Teamspeed First Drive: 2013 Range Rover 5.0 Supercharged
The Range Rover just keeps on getting better Text by Peter Burgess- Teamspeed European Editor What is it?
Fourth generation Range Rover goes all-aluminum for increased performance and improved economy. Why do I care?
The Range Rover is much cleverer than before, combining new levels of technology with an ambiance thatís equal to a Jaguar. How fast is it?
5.0-liter supercharged V8, 510hp@6,000rpm, 461lb ft@2,500rpm, 0-60mph 5.1sec, 155mph vmax How much is it?
$83,500 Ė $130,950
We started off on the beach. Itís kinda inevitable with any Land Rover event. The company may want you to choose the new Range Rover instead of an S-Class Mercedes, but they also need you to know itís the equal of anything that conquers the Rubicon.
So we pile off into the dunes of Essouria in Morocco, lunging at steep inclines at seemingly ludicrous speeds with the front wheels leaving the ground as we crest the top. Then down the other side at just a few miles an hour, leaving the electronics to sort out the grip and descent speed.
Jeep owners who scoff at the luxury and the idiot-proof ability of the Range Rover now have another string to their bow. Land Roverís established Terrain Response system, whereby you twist a knob to set the vehicle up for one of five pre-conditions Ė snow, rocks, sand, you get the idea Ė has been taken to a new level. With Terrain Response 2, simply press that knob in for Auto, and it sorts out the correct setting for you.
As result, steering and keeping an eye on your speed is all the skill you need to tackle most off-road situations in the 2013 Range Rover. Yet beneath the layers of electronic automation, the driver can still explore hidden attributes, like the ability to raise the air suspension to an additional level to increase the river wading ability to a newfound 35 inches.
2013 Range Rover on the road
Over the years the Range Rover had became increasingly heavy and increasingly reliant upon brute power to provide the performance. The 2013 model is very different indeed, primarily because the structure is now entirely aluminum.
That gives a massive weight saving. 1000 pounds is the headline figure, though thatís slightly misleading and the real number is closer to 660 pounds when comparing like with like. Still, itís a mighty useful saving.
Most world markets focus on the diesels. The popular 4.4-litre V8 gets a 10% hike in power to 335hp, allowing the 255hp 3.0-liter V6 turbo diesel from the Range Rover Sport to slot in below. Itís this new model that maximizes the Range Roverís weight saving.
The 5.0-liter gasoline V8s come in regular 375hp and supercharged 510hp. Quad cams and dual independent variable valve timing are part of the deal on both, as is a new-to-Land Rover 8-speed ZF automatic transmission.
I tried just the supercharged version, a fine engine in a fine car, punching to 60mph in 5.1 seconds and with an ďoptionalĒ top speed of 155 mph. That translates to 250 kilometers an hour, a figure that Europeans, for some reason, self impose on all but supercars in a spurious attempt to appear responsible. But if you donít talk nicely to your dealer, your new supercharged Range Rover will do just 140mph, or a mere 130mph if you go for the naturally aspirated version.
At sub-100mph speeds the new model feels decidedly more agile than before, with adaptive damping and Dynamic Response keeping it relatively flat and stable in the curves. A terrific set of Brembo brakes comes as part of the package too.
The design is obviously Range Rover, but also obviously new. The roof is a touch lower, the screen raked back more, the front wheels pushed further forward. Arguably it looks less majestic but crucially itís far more modern. The Queen might turn her nose up but Will and Kate will love it. (Charles will stick with his ancient Defender and carry on muttering to his roses).
The interior may be all new but there is a familiar, reassuringly solid fascia. Yet it has changed completely, with the button count down by almost 50%, giving a neater, more sophisticated appearance. Shoulder room seems slightly greater and thereís a useful increase in rear legroom.
The lower roof apparently doesnít have much detrimental effect. Seat comfort in the rear is superb. Optional are Business Class seats Ė two plush individual armchairs with a wide centre console. They are well served with impressive climate control thatís better than most cars get for front occupants.
The issue with Business Class is that the reclining rear seats donít fold forward, so no extension of the luggage capacity is possible. As even regular Range Rovers get reclining rear seats, Business Class demands some serious compromises. The cars we drove in Morocco all had optional Luxury Seats that were as soft and reassuring as the womb. Leather is from Bridge of Weir. Itís soft and sensuous, and with a modest application of wood and aluminum, the interior is tasteful and a full luxury class contender.
Start playing with the options list and youíll come across the Meridian audio system that offers 29 speakers and 1,700 watts. Itís nice, though youíll need full fat CDs rather than MP3 to really benefit.
You risk running into some national bias with some Brits when it comes to reviewing Range Rovers and Jaguars. Rightly they admire the virtues of these cars but they often have one or two blind spots.
For a car at this price level the satnav display simply doesnít measure up to the quality of the German marques, and the TFT display for the speed and revs looks cheap. And if youíre after top-notch reliability, then look to Japan not Land Rover Ė nor Jeep for that matter.
Yet Land Rover owners are a loyal bunch who are forgiving when it come to the SUV they love. Thereís no doubt thereís a hell of lot to admire about this new Range Rover. That fact that is beats most rivals Ė yes luxury sedans too Ė for its accomplished interior, and can climb mountains and wade rivers long after the Tarmac has disappeared, and goes like hell, is enough to make it a winner. Youíll feel good in the new 2013 Range Rover.