The hottest of the big Range Rovers, the SV Autobiography Dynamic has a hatchback, 22” wheels, and a supercharged 405kW/680Nm V8.
Does that make it the hottest of the hot hatches?
Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) have cast their eye over the top standard-wheelbase Range Rover.
I drove the long wheelbase recently, and loved it, but the short wheelbase is more my style.
They’ve installed their flagship V8 engine, and some quilted seats, as well as an exclusive paint colour range.
The Ruffino Red (as shown), for example, is an $8,500 option that sparkles spectacularly in the sun.
The modern SUV buyer can “bespoke” themselves into a frenzy with a vast array of add-on options.
The huge alloy wheels are standard on the Dynamic, and are certainly not for real off-roading.
The exterior is drop-dead gorgeous with the signature LED running lights at the front. Equally distinctive are the rear LED lamps.
The chunky look of the outside continues as you enter the uber-luxurious cabin.
Smart entry means leaving the key in your pocket for the duration. Pressing the starter button brings the electronics to life. The screens fire up, and the gear selector rises majestically from the centre console.
There, you’ll find the off-road driving mode selector, but the car will cope well if left in AUTO. Low range, electric parking brake, start/stop, and suspension height are laid out on a console trimmed in aluminium.
Beside them, cup holders are concealed under a soft-close cover.
The centre stack is where all the action happens.
Simple climate zone controls can be quickly fettled with direct selection, but more options can be found in the Climate Menu.
The Climate Menu also controls the seat heating and cooling for all four occupants, as well as massage for the front seats. The leather is butter-soft, and the Autobiography name is monogrammed on the seat back.
The door controls for windows, door locks and seat memories fall easily to hand.
The reverse mirror dipping can be set by selecting reverse, positioning the mirrors downwards to your personal preference.
From then on, whenever you reverse, the cameras come on, and the mirrors dip, to make sure you don’t scuff your $1,150 rims.
The centre LCD screen has touch input, hoorah! But, no Apple CarPlay.
As good as console mounted knobs are, nothing beats directly touching the option you want.
This clever screen has a TV receiver. There are also rear screens, but the front screen has a two-way function. All 3 passengers can watch different video or TV channels.
The two-way screen allows the passenger to watch TV while the driver sees only the driver-focused apps.
The driver’s instruments have been replaced by a virtual dash. A single LCD runs the full width of where the speedo and tacho would normally be.
You can reduce the speedo, fuel gauge, height indicator and temperature to a strip across the bottom of the screen, allowing instead for the sat-nav display. That leaves the centre stack screen free for other things.
Everything you touch feels luxurious.
The Range Rover doors have a few tricks up their sleeves too. All doors have soft-close. The passenger doors pull themselves closed once on the first click of the latch.
The large 2-piece rear hatch is fully electric. The top opens from the dash, an external button, with the bottom section having a button on its top edge which makes it swing downwards.
Like all big Rangies, you can stand on the lower door for a better view of the polo field.
The full-length glass sunshine roof opens to let the fresh air in. An efficient electrically operated shade keeps the cabin cool on hot days.
There is a full suite of safety gadgets too. Active lane keeping, blind spot monitoring, and auto emergency braking to name but a few.
The cameras can be switched to give a range of different views including 360 top down. You can even poke the nose forward to see what traffic is coming on a blind T intersection.
Once moving, the V8 sings. The eight-speed auto is always in the right gear with a flexible range that gives the 405kW permission to sprint whenever needed.
Highway driving is a gentle wafting experience.
You don’t feel a thing, and for most of the time, you don’t hear anything either.
Steering has a strange feel at first, but in no time you’re throwing the big Range Rover SUV around like it is a tiny city car.
Our test returned a combined, and rather unheard of, 12.2L/100k. Remember, it weighs almost 2.5 tons, and has a supercharged 5.0L V8.
Should you want to tow your horse float, it can weight 3,000kg with braking. You can load a trailer up to 750kg without brakes.
Cornering is extraordinary. The computer is working the abacus overtime to adjust the air suspension to keep the chassis just so. It tightens up to keep the body from toppling over.
Not only that, but the system is watching, ready to apply dabs of brake here and there to keep things neat and tidy.
Off-road, well, it is a Range Rover. I didn’t take the $336,000 car off the bitumen. Best not I think.
However, the clever electronics are even more capable, and you can raise the suspension to off-road mode for almost 300mm of ground clearance.
Our SV had the optional Wade Sensing, which give you a readout on the TV screen. 900mm is the limit, but as always, never enter fast moving water, certainly never enter flood water.
If you want to see something really impressive, try the parking assistant. Watching a small office block park itself is a sight to behold.
Summing it up; the Range Rover SV Autobiography is handsome, and cuts a distinctive silhouette as it glides by. The shape carries on a long legacy which started more than four decades ago.
It is no harder to drive than a hatch, once you get used to it. Don’t believe me? Try it.
NUTS and BOLTS - 2017 Range Rover SV Autobiography
- Engine: 5.0 litre supercharged V8 producing 405kW/680Nm
- Transmission: Eight-speed auto
- Safety: Not tested
- Warranty: 3yrs/100,000km
- Origin: United Kingdom
- Price: from $316,000 (as tested $336,210)