We settled into our leather trimmed lounge seats after admiring their deep red hue, with traditional stitching that increased the upmarket image. We turned on the TV, flicked through the channels but couldn't find anything to interest us, so went instead to one of our favourite movies on the DVD player.
Comfortable as we were, it was time to get moving to meet some friends at a new coffee spot they had discovered. So I fired up the supercharged V8 engine in the front of our hotel room, clicked the automatic into Drive and set off to cruise down the road.
The all-new Range Rover really is like a mobile hotel room – yes, you’ve probably guessed by now that we weren’t trying to pilot a Hilton suite down the road. It just felt that way.
The Range Rover Vogue SE V8 is spacious, luxurious and finished to an immaculate standard in top-line leather, timber and alloy.
As regular readers will be well aware, I consider driver inattention to be the number one cause of road crashes -- so I was no longer able to watch the movie. In any case I wanted to key the details of the new coffee place into the Rangie’s sat-nav.
Not a problem. We pushed the pause button on the DVD, keyed in the coffee shop’s address, then hit ‘play’ on the DVD. Julie put on headphones to watch the movie and I looked at the same centrally mounted screen to see the satellite navigation route.
That’s right, the same screen. From the driver’s seat I watched the sat-nav map, from the front passenger’s seat the movie was playing. Even when your eyes see it, they don’t quite believe the stunning technology.
New, fourth generation Range Rover is considerably larger than the original that launched over 40 years ago, but retains enough visual features to instantly make its heritage obvious. The castellations on the bonnet are shallower than we, and other purists, would like, and the windscreen slopes back significantly more than in the first three generations. But the Range Rover Vogue SE V8 turret stands aloof and makes an upmarket, perhaps even arrogant in the English manner, statement.
There have been unfavourable comments about the dummy air intakes on the front doors. But as most cars have false intakes on their front guards these days it’s good to see Range Rover trying something ahead of the field. May we predict other designers will follow with their doors one day soon?
Supercharging a five-litre V8 petrol engine, as was done in our review Range Rover, results in a 375 kilowatt powerplant that can rocket this mobile hotel room from rest to 100 km/h in only 5.4 seconds. That’s amazing.
Other engine options are a 4.4-litre V8 turbo-diesel (250 kW) and a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel (190 kW). Range Rover calls the V8 diesel the SD - for Super Diesel - not a lot of Pommie modesty here…
A supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol will arrive down under late this year.
The previous Range Rover was disgustingly overweight. Thankfully the designers have managed to pull almost half a tonne, 420 kg, out of the new one, to bring it down to a respectable 2150+ kilograms (depending on the model). This, weight reduction has been achieved despite the vehicle being significantly larger and more spacious. Even better, the guys and gals at the Range Rover division of LandRover have made major improvements to the engines, transmissions and aerodynamics, resulting in fuel and CO2 cuts of as much as 22 per cent. That’s clever.
Though it’s a superb luxury vehicle rear legroom is good without being limo like. The boot is huge and easy to load through the two-piece, horizontally-split tailgate. Our test vehicle had power operation of the gate to make life positively lazy.
Ride comfort is most impressive and the big Range Rover Vogue SE V8 shows its usual disdain for speed humps - we love it for that.
Handling is tenacious rather than sporting and keen drivers won’t like the over-soft feel through the steering.
The gen-four Range Rover is even more capable than its forebears in serious off-road conditions - and that’s saying something. A complex electronic system that juggles grip according to terrain combines with adjustable suspension height to provide extraordinary competence that makes even inexperienced drivers feel comfortable.
Prices start at big $168,900 and range all the way up to a sky-high $240,100 for the supercharged V8 petrol. Putting the Range Rover way above anything else comparable has never hurt sales before and we certainly don’t expect anything to change with this new fourth-generation model.
Range Rover Vogue SE 4x4 SDV8
Price: from $217,100
Engine: 4.4-litre eight-cylinder, 250kW/700Nm
Transmission: Sports automatic, 4x4 constant
Thirst: 8.7L/100km, 229g/km CO2