The Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic has a very silly name but with all those words comes plenty of power, tech and gorgeous comfort.
Sometimes you have to wonder where it will all end. In my work for mainstream car site carsguide.com.au, I will occasionally climb out of a Kia and think, “Phwoar. I can’t think what else they could cram into a car for twice th money.”
I mean, sure, there are Rolls Royces. And Koenigseggs and Maybachs and whatever else, but it seems like cheap cars are now chock-full of stuff you don’t need or, sometimes, want.
The Range Rover SVAutobiography is a car for those who haven’t stopped dreaming or thinks a $35,000 Mazda CX-5 has all the stuff you could ever need. It’s a car for that inner
This is a car that, in Australia, costs six times a Kia Stinger and, somehow, justifies that cost.
Words: Peter Anderson
Co-pilots: Mark Dewar and Spencer Leech
(Incredible) Images: Niko French
Look and Feel
One of the striking things about the SVA is the massive set of stunning 21-inch alloy wheels. This stunning colour, Firenze Red, is one of the classiest reds on the planet.
There’s no hiding the Rangie’s bulk though. I am a big fan of the current Land Rovers and Range Rovers and I reckon the SVAutobiography looks great without being unnecessarily (more) overbearing than it already is.
The grille and front bumpers aren’t the gaping maws you see on some performance SUVs and there aren’t any dumb fake aero details to busy up it appearance. It remains as classy as ever without the silly accoutrements.
The cabin is genuinely extraordinary. The rear seats stretch out airline-style for those big cross-country bombing runs. There is also a set of entertainment screens, the usual wifi bridging service and a set of brilliant headphones. Why you’d want to drown out the V8 is beyond me, but okay.
From the driver’s seat you’ve got the excellent digital dashboard and the Touch Pro Duo screens for the media and car functions. And Apple CarPlay natch. The sound system has more speakers than I can count on hands and toes and when you turn it up, you know all about it.
Instead of wood or aluminium, there are slabs of carbon fibre and, unusually, it works. The leather is softer than whatever you can think of that isn’t actually liquid and it’s sensationally comfortable. This car carried four likely lads to and from a secret location on a long, long day of filming and there wasn’t a moment where we didn’t discover something new.
The beating heart of this beast is one of my favourite engines – bellicose, angry and hugely powerful, JLR’s supercharged V8 lives underneath the football-pitch-sized bonnet. Displacing 5.0-litres over eight cylinders in a classic V formation (yes, it’s a Ford, shoosh), the SVA packs 416kW (567PS) and 700Nm.
Granted it has to shift over 2500kg, but with all-wheel drive (of course) and an
Twenty-five hundred kilos. In 5.4 seconds. Have a little think about that, perhaps have a lie down. It’s epic.
Obviously, being a Range Rover, all four wheels are supplied with go and LR’s Terrain Control system is along for the ride.
The SVA rolls on a set of 21-inch alloys (the 22s on this cars are optional) wrapped in very road biased Continental Crosscontact tyres. So it leaves some off-road ability intact, but really, very roady at 275/40, let’s face it.
Slung under the 2500kg monster is a complicated air suspension setup that can raise and lower the car. The SVA rides 8mm lower than the Vogue and the suspension bits like springs, dampers, links and knuckles are all set up to be a bit sportier.
Incredibly, even with all the performance-focussed changes, the SVA will still wade in up to 900mm of water, which seems like a lot with a petrol V8 under the bonnet..
This car is so, so big. But you know that going in – a small Range Rover is called an Evoque and even then, it’s not very small.
Driving around town, the air suspension smoothes out the pockmarked tarmac and handles the commute beautifully. The 5.0-litre supercharged V8 is super torquey low down so you just need to think about the accelerator moving a millimetre or so to get it moving.
Passengers – and this is surely the point of this car – will adore it. Absurdly comfortable and usually quiet, it’s bristling with stuff to keep rear seat passengers cool, calm and collected. The massage seats, various blinds and apparatus to keep them shielded from the glare of the sun or the media, all of it conspires to make life lovely.
Front seat occupants score plenty of comfort features, too – those seats massage, heat and cool your back and tushy. As the driver, you are way up in the air and can see the curvature of the earth. It’s not actually that promising. But press the buttons and get into Dynamic mode and everything changes.
No, actually, it doesn’t all change. The V8 is still a hard-revving, charismatic engine that never fails to smear a smile across your face. It hurls the car down the road like one of those space probes NASA crashes into comets. The way this thing moves is astonishing.
It’s also not bad in corners. The air suspension that keeps you on the straight and level also keeps you from tipping over in the curves. It can lower the car even further than it it already is to help the beast reach a 225km/h (138mph) top speed.
It almost doesn’t matter how hard you have to brake for the corners, the power and torque of the V8 will have you flying away from a “normal” Range Rover at an indecent rate of knots.
Obviously, yes. I mean, it’s hugely expensive but is so full of stuff. As one of my passengers put it, it’s a low-flying private jet and he didn’t mean it as a joke. That addictive, charismatic V8, the Range Rover presence and comfort and genuinely good road dynamics all combine to make the Range Rover SVAutobiography properly special.
I cannot for a second think why you’d get a Bentley Bentayga over this much better-looking mega SUV.
Peter Anderson is the Editor and founder of the theredline.com.au. He’s been writing about cars for years and finds it difficult to talk about anything else.