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Range Rover 5.0 S/C Vogue review

Derryn Wong
16/04/2014

SINGAPORE – Range Rover’s eponymous model has always been at the root of what the brand is about: the automotive of going on safari but with Saville Row-type luxury. It’s much more than just a tarted up Land Rover, of course, but the weight of expectation with such a big name (in this case both metaphorical and literal) is high.

The car’s new appearance shuffles it into the 21st-century (or at least, the second decade of it) elegantly: There’s no mistaking 1.That it’s a Rangie and 2.That it’s the new model. Yes, that’s a slightly ‘duh’ statement, but try and tell the difference between the new Porsche 911 (the 991) and the old 997 model when either flies past.

The new design reiterates a lot of the concentration on horizontal and vertical surfaces, for example on the clean, unbroken shoulder line that runs all the way, incorporating the hood, the stacked front end (meaning there’s a clear progression between intake, grille, lights and the raised lip of the hood and again the roof), the bold side strakes, the blacked-out pillars lending an air of increased height. Not that the Rangie needs it, since it’s got such massive road presence already at five-metres long, nearly three-metres between the huge 21-inch wheels and 1.9-metre height (1,847mm, specifically).

A new aluminium platform (both the frame and bodyshell are made of the fantastic, light stuff, with Range Rover boasting a world first for the full-aluminium body) helps to save weight – compared to the old model, it’s more than 150kg lighter.

Of course, with the added weight of the all-wheel drive system and luxury accoutrements, it’s still a massive car. The variant tested here, the supercharged 5.0-litre V8, still tips the scales at 2,330kg, with the 4.4-litre turbodiesel V8 variant 30kg heavier and the V6 turbodiesel the lightest, at 2,160kg.

With 510bhp, the big V8 is the most powerful Range Rover available now – the 4.4 diesel has only 339bhp, but 700Nm of torque compared to the petrol’s 625Nm, so utilitarian types should go with the oil burner. The latter is much more frugal too (a staggering 8.7 versus 13.8L/100km) and automatically makes a great case for itself, given the V8’s prodigious thirst for liquified dinosaur.

But the audience attracted to the Range Rover might not want to be associated with diesels at all, and given we’re also dealing with the chubby end of the market here. In any case, the big V8 never embarrasses itself in isolation: the Rangie feels and sounds like a huge, tidal monster when in motion, with a huge ‘whooshing’ that gradually resolves itself into a pleasing V8 purr.

Officially the car does 0-100 in 5.4 seconds, but the way this translates to real life is particularly entertaining. Floor it, there’s that whoosh and a grunt, the pliant suspension staggers a little, then the immense Range Rover shoots forward with hilarous celerity. It’s no doubt bound to take others by surprise, but the best part is the light-footed giant doesn’t trip over itself in corners either.

Active air suspension and a well-honed setup means the car feels very much at home on the road. There’s a little body movement, mostly unavoidable roll, but the overall feeling of control and poise is quite amazing for such a large, tall car with big wheels and tyres. It’s like walking on stilts, which actually is quite stable once you get used to it – stilt walkers hardly fall down after all. That’s a particularly valid metaphor, since the Rangie is so big you climb up into it and once ensconced in the throne-like seat, have a lordly, panoramic view of everything around you.

Should you choose to unleash the sound and fury of the engine, it’ll distress outsiders much more, since the cabin is pleasingly silent and refined. The combined effect is that you’ll enter corners at rather unbelievable speed for such a vehicle– it seems the speedometer was 25km/h over-calibrated, officer, honest. We didn’t try the car in its intended off-road environment much, with only a short spin on some gravel and grass, but of course the Rangie, being a Rangie, will have excellent manners, no doubt the terrain.

Just as well, since it’s armed with a phalanx of systems to help you through the rough stuff. All-wheel drive, to say the least, a low-range gearbox and the latest version of the Range Rover off-road programme, called Terrain Response 2. Only the Vogue S/E supercharged V8 gets this version, which detects the sort of stuff you’re rolling over automatically, while the others get a manual system. You can toggle it manually with a dial just under the rotary gear selector, as well. 

This particular car comes in ‘Vogue SE’ trim, which is for the petrol V8 only, and above the non-SE ‘Vogues’, and is the second highest trim level, below the Autobiography top-offering. As such it offers nearly every amenity known to man, inside its cabin. It offers everything you’d expect from an ultra-luxury SUV, and maybe a little more, including things like massage/cooled seats (all four of them), a rear entertainment system (optional, $14,000), an all-round camera system (which you can zoom and pan individually) and so on.

 

There are some let downs, though. The steering-wheel shifter paddles sound clackety, the doorside storage bins creak loudly and have exposed plastic interiors and the brake pedal on our test car squeaked – all minor things, but put into more contrast by the otherwise silent and pleasant interior, and having no place on a car costing upwards of $600,000.

Nevertheless, you come away from The Range Rover (that’s what the ‘non-Sport’ version is called now) with a sense of overwhelming ease. It’s a car that does almost everything for you – it’s graceful and easy to drive, it’ll handle off-roading automatically, there’s nothing on the car you need to use arm power for (auto folding seats, auto tailgate, soft close doors, adjustable height). In fact what it reminds me most of, with the aura of flying above normal concerns, is a Rolls-Royce, although it doesn’t have quite the close-up, microscopic sense of quality inside. It’s entirely forgivable since, a Rangie is supposed to be a little rough and tumble anyway. Whether the non-rugged set agrees remains to be seen, though.

BOX: Decoding the Rangie

The new Range Rover is packed to the brim with Electronic Acronymised Systems (EASs). Here’s what they all do

ABS – Anti-lock Braking System – Erm..stops you fro
m locking up the brakes.

EBA – Electronic Brake Assist – Ups brake pressure if you’re not braking hard enough

IEB – Intelligent Emergency Brake – Brakes automatically to mitigate collision severity

EBD – Electronic Brakeforce Distribution – Shuffles brake force between the wheels

CBC – Cornering Brake Control – Basic form of torque vectoring to help in turns

RSC – Roll Stability Control –  Stops the car from going topsy-turvy with suspension

DSC –  Dynamic Stability Control – Basically another name for ESP

ETC – Electronic Traction Control – Stops the wheels from spinning without traction

BSM – Blind Spot Monitor – Prevents blind spot lurkers from surprising you

CVS – Closing Vehicle System – Detects fast-approaching vehicles and preps for a hit

RTD – Reversing Traffic Detection – Warns you if cross-traffic is present when backing

HDC – Hill Descent Control – Helps you descend, you need to select it first

GRC – Gradient Release Control – if you forget HDC,  helps you do it automatically

HSA – Hill Start Assist – Holds the brakes on a hill so you don’t roll back

ACC – Adaptive Cruise Control – Follows the car in front of you, stop-n-go

 

Range Rover 5.0 V8 S/C Vogue SE

NEED TO KNOW

Engine 5,000cc, 32V, supercharged V8
Power 510bhp at 6,000-6,500rpm
Torque 625Nm at 3000-7000rpm
Gearbox 8-speed automatic
Top Speed 225km/h
0-100km/h 5.4 seconds
Fuel efficiency 13.8L/100km
CO2 322g/km
Price $680,000 with COE

Also Consider: Mercedes-Benz ML 63 AMG, Porsche Cayenne Turbo

Photos by Derryn Wong 

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About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's chief editor brings 15 years of experience in automotive journalism. Previously, he was the editor for Top Gear Singapore, and a presenter for CNA's Cruise Control motoring segment. He's contributed to The Business Times, Today, and many other publications, and also covered technology as editor of Stuff magazine. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he is the Chief Slave of two cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong

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