adds up to what may well be the best car interior in the world right now.