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Range Rover 2020 review: SVAutobiography Dynamic

The Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic is a supercharged V8 luxury SUV. And it sounds amazing.
EXPERT RATING
7.8
If you're in the market for a Range Rover, you're clearly doing well for yourself. If you're in the market for this particular model - the Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic - you're doing a lot of things right in life. It's a supercharged V8 monster truck that's big on luxury, comfort and performance. And price. Oh yes. It's expensive.

If money is no object, it’s fair to say a Range Rover is going to be one of the vehicles on your shopping list. Especially one like this, the 2020 Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic.

It is arguably the epitome of a high-luxury sporty SUV, quite literally throwing shade on the likes of the BMW X5 M and X6 M, soon-to-arrive Mercedes-AMG GLE 63, and upcoming Audi RS Q8

I say literally because this thing is a bit of a mammoth in terms of its physical size (it’s bigger than all of those rivals) and its asking price is big, too. Also, it takes a different approach to all of those rival models, not just because it’s British, and it’s supercharged. 

So should the Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic be on your dream car list? Read on to find out.

Land Rover RANGE ROVER AUTOBIOGRAPH 2020: V8 S/C SV DYNAMIC SWB (415kW)
Safety rating
Engine Type5.0L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency12.8L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$346,528

Is there anything interesting about its design?   9/10

Almost eight years after its introduction, the design of the Range Rover is still glorious. Unapologetically square-edged, with some technical looking graphic elements that have kept it fresh over the years.

And of course, this SVAutobiography Dynamic model looks even more desirable than most Rangies, with a more aggressive look to it.

Almost eight years after its introduction, the design of the Range Rover is still glorious. Almost eight years after its introduction, the design of the Range Rover is still glorious.

Compared to, say, the 2017 model Richard Berry drove back then, the model I tested had a different front bumper treatment that is less fussy, and new headlights and inlays that are more modern and robot-like, somehow. The grille is different as well, with a bit of AMG diamond-style inspiration, to my eye at least.

The headlights have come a long way over the years, with these ones being ‘pixel-laser LED’ headlights with daytime running lights. There are also front fog lights, and the rear has LED tail-lights as well. 

There are still the shark gills on the side (I love them), and its tall body, big glasshouse look has aged exceptionally well. To me, it has always looked like the bottom two-thirds of the Range Rover are planted, while the glasshouse area at the top - with its darkened pillars (more noticeable when you’ve actually got colour below) somehow looks more rebellious.

This SVAutobiography Dynamic model looks even more desirable than most Rangies. This SVAutobiography Dynamic model looks even more desirable than most Rangies.

The SVAutobiography variant incorporates a standard “Narvik Black Contrast Roof and mirror caps”, so you don’t have to pay for the two-tone look, and there are also model-specific integrated metal tailpipe finishers, too. That’s in addition to chrome badging with black knurled elements and lettering on the badges, side accent graphics, bright chrome door handle surrounds and a black tailgate finisher.

In terms of dimensions, I’ve always thought the Range Rover looks bigger than it actually is, and that comes down to the angular nature of its lines.

It is only (yes, only) 5000mm long on a 2922mm wheelbase, but it is 2073mm wide and 1861mm tall, which is why it has such a muscled, broad-shouldered look.

There are still the shark gills on the side, and its look has aged exceptionally well. There are still the shark gills on the side, and its look has aged exceptionally well.

Does that translate to a luxurious and spacious cabin experience? Well, let me just state that if you want the ultimate in back-seat comfort, you might best consider the long-wheelbase Rangie - but you can’t get it in Dynamic spec. Still, it runs the same powertrain and has all the right stuff, but it’s 5200mm long on a 3120mm wheelbase. It doesn’t look too big, either, but there’s a price to pay in terms of the turning circle - 13.0m vs this SWB version’s 12.4m

Check out the interior images to see if you think you could cope with the back seat space.

How practical is the space inside?   7/10

I expected better, both in terms of boot space and rear seat room.

Up to the line of the parcel shelf, the boot fit in our CarsGuide luggage set (124L, 95L and 36L cases), though something this large really ought to offer a bit more space in the cargo zone.

The claimed cargo capacity is 900 litres "wet". Yes, "wet" - Land Rover uses this measurement as it signifies if the space was filled with liquid, and we assume that the cargo volume figure is to the headlining. The company says the capacity is 434L to the parcel shelf.

The leather quality and trim is excellent, and the comfort of the seats is excellent. The leather quality and trim is excellent, and the comfort of the seats is excellent.

I’m fond of the split-opening tailgate, as it means your shopping won’t fly out when you open the boot if you’re parked on an incline. And the fact that the bottom section will close automatically if you hit the top close button is nice, too.

Backseat space in the SVAutobiography Dynamic model is not that good, either. With the driver’s seat set for me (182cm), and with myself slid in behind, my shins were touching the seat in front, and I didn’t have very much knee room. Plus the media screen that sits in front of the rear passengers eats into the space quite a bit, and it made me feel a little claustrophobic. Weird, in a car this large.

The leather quality and trim is excellent, and the comfort of the seats is excellent. While the legroom could be better, if you have very lucky children that spend a lot of time in the back of a car like this, they are as I said very lucky. 

Backseat space in the SVAutobiography Dynamic model is not that good, either. Backseat space in the SVAutobiography Dynamic model is not that good, either.

The middle seat transforms into a folding and extendable centre armrest amenity area, allowing for a “captain’s chair” experience in the rear. There are centre cup holders hidden in the extendable covered section between the rear seats, there’s also a remote control for the screens and also a removable mirror so you can check your make up or see if you’ve still got some pesky caviar stuck in your teeth. The only issue with that extendable armrest section is that it impedes the airflow from centre air vents from getting to you quite as well. There are additional roof-mounted vents, however.

The rear seats are electrically adjustable via toggles on the doors, with both memory settings and massage functionality, however they aren’t heated like the ones up front. 

It’s opulent - there’s even leather on the headlining and the armrests are excellent as well.

There are decent door pockets though they don’t have sculpted bottle holders, and the back seat also has a pair of USB charge points and a powerpoint as well. And of course there are individual climate zones, too.

  • I expected better, both in terms of boot space and rear seat room. I expected better, both in terms of boot space and rear seat room.
  • Something this large really ought to offer a bit more space in the cargo zone. Something this large really ought to offer a bit more space in the cargo zone.
  • The company says the capacity is 434L to the parcel shelf. The company says the capacity is 434L to the parcel shelf.
  • Up to the line of the parcel shelf, the boot fit in our CarsGuide luggage set. Up to the line of the parcel shelf, the boot fit in our CarsGuide luggage set.

Up front is quite good, with all the amenities you’d expect. There is a big comfortable arm rest between the seats, as well as two adjustable captain's armrests upfront as well. In the centre console is a cool box which is very handy, and in front of that there are two cupholders as well.

There’s also a dual opening glovebox - the top one in our car housed a CD/DVD player which eats into a lot of space - while the lower glovebox is just a standard one. Loose item storage is at a bit of a premium - there are door pockets, but they don’t have shaped bottle holders in them either.

Of course there are massaging and ventilated (heated and cooled) front seats, which are excellent - very comfortable, and the Hot Stone Massage function is very pleasant. Someone that had this car before me seemingly set the massage to come on after about 30 minutes of driving, and it was always a pleasant surprise.

Controlling elements of the screen aren't as simple as they could be, though. Controlling elements of the screen aren't as simple as they could be, though.

There’s a digital driver info screen which is very clear, and the map view and readouts are very clear. Controlling elements of the screen isn’t as simple as it could be, though.

On the topic of screens, the lower of two “InControl Touch Pro Duo” units is in charge of climate, car settings, seat settings and other general menu controls, but it is quite glare-prone, steeply angled (so hard to see at a quick glance) and it can be distracting to try and make changes to things on the move: I’d actually recommend you stop the car to make sure that you’re pressing the right button - which isn’t going to be possible in all situations.

I’ve long been against touch screens for climate control settings, and this particular version is one of the hardest to get your head around. I’m sure you get used to the tech, but after a week of driving this car I still hadn’t come to terms with it as much as I thought I would.

The same can be said for the top media screen, which is easier to get used to than the bottom one, though I still defaulted to using Apple CarPlay because that’s what I’m most comfortable with.

Another thing you need to know is that this car has a massive sound system, and it doesn’t disappoint, though it does override the excellent exhaust and engine note... 

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   7/10

This is an expensive car.

Scratch that. I’d go as far as saying it is eye-wateringly pricey. 

The list price for the Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic model is $346,170 before on-road costs. 

There are plenty of options, and our car had a few: Active Rear Locking Differential ($1170), 22-inch wheels (in lieu of standard 21s - $2550), a sliding panoramic roof (in lieu of a fixed panoramic roof, which is standard - $840) and the Signature Entertainment Pack ($130 - includes CD/DVD player, 10-inch rear seat entertainment screens and power plug sockets). That took the price as tested to $350,860 before on-road costs. Ouch.

There are plenty of options, including these 22-inch wheels. There are plenty of options, including these 22-inch wheels.

There’s an extensive list of standard equipment for this grade. It comes with a standard fixed panoramic roof, four-zone climate control, configurable ambient interior lighting, a heated leather steering wheel with electric adjust and memory, 24-way heated and cooled, 'Hot-Stone' massage front seats with memory settings, ‘Executive Class Comfort-Plus’ rear seats with electric adjustment and massage, quilted perforated Semi-Aniline leather trim, privacy glass, carpet mats, a heated windscreen, rain sensing wipers, auto headlights, keyless entry and push-button start.

This grade also has ‘steel weave carbon fibre trim’, twin blade sun visors, knurled effect pedals, a cooled front centre console compartment, perforated leather headlining, red Land Rover branded brake calipers, digital TV reception and a surround view camera system.

Plus when it comes to media and controls, there’s Land Rover’s InControl Touch Pro Duo (2x 10.0-inch screens), Wi-Fi hotspot, a Meridian Signature Sound System with 28 speakers, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth phone and audio, and 2x front and 2x rear USB ports. 

The red leather comes standard. The red leather comes standard.

So yes, you do get a lot of stuff for you money, and it does feel like a very luxurious place to be. And the red leather is standard, too.

But there are rival models from German brands that cost less than half this much (based on list prices) that are just as plush, and some are even better equipped. That said, those rivals aren’t Range Rovers - and that could be enough to get you over the line.

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

If bigger is better, this is one of the last bastions of brilliance.

That’s because the motor in the SVAutobiography Dynamic model is a serious supercharged horsepower hero.

It runs a 5.0-litre petrol V8 supercharged engine, with outputs of 416kW (at 6000-6500rpm) and 700Nm (from 3500-5000rpm). It has an eight-speed automatic transmission, and it runs permanent all-wheel drive with a twin-speed transfer box for high (4H) and low range (4L).

If bigger is better, this is one of the last bastions of brilliance. If bigger is better, this is one of the last bastions of brilliance.

Now, if you’re an engine specs anorak, you probably know that a BMW X5 M or X6 M has a smaller 4.4-litre bi-turbo V8 with up to 460kW/750Nm and weighs a few hundred kilograms less than the Rangie. 

Same story with the not-yet-available-in-Australia Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 (4.0L twin-turbo V8 with hybrid 48-volt backup, 450kW/850Nm) and Audi RS Q8 (mild-hybrid 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, 441kW/800Nm).

But can you compete with the sound of a supercharged bigger capacity V8? Not as far as we’ve noticed. It’s such a symphony!

Towing capacity is rated at 750kg for an unbraked trailer and 3500kg for a braked trailer. The tare mass for this grade is 2591kg, with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 3160kg and a gross combination mass (GCM) of 6660kg. 

How much fuel does it consume?   6/10

Okay, so without the added claimed efficiency gains of a hybrid setup or any turbocharging, this section is where the reading is a bit tougher.

The claimed fuel consumption is 12.8 litres per 100 kilometres, and I saw 13.5L/100km during a mix of sedate highway driving in drenching rain and the occasional right-leg-stretch during my week with the car.

When the tarmac dried and the twisty bits of road beckoned me to go testing, the displayed fuel use figure was considerably higher (think high teens if you’re a lead-foot).

But hey, I’ve been told by a few hedonistic millionaires over the years that if you can afford a nice car, fuel use isn’t that much of a concern. And it’s not like you’ll have to go to the petrol station that often, as there’s a fuel tank capacity of 104 litres - or the equivalent about 600km of enjoyable driving.

What's it like to drive?   9/10

I’ve said it before in JLR product reviews, but I totally understand why you would spend more money to get the supercharged V8 soundtrack on offer here. It is addictive.

The howl from under the bonnet combined with the raucous woofing of the exhaust is almost encouraging enough to make you forget about road rules. 

It can jump from 0-100km/h in just 5.4 seconds, and yes, that’s not as mind-bending as some of its twin-turbo rivals, there is a chance you might enjoy the extra second or so to reach highway pace because of the aural experience you get while it happens.

It is supremely quiet, very comfortable, and undemanding to drive.  It is supremely quiet, very comfortable, and undemanding to drive. 

In more sedate driving it’s still effortlessly powerful. The engine builds pace without you really noticing it, and the transmission is very smooth shuffling between the gears. In fact, you barely feel the eight-speed auto at all, unless you put it in ‘S’ or take control of things yourself using the paddle-shifters.

The adaptive air suspension offers a superbly comfortable ride at open road speed, and only if you hit a sharp edge will you feel the road surface below. If you’ve ever heard of the term ‘wafting along’, it’s probably been in relation to the ride quality of a Range Rover. It’s very nice indeed.

I mean, you can still feel the weight of the thing, but it doesn’t feel as overweight as its 2591kg tare mass suggests it should. The air suspension adapts to help minimise body roll, and it tucks into corners more effectively than you might think possible.

In more sedate driving it’s still effortlessly powerful. In more sedate driving it’s still effortlessly powerful.

It’s not a point and shoot weapon in the bends, no. But that’s not really what this model is all about, despite the fact the steering is nicely weighted and offers reasonable feel to the driver’s hands. It’s not a BMW M, Merc AMG or Audi RS model, but it’s not really trying to be - and that’s completely fine.

It is, however, supremely quiet, very comfortable, and undemanding to drive. 

There was no off road review part of this test. I didn’t dare take a modern-day mortgage up an off-road track. But if you do want to get off road, the Range Rover line-up all boast a 900mm wading capability, a 25.3-degree approach angle, 21.0-degree break-over angle, 22.2 departure angle, and 212mm ground clearance (depending on the air suspension setting).

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / 100,000 km warranty

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   8/10

The Range Rover line-up was put through the ANCAP crash test procedure when it was first introduced in its current form, way back in 2013. Things have changed a lot over those years, but this model has stayed up to date with standards and expectations when it comes to advanced safety equipment.

The SVAutobiography Dynamic model tested here is equipped with, as you’d expect, autonomous emergency braking (AEB) that works at high and low speeds, as well as lane keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control with steering assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, “Clear Exit Monitor” (which can warn you if you’re about to open the door into oncoming traffic), traffic sign recognition, adaptive speed limiter, driver fatigue monitoring, and a 360-degree surround view camera and a reversing camera system with front and rear parking sensors. 

There are six airbags (dual front, front side, full-length curtain) and the back seat has two ISOFIX child seat anchor points and three top-tether points, too. And there’s a rear-seat occupant detection system as well. 

Some newer, more high-tech rivals offer a little more safety tech spec - like rear AEB, front cross-traffic alert - but this is still decently specified.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   7/10

There’s no capped price servicing plan because - guess what - you don’t have to pay for servicing if you buy any of the full-size Range Rover models, no matter the spec.

That’s right, the servicing cost is absorbed by the company for the first five years/130,000km. And there’s included roadside assist cover for the same period, too. Amazingly, service intervals for this engine are set at 12 months/23,000km.

There’s no capped price servicing plan for this Range Rover. There’s no capped price servicing plan for this Range Rover.

However, while Land Rover has offered promotional longer warranty cover on select models, it continues to offer a three-year/100,000km warranty as its normal level of cover. 

That’s less than what you get from Genesis or Mercedes (both now five-year/unlimited kilometres), not to mention Lexus (four-year/100,000km), but close to Audi and BMW (three-year/unlimited km). 

Buyers can extend their warranty plan if they choose. Bargain with the dealer - I reckon you could get it thrown in for nix.

Verdict

I can see why you’d buy the Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic over some of its competitors. You probably haven’t even considered the competitors, in fact. I get it. This thing is awesome.

It’s great to drive, very luxurious, and has heaps of performance. It’s expensive, yes - but if money is no object… just get one.

EXPERT RATING
7.8
Design9
Practicality7
Price and features7
Engine & trans9
Fuel consumption6
Driving9
Safety8
Ownership7
Matt Campbell
Senior Editor

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