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Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic 2017 review

EXPERT RATING
8.1
Land Rover takes the Autobiography and gives it to its Special Vehicle Operations high performance division to create a truly special car – the SV Autobiography Dynamic.

Inside the glove box of every Land Rover is a driver's manual, just like in any other car. Chances are you'll only ever read it in a blind panic trying to work out how to open the fuel cap. But flip it over and on the back cover you’ll see an icon with these words under it: By Appointment To HM The Queen Manufacturer of Motor Vehicles. That is what is special about this manual and this brand compared to others. Land Rover is the choice of transport by royalty… and celebrities and the Range Rover is the flagship.

So Range Rover is pretty special then, too and the Autobiography grade which sits high in the line-up is also special. But when Land Rover takes the Autobiography and gives it to its Special Vehicle Operations high performance division the result is officially special – the SV Autobiography Dynamic. 

The SVAutobiography Dynamic is the most powerful Range Rover ever made and we took it through 500km of testing and threw the family at it as well.

So just how special is it? And how much more will you pay for the privilege? And what's the one thing that's so slow SVAutobiography Dynamic?

Oh and we know… the Queen's royal warrant is also on Heinz soup cans, Cadbury chocolate, Samsung and Bacardi rum.

Land Rover Range Rover 2017: SV A/B DYNAMIC 5.0 V8 SC
Safety rating
Engine Type5.0L
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency12.8L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$257,840

Is there anything interesting about its design?   9/10

Range Rovers have kept their distinctive shape for decades and the SV Autobiography has that same chunky-bodied tall-windowed upright look. Prestigious and imposing, all at the same time.

The way you and more importantly other Range Rover drivers can tell the SVAutobiography Dynamic apart from lesser Rangies is by the quad exhaust and the red Brembo brake calipers. The side vents, bonnet and grille also have grey accents . And if they still haven't guessed what it is yet there’s the SVO badge on the tailgate.

  • Range Rovers have kept their distinctive shape for decades and the SV Autobiography has that same chunky-bodied tall-windowed upright look. (image credit: Richard Berry) Range Rovers have kept their distinctive shape for decades and the SV Autobiography has that same chunky-bodied tall-windowed upright look. (image credit: Richard Berry)
  • The way to tell a SVAutobiography Dynamic apart from lesser Rangies is by the quad exhaust and the SVO badge on the tailgate. (image credit: Richard Berry) The way to tell a SVAutobiography Dynamic apart from lesser Rangies is by the quad exhaust and the SVO badge on the tailgate. (image credit: Richard Berry)

The SVAutobiography Dynamic's cabin makes a BMW X5 look like a Toyota RAV4 – it is exquisite. Every surface is coated in stitched leather, those diamond-quilted seats front and back are beautiful and comfortable. The dash design is stylish, the instrument cluster is modern with its virtual display and there’s those rear screens which make that second row feel more like a first-class seat on an A380.

Not many SUVs come close to this standard – from the luxury to the fit and finish the SVAutobiography is outstanding.

The SV Autobiography Dynamic appears enormous, but the dimensions show it’s shorter end-to-end than many large SUVs at 4999mm, but it’s extraordinarily wide at 2220mm (with the mirrors folded out) and tall at 1827mm.

How practical is the space inside?   8/10

The SV Autobiography is super practical in some ways and not practical enough in others. For starters there's no way to option seven seats – this a five-seater SUV only. Then there’s the rear legroom which isn’t as generous as you may think. This is due to a rather 'modest' standard wheel base of 2992mm and also because the speaker for the rear screens is built into the front seat backs reducing legroom. I'm 191 cm tall and can only just sit behind my driving position with about 2cm to spare.

The rear legroom rather 'modest' standard wheel base of 2992mm and also because the speaker for the rear screens is built into the front seat backs reducing legroom. (Richard Berry) The rear legroom rather 'modest' standard wheel base of 2992mm and also because the speaker for the rear screens is built into the front seat backs reducing legroom. (Richard Berry)

That high roof means headroom is excellent – even with the sunroof, while shoulder and elbow room is also outstanding.

The split-fold tailgate is something I find satisfyingly Range Rover, in that you can sit on the bottom part or just open the top for easy access and it doubles as an awning, too. Romantic thoughts of tweed and cups of tea from a Thermos in the Cotswolds aside that bottom section when folded down makes reaching in to retrieve items from deep inside the boot almost impossible. 

And the boot is big - big enough for us to fit in two large suit cases, plus two medium-sized and 'carry-on luggage' sized wheelie bags. Impressive.

The boot is big enough to fit in two large suit cases, plus two medium-sized and 'carry-on luggage' sized wheelie bags. (image credit: Richard Berry) The boot is big enough to fit in two large suit cases, plus two medium-sized and 'carry-on luggage' sized wheelie bags. (image credit: Richard Berry)

Inside there's two cup holders in the fold down second row centre armrest and two more up front. There’s door pockets and other door storage areas but nothing sizable enough for a large bottle. The centre console storage bin is also a fridge which will keep everything from drinks to sausages chilled.

Large, tall and wide opening rear doors and air suspension which lowers the car to Access Height make getting in and out easy.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   8/10

There are five grades in the Range Rover hierarchy and the SVAutobiography Dynamic with the supercharged V8 petrol engine is almost the king with its list price of $315,700. It's almost the king because the long wheelbase SVAutobiography sits above it $373,600, the over-the-top-of-the-range grade, if you will.

The SVAutobiography Dynamic is based on the $257,000 Autobiography and so it picks up all of that grade's features. The list is extensive so here’s just the tip of the features iceberg: there's a 10.2-inch touch screen in the front and two 10-inch screen in the second row with TV, DVD player and digital radio, four-zone climate control, 360 view parking camera, adaptive cruise control and advanced safety tech, tinted glass, mood lighting, proximity unlocking, gesture tailgate, head up display and Xenon headlights. 

The SV Autobiography adds features such as diamond quilted leather seats, leather headlining, auto parking, 24-way driver and passenger front seats with massage function, and a 29-speaker 1700W Meridian Reference Audio System. (image credit: Richard Berry) The SV Autobiography adds features such as diamond quilted leather seats, leather headlining, auto parking, 24-way driver and passenger front seats with massage function, and a 29-speaker 1700W Meridian Reference Audio System. (image credit: Richard Berry)

The SV Autobiography then adds its own features such as diamond quilted leather seats, leather headlining, auto parking, 24-way driver and passenger front seats with massage function, 21-inch five spoke 'style 505' alloy wheels with dark grey finish and a 29-speaker 1700W Meridian Reference Audio System (that’s the best one).

Our test car was fitted with some impressive options – the standout being the $4100 carbon fibre engine cover. There was also the $2500 22-inch Style 514 alloy wheels, $1150 active rear locking differential, $820 sliding panoramic roof, $590 wade sensing function and advanced tow assist for $400.

I know what you're thinking: how will the guy/gal in the Autobiography beside me know I'm not driving the same thing as them? Don't worry they will – there's some distinguishing features which we'll cover in the design section.

As for value, well the Autobiography costs $60K less and has most of the SV's features. Ah, yes, but it hasn't come out of Jaguar Land Rover's Special Vehicle Operations department – the British brand’s high performance division which turns their luxury animals into beasts.

Not many SUVs come close in price to the Range Rover SVAutobiography dynamic. Porsche's Cayenne Turbo S lists for $290,200, but it’s only the Bentley Bentayga which can make the Rangie appear like a steal with its range starting at $335,000.  

A quick word about that media system. It is great when its working but trying to figure out how to play TV through the rear screens for our toddler was a nightmare. First there was no picture, then no sound then we finally sorted it. The media system is also slow – slow to start up when the car's been switched off, slow to navigate through and slow to respond. 

The media system is great when its working but trying to figure out how to play TV through the rear screens is a nightmare. (image credit: Richard Berry) The media system is great when its working but trying to figure out how to play TV through the rear screens is a nightmare. (image credit: Richard Berry)

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   9/10

Special Vehicle Operations have taken the 5.0 litre Supercharged petrol V8  found in the Autobiography grade and tunned it to produce 30kW more power at a colossal 405kW and another 55Nm for 680Nm making it the most powerful put in a Range Rover in the history of the brand. 

The carbon fibre engine cover is an optional extra that costs $4100. (image credit: Richard Berry) The carbon fibre engine cover is an optional extra that costs $4100. (image credit: Richard Berry)

Shifting gears is a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission – a super smooth torque converter which has deservedly earned fans all over this planet.

A real four-wheel drive with a low range  our SV Autobiography Dynamic was fitted with an active rear locking differential as well.

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

Like with your uncle Phil who always sits across the table from you at Christmas you can tell the SVAutobiography Dynamic likes a drink just by looking at it. Land Rover says that under combined driving conditions you should use 12.8L/100km of 98 RON premium unleaded petrol.

That's pretty accurate – after 518km of motorways, country roads and urban commutes the trip computer was reporting an average of 15.2L/100km, and I wasn't holding back either.

What's it like to drive?   9/10

Air travel is horrendous no matter which end of the plane you're sitting in and with the SVAutobiography Dynamic being so comfortable and effortlessly quick there’s yet another good reason to avoid the airport and just keep on driving there instead. If it wasn’t for those annoyingly low speed limits on the highways connecting our cities. 

See Range Rovers from the Vogue grade up already feel like high-performance luxury hotel rooms on wheels, but when Jaguar Land Rover's Special Vehicle Operations use that as a starting point the thing that rolls out of that 'Willy Wonka' performance factory is going to be awe-inspiring.

And it is. The SVAutobiography Dynamic is not only the most powerful Range Rover in the line-up because of the the extra grunt SVO has extracted from that supercharged V8, but it’s also the best handling thanks to the SVO’s sports suspension.

Mash the accelerator and the straight-line performance will plaster the world stupidest grin on your face, but you’re not going to give a damn how you look between the howling exhaust note and the outside world rushing toward you. 

Yup, even though the SVAutobiography Dynamic looks down at the scales each morning and sees 2465kg it can sprint from 0-100km/h in 5.5 seconds.

Come to your first winding road and that SVO suspension holds this monster amazingly flat – yes there is some body roll, but that’s what you get with something almost two metres tall and with air suspension that also needs to provide comfort.

The performance is impressive when poked and it snarls like a Pit Bull, but treat it gently and it's as docile as a Labrador.

And comfortable it is to – not as cushioned as a regular Range Rover, but that would because of the optional low profile tyres and enormous 22-inch wheels our test car wore.

You don't have to drive like this, always. The bumper-to-bumper commute each day to work was as pleasant as something this dreadful can be – you're high up being cuddled by beautiful leather getting a massage from your chair listening to music while wondering where they put 29 speakers when you can only see six – is there one inside the seat, too?

What's not to like? Well the seating position is a bit upright in that captain's style chair, but you get used to it quickly – it becomes part of the I’m bigger than you experience of driving a Range Rover.

Super luxury and sports car performance, not enough for you? Well Land Rover's excellent four-wheel drive system and the optional active locking differential makes the SVAutobiography Dynamic an extremely capable off-roader.

On the highest suspension setting the SVAutobiography Dynamic's approach angle is 25.2 degrees, it's departure angle is 27.4 degrees and the ramp over angle is 24.4 degrees. It will also be able to wade through water up to 900mm without an aftermarket snorkel.

Rear axle ground clearance ranges from 228mm to 290mm.

But this is a beast that'll spend most of its time in the city or highway, where it's pink-finger easy to steer and with 12.3m turning circle. 

The performance is impressive when poked and it snarls like a Pit Bull, but treat it gently and it's as docile as a Labrador.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / 100,000 km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   9/10

This generation Range Rover received the maximum five-star ANCAP rating in 2013, since then the SVAutobiography Dynamic has been fitted with advanced safety equipment such as AEB (City and Urban), Lane Keeping Assist with blind spot warning, auto high beam, and auto parking (parallel and perpendicular).

In the second row there's two ISOFIX mounts and three top tether anchor points for child seats.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   6/10

The Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic is covered by Land Rover's three-year/100,000km warranty.

Servicing is recommended every 26,000km or annually. There is currently no service plan in place for the SVAutobiography Dynamic.

Verdict

The SVAutobiography Dynamic is outstanding in almost every way – luxury, performance, off-road capability and quality. There's are some areas that fall short of expectations – the media unit is slow and confusing and the legroom in the back and storage throughout the cabin is limited. But that's all eclipsed by the what is an SUV truly worthy of the word special. 

Is the SVAutobiography the best reason not to fly, tell us what you think in the comments section below. 

Pricing Guides

$177,495
Based on 18 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$149,800
Highest Price
$229,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
A/BIOGRAPHY V8 SC LWB 5.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $227,920 – 262,020 2017 RANGE ROVER 2017 A/BIOGRAPHY V8 SC LWB Pricing and Specs
Autobiography 5.0 V8 SC 5.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $209,880 – 241,230 2017 RANGE ROVER 2017 Autobiography 5.0 V8 SC Pricing and Specs
Autobiography 5.0 V8 SC LWB 5.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $219,670 – 252,450 2017 RANGE ROVER 2017 Autobiography 5.0 V8 SC LWB Pricing and Specs
Autobiography SDV8 4.4L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $199,320 – 229,130 2017 RANGE ROVER 2017 Autobiography SDV8 Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8.1
Design9
Practicality8
Price and features8
Engine & trans9
Fuel consumption7
Driving9
Safety9
Ownership6
Richard Berry
Senior Journalist

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