2017 Range Rover SVAutobiography LWB SDV8

By NRMA Motoring on 08 February 2017
2017 Range Rover SVAutobiography LWB

Specifications

Priced from $342,910
Engine 4.4L V8 diesel
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Fuel Economy
8.6L/100km16.4 L/ 100km
Output 250kW
ANCAP rating

What is it?

One of the largest and most expensive Range Rovers available. The 'LWB' in the name stands for long wheelbase.

What are its rivals?

With a list price of $342,910 before on-roads, it is rubbing shoulders with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and other top-line prestige vehicles. There aren't too many SUVs/4WDs available for similar money – even the top-of-the-range Merc GLE doesn't crack the $200K mark – although the SVAutobiography is nearly $100,000 less than the Bentley Bentayga.

What does it get?

Under the bonnet is a 4.4-litre diesel V8 that generates 250kW/740Nm. It's mated to an eight-speed transmission and a permanent four-wheel drivetrain. A low range transfer case is standard, but an active rear locking differential costs an extra $1120.

This is a high-end prestige vehicle, so the standard features list goes on for pages and includes power and safety everything. Some less common highlights include air suspension with multiple modes to suit a wide variety of terrain, 24-way adjustable seats upholstered in perforated semi-aniline leather, massage function for both front and rear seats, rear centre armrest with storage and entertainment controls, four sets of headphones, fold away tables, and a first aid kit.

What's it like to drive?

It's not possible to drive a cloud, but if it were, it would probably be a lot like driving this Range Rover. Bumps big and small are almost imperceptible beneath its huge wheels and long-travel suspension. The insulated cabin is as silent as they come and only the loudest trucks and V8 engines can penetrate it. Every surface speaks of luxury, from the combination piano black/leather steering wheel to the padded centre arm rest.

Tipping the scales at just over 2488kg kerb weight (and a cool 3250kg when fully laden), however, the SVAutobiography is no rocket from a standing start. That's about the only thing that betrays it as a diesel, however, as the drivetrain is as smooth and quiet as the best petrol unit. Peak torque comes in at 1750rpm, and once it's off the line the engine delivers intoxicating power for a 0-100km/h time of 7.2 seconds. It almost too much power for a vehicle of such saurian proportions; I often wished I was driving something nimbler, so I could properly appreciate everything the V8 had to offer. That said, the SVAutobiography's towing credentials are impressive: 3500kg braked and 350kg over the towball, for a maximum combined vehicle/trailer weight of 6750kg.

Its size also contributes to its unusual external appearance. From the front or rear it just looks like any other Range Rover, but seen side-on, it is somewhat hearse-like (especially in black or white). Interior styling is as faultless as interior styling can be, however, with a pleasing tonal palette, tasteful use of chrome accents, and of course the famous dial gear selector. Acres of space are a given in any Land or Range Rover, and this one has more than most. And then there's the well-documented off-roading capability. It's unlikely many SVAutobiographies will see anything harsher than a gravel road, but it does add a dimension other prestige cars can't claim.

One expects things uncommon to 'regular' vehicles in the prestige market, and that's certainly true of this Range Rover. Rear passengers get an air-conditioning vent both in the centre console and the roof. There are also screens embedded in the back of the front seats that can, believe it or not, receive digital free-to-air television channels in addition to the usual media (it's not hard to see that the Range Rover is gunning for limousine sales with its LWB model). There's also a refrigerated cooler box in the front arm rest complemented with cup holders that can be heated or cooled. And speaking of cooled, the SV has seat coolers – just as important as heaters for Australian buyers. It even has two dicky seats that fold out from the tailgate so driver and passenger can enjoy a cuppa in the fresh air without needing to lug camp chairs around.

And sometimes it's the small things: the window washers create a spray effect rather than the traditional jet, completely covering the windscreen in about half a second, and the windscreen itself is heated (if you look closely, you can see the little elements inside the glass).

So the SV is sublime; the absolute embodiment of comfortable, practical, elegant motoring. But when a car has a drive-away price creeping towards supercar territory, it should be free of quibbles – and this one isn't. The most glaring shortcoming is the LCD infotainment screen, which has terrible blocky graphics; it looks like a computer monitor from 2005. (The $120,000 cheaper Range Rover SVR, curiously, does not have this issue.)

The other (multi-layered) gripe has to do with ergonomics: the window switches are high on sill near the wing mirror; the door handle is low down and operates in an unconventional manner; and the additional armrests for the front passengers are too thin and too close to the seat for comfort. These are things an owner would grow accustomed to (or not use), but they are entirely unnecessary – the sort of 'different for the sake of it' nonsense we've come to expect from French brands, not Range Rover. Oh, and the driver's left foot could use an extra inch of room.

Should I buy one?

Anyone who can afford a car this expensive probably won't bother reading reviews. But by way of conclusion, I think this exchange with my wife sums it up best:
"I still can't find them."
"Can't find what?"
"The diamonds."
"The diamonds?"
"Yeah, the diamonds that make this car worth $350,000."

 
Quick Facts
MakeLand Rover
ModelRange Rover SDV8 SVAutobiography LWB
CategoryLarge SUV
Body typeSUV
ProsCosseted and quiet interior
Beautifully soft ride
Space and luxuries galore
ConsLow-res infotainment screen
Some ergonomics issues
Hard to justify asking price
Country of manufactureUK
Available from8-Feb-17
Priced from$342,910

Specifications

Engine
Number of cylinders8
Engine size4.4 L
Claimed max power (kW)250 kW @ 3500 rpm
Claimed max torque (Nm)740 Nm @ 170-2250 rpm

Transmission
Type8-speed automatic

Fuel Consumption
Claimed fuel consumption8.6 L/100km
CO2 Emissions227 g/km

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