|Engine||4.4L V8 diesel|
8.6L/100km16.4 L/ 100km
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.