If you had to imagine your dream Range Rover, it would surely look something like the SV Autobiography.
Everything thrown at the interior luxury-wise and, under the bonnet, one of the shining stars of the Jaguar-Land Rover universe, the 5.0-litre supercharged V8 from the F-Type cranking out 405kW and 680Nm. Welcome to the SV Autobiography Dynamic, the fastest, most powerful and, at $316,000, most expensive Range Rover ever produced.
Approaching the boxy, deep purple test vehicle, with 22-inch wheels and looking behemoth-like, there are few cars with as much presence as this one. Set the air suspension on the lowest setting for a menacing, almost tall-wagon look; or jack it right up for a don’t-mess-with-me attitude.
Either way, this is a car other road users will be eager to get out of the way of. The interior, meanwhile, you will want to sit in just for sitting’s sake. It’s beautiful, although that’s mostly down to the leathers than anything else. The diamond-stitched seats are cool, and every surface you touch feels like the most expensive and luxurious leather you can get.
Unfortunately, there is a certain something about the Range Rover’s interior that doesn’t match up to its price tag. Is it the way the buttons feel? Or the way the graphics on the LCD screens look? It’s hard to put your finger on, but jump from a Bentley Bentayga to a Range Rover and you might get what we mean.
Although that’s still like saying, the Hilton isn’t quite as nice as the Sheraton. Sitting up high, the ride is also blissful, completely wafty at 100km/h, like you’re suspended on a cloud. Although we suspect it might quickly get uncomfortable if the surface conditions got ‘challenging’.
Of course, this is a rapid car when you open the taps, bolting up freeway on-ramps like a scalded grizzly bear. Although its acceleration does feel somewhat hamstrung by the weight – 405kW and 680Nm aren’t quite as much when they’ve got 2465kg to shift.
Fortunately there’s a mean V8 burble, even if it’s not quite as loud, sinful or anti-social as some of its SVR siblings. For all its grunt and decent brakes, you will laugh out loud at its handling.
Even with electromechanical anti-roll bars, it’s Bodyroll Central, the car moving through long and exaggerated arcs – with also some pretty funny squat and dive – necessitating some considered inputs when driving fast. There is a lot of weight moving about. Is this a performance car?
It was made by the same boffins who brought us unhinged maniacal cars like the F-Type SVR. But the Range Rover SV Autobiography Dynamic misses out on the ‘R’ at the end of ‘SV’, possibly because it’s a big, luxury SUV with a great lump of supercharged V8 – as in, not a precise driving device.
You’d certainly never describe it as a giant hot hatch, like you might a BMW X5M. It’s just a nice car with a nice engine.
3.5 stars out of 5
Likes: Look at it; listen to it; sit in it
Dislikes: We prefer driving it slowly; it costs how much?
2018 Range Rover SV Autobiography specs:
Engine: 4999cc V8, DOHC, 32v, supercharged
Power: 405kW @ 6000rpm
Torque: 680Nm @ 2500-5000rpm
0-100km/h: 5.5sec (claimed)