Range Rover TDV8 – Review
By Liam Bird
Talk about being late to the party! Not only is it hard to believe that the existing Range Rover, the L322 – the one conceived under BMW’s ownership of Land-Rover for those of you for whom these things matter – is now nearly twelve years old, but on the very same day that one in which I was to spend a week driving shows up, the front pages of the weekly motoring glossies are awash with pictures of what is to be next year’s all-new, lighter, more eco-friendly, fuel efficient, Rangie.
So why, then, am I reviewing this one? It’s simple really. When the opportunity arises to spend time behind the wheel of what is the definitive and, surely, the most iconic, example of luxury off-road motoring it would be rude to say no. Especially when it’s fitted with JLR’s magnificent 4.4 litre, twin-turbo, diesel V8. Now, before you go thinking that sounds like something that would make leaves wither on trees, melt polar ice-caps and suffocate nearly everything in its path with a gargantuan cloud of noxious gasses, read on.
Despite its capacity, it’s 516 lbft of torque and its 308bhp, Range-Rover claim that 30.1mpg is a possibility. When combined with ZF’s 8-speed automatic transmission this engine returns CO2 levels of just 253g/km. That’s not bad when you consider that today’s Range-Rover tips the scales at 2.8 tons. The tax disc isn’t quite as expensive as it once was either. But you know what they say: “If you can’t afford the car …”
If you can stump up the £83,785 asking price for an Autobiography specced example such as this one, not only will you be rewarded one of the best driver’s seat views any car has to offer, you’ll also get the kind of leather-lined luxury that you’d expect from a 4×4 fit for the Queen. You’ll have to find another £1,330 for the Harmon/Kardon 1200 watt 19 speaker hi-fi, as fitted here, plus a further £2450 in-order to allow rear seat passengers to watch DVDs. But even if your budget doesn’t stretch to such frivolities you’ll still get an interior, that like all modern Jaguar Land-Rover products, is assembled with a millimetric precision more associated with Bavaria than Birmingham.
You’ll get performance too. With a Range Rover though, that’s measured in more than just 0-60 times. It may be able to reach A-road speed limits in a hot-hatch threatening 7.2 seconds but it’s also capable of wading through 700mm of water and, if you’ve invested in the detachable tow-bar, pulling 3.5 tons. There are also permanent 4WD, High/Low range, Air-suspension, Hill Descent Control, ABS, Traction control and DSC. Wherever you decide to go, whatever you find yourself driving on or in, you can rest assured you’ll almost always get through it.
“Every car you’ll ever need”
Owning a Range-Rover, then, is a bit like owning a diver’s watch or one of those multi-faceted-multi-tools. The chances are you’ll never use all of its functions or plunge it deep underwater, but there’s something reassuring knowing that should you want to, you can. You don’t actually need one and yet paradoxically it’s every car you’ll ever need all rolled into one.
Quite how the new Range Rover is going to better this one remains to be seen. I’m just hoping I won’t have to wait quite so long to find out.
Range-Rover TDV8 Autobiography
Engine: 4367cc. V8 sequentially turbo-charged Diesel
Transmission: 4WD 8 speed automatic – with selectable terrain response
Power: 308 bhp @ 4000rpm
Torque: 516 lbft @ 1500 – 3000rpm
0-62mph: 7.2 sec
Max Speed: 130mph
Mpg: 30.1 (combined)