High-performance SVO arm turns its attention to the full-sized Range Rover
Ever since Jaguar Land Rover opened its Special Vehicle Operations division a couple of years back, it has been obvious that a performance Range Rover was high on its agenda. The question was, how hot would it be?
Now the question has been answered, and the clue is in the name. The £132,800 Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic holds short of using the full SVR title and keeps the name of its luxurious offshoot, the SVAutobiography. From now on, there are two models on top of the Range Rover heap: the long- wheelbase SVAutobiography and this short-wheelbase, more powerful SVAutobiography Dynamic.
The new model, available for order now, starts life at Solihull but diverts to the new SVO plant at Oxford Road, near Coventry, for paint and special fettling. It uses the same 542bhp supercharged 5.0-litre engine as the Sport SVR – also with 5021b ft of torque on tap – although the mode of delivery has been civilised slightly with a different throttle map. The top speed is 155mph and the 0-60mph time is a highly impressive 5.1sec.
The Dynamic rides 8mm lower than the SVAutobiography on retuned suspension that features updated air springs and dampers and modifications to its active anti-roll control (in effect, an automatically adjustable anti-roll bar). The steering is tuned to be slightly quicker. Buyers get a choice of 21 or 22in wheels; our test car ran on 245/45 R22 tyres.
A package of exterior changes identifies an SVAutobiography Dynamic: new side vents, detail changes to the grille, front bumper and bonnet and impressive red Brembo brake calipers visible through the alloy wheels. At the rear, the biggest giveaways are an SV badge and four round tailpipes. Inside, the Dynamic gets diamond-quilted leather seats and special trim with a choice of four special ‘colour pathways’. SVO boss Mark Stanton says most Range Rover customers at this level usually go for bespoke equipment worth around £25,000, and SVO has a range of colour and trim choices to accommodate them.
There’s no mistaking the Dynamic’s new sense of purpose on the road. The steering feels quicker and firmer, and the impressive roll control is noticeable from the first corner. The ride is firmer – perhaps even jittery- by Range Rover standards – but it holds short of the unashamed sportiness of the Range Rover Sport SVR, helped by more subtle tuning of its hydraulic anti-roll control that gives the Dynamic much of the standard Range Rover’s suppleness in a straight line.
It’s still very comfortable for four; JLR is hoping to compete harder with the successful Bentley Bentayga, especially in export markets.
Like the Sport SVR, the car gets better the faster you go. The engine revs smoothly with a delicious V8 growl, and the eight-speed automatic gearbox is an excellent ally. The big power out of corners belies the weight of a fully equipped Range Rover. The seats grip the driver well in corners and the whole car has stability to burn. Fast touring across Europe will be meat and drink to the Dynamic.
Still, opinions will vary over whether this is the Range Rover to choose. It has much of the Sport SV R’s sense of purpose without that model’s sometimes-uncomfortable ride, but it is also noticeably less supple and somewhat noisier on coarse surfaces than a standard short-wheelbase Range Rover, whose serenity and refinement are the characteristics many serial Range Rover owners value most.
Our advice to the high-end Range Rover buyer would be not to assume the Dynamic is the best choice, but to try both varieties before committing.
Range Rover Svautobiography Dynamic
Top-end Range Rover gets an SVO overhaul, and the result is nothing short of extraordinary
Engine: V8, 5000cc, petrol
Power: 542bhp @ 6500rpm
Torque: 502lb ft @ 3500-5000rpm
Gearbox: 8-speed automatic
Kerb weight: 2457kg
Top speed: 155mph
Economy: 22.1mpg (combined)
CO2/tax band: 299g/km, 37%
Rivals: Audi SQ7, Bentley Bentayga