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Long-term review

Range Rover P400e Autobiography - long term review

£137,435 / £144,175 / £1,650pcm
Published: 14 Nov 2023
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SPEC HIGHLIGHTS

  • SPEC

    Range Rover P400e Autobiography

  • ENGINE

    2996cc

  • BHP

    440bhp

  • 0-62

    6s

TG's long-term Range Rover: we need to talk about bodyroll

We need to talk about bodyroll. Because in the Range Rover it is prodigious. The price of such a wafting ride and effortless refinement, you might assume? We’ll come on to that in due course. For now, let’s stick with the dynamics.

Around corners the Range Rover is one of the slowest, most ponderous modern cars I’ve driven. And that’s fine because it’s not like other SUVs. It’s not – and shouldn’t be – sporty. Stately, dignified progress, that’s what’s required. Maybe it’s just me, finding this an issue, but I can’t imagine this behaviour endears it to royal protection teams, for instance. It’s a four-wheeled galleon and to prevent people feeling seasick and causing a mess on the decks, roundabouts, corners, even junctions have to be taken very slowly and considerately. And don’t forget, when you sit this high, you’re more exposed to any body movements.

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Range Rover knows this, which is why flagship (P560e and P530) versions are fitted with Dynamic Response Pro – a 48v electric system that can apply 1400Nm of twist to the front and rear anti-roll bars to stop the Rangey heaving too at the first scent of lateral G. It’s a clever system, widely employed among the premium SUV class, but on all lesser Rangeys it’s a £2,900 option. And this one doesn’t have it fitted. In fact, due to supply constraints, you can’t have it at the moment even if you want it. Range Rover says it’ll be available again soon. And if you’re spending this much wedge on a Rangey I’d firmly suggest you have it.

Now to go back to the assumptions up top. For the most part the Range Rover does ride well – on smooth roads it’s calm and hushed and soft. But boy do sudden impacts (potholes, expansion joints etc) through the air suspension jar the bodyshell. They’re like punctuation marks. You can sense the huge, heavy wheels taking a battering and the suspension fails to properly muffle or contain the tremoring and vibrations.

This is a luxury car, so I cope with the excess lean, but the suspension shudders spoil the Range Rover’s air of imperious refinement. I’ve driven short wheelbase cars and don’t remember them being so susceptible, so something about the extra 200mm in the wheelbase appears to be magnifying the effects. And yet this should be the most sumptuous cruiser of all.

This is the only thing that mars its long range ability. The other night I left Newcastle at 6.30pm to drive 280 miles home. The weather was foul, the traffic sticky, the roadworks seemingly ever-present. The car was utterly imperious. It took everything in its long, long stride, and deposited me home five hours later feeling thoroughly unruffled. The only better place to be would have been the back seats.

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Speaking of which I spent a couple of hours back there recently. Now that’s the way to travel. Part of me abhors this three-tonne plutocratic behemoth, but not the part that got up at 3am that morning, is now four hours into France and just been offered the opportunity to nap in the back. With pillows. It’s cosseting, spacious, wonderfully relaxing and the fact you’re raised up above surrounding traffic means an extra sense of isolation. Plus there are window blinds. And French autoroutes are just smoother, so expansion joint kickback is less pronounced.

It's the Rangey’s sheer versatility and ability to suit itself to every task in a way that a BMW X7, Merc GLS or even a Bentley Bentayga don’t, that sets it apart. One weekend snoozing in the back, the next boot loaded with chainsaws, canoe on roof or doing a uni drop-off. We always talk about the Range Rover’s ability to chameleon itself in every situation, and it’s great to discover that’s still true. Even if not everyone in my family feels the same way: too flash to turn up to uni in apparently, so asked to park a distance away.

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