Rover 4.4 TDV8 Autobiography
only the most versatile car
but the most capable and luxurious
4x4 SUV on the planet, thats the
2011 Range Rover Autobiography.
That statement should raise a
few eyebrows but just consider
the following facts...
THE BRITISH-BUILT RANGE ROVER 4x4 can, literally, climb a mountain, ford
rivers, travel across deserts, gatecrash jungles, mud-plug in seriously bad
conditions yet with a wash and brush-up can appear at 'Beckingham'
or Buckingham Palaces or any other royal household in the world and is accepted
as the luxurious car of choice for royalty, the rich and the famous.
Such desirability has made the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport iconic vehicles
around the world and markets such as the USA, China, Russia and India are all
reporting increased sales 78% of the model range is exported to
over 140 countries.
British designed and built, but unfortunately no longer British owned and now
under the control of the Indian Tata Motors conglomerate, JLR's (Jaguar Land
Rover) success ensures British jobs at Gaydon, the West Midlands and Liverpool
with more jobs being created.
Land Rover/Range Rover brands still continue to be a success in the UK with
a 28% increase in domestic sales last year good news again for
the 18,000 UK employees. All models right across the range exceeded their performance,
with the Freelander up 37%, Range Rover up 29%, Discovery up 27%, Range Rover
Sport up 23% and Defender up 11%.
there's more good news for the future. At the Geneva Motor Show this month the
company debuted a raft of new models and technologies including a diesel-hybrid
prototype. New production versions on show at Geneva are the £130,000 Range
Rover Ultimate Edition (based on the new Autobiography version) and the new
'baby' Range Rover, the Evoque. The new Evoque launching in 2011
will be manufactured at Land Rover's plant in Halewood, Liverpool,
creating 1,500 new jobs in the process.
The combined cycle fuel
consumption of the
new TDV8 4.4-litre is
30.1mpg, making this the
first Range Rover ever
to better 30mpg.
My test car lived up to
those official figures,
Just as Range Rover at the Geneva Motor Show were taking the wraps off of their
most expensive model ever, the £130,000 Ultimate Edition, I was handing back
the 2011 model year £83,145 Autobiography 4.4-litre V8 diesel model with the
new 8-speed automatic transmission.
Being a Range Rover, even a luxurious top-end version, doesn't mean this model
has gone soft in its off-road capabilities only the Jeep Wrangler
and the Land Rover Discovery come close to the matching it when the going gets
really tough. But where the elitist Range Rover scores most highly is with its
limousine on-road ride and comfort qualities and, of course, its premium brand
For the 2011 model year the Range Rover has a new V8 diesel engine, new 8-speed
transmission, two significant Terrain Response upgrades and subtle external
The TDV8 4.4-litre engine (with parallel sequential turbocharging) replaces
the TDV8 3.6-litre and is unique to the Range Rover. The all-new TDV8 combines
superior power and massive torque with unparalleled levels of refinement. Despite
the extra performance, this V8 engine is cleaner too, delivering better fuel
consumption and lower CO2 emissions than its predecessor.
combined cycle fuel consumption of the new TDV8 4.4-litre is 30.1mpg, making
this the first Range Rover ever to better 30mpg. My test car lived up to these
official figures, returning 30.4mpg for a combination of driving conditions
ranging from motorways to local trips over winding A and B roads as well as
slow moving in-town driving.
313bhp and 516lb ft of torque, the Range Rover's new powertrain reduces CO2
emissions by an impressive 14 percent: from 294g/km to 253g/km.
new diesel engine
is helped by its marriage
to a new, electronically-
controlled ZF 8-speed
This combination is
enough to take the Range
Rover from zero to 62mph
in 7.8 seconds...
This still means a VED First Year road tax bill of £750 which reduces to £425
for the second year onwards. Many of these vehicles are leased or used on a
contract hire basis by company executives, and for them the Benefit-in-Kind
tax burden is 35%.
The new diesel engine is helped by its marriage to a new, electronically-controlled
ZF 8-speed automatic transmission. This combination is enough to take the Range
Rover from zero to 62mph in 7.8 seconds while top speed increases from 125mph
Available only on 4.4-litre TDV8 models in either Vogue or Autobiography specification,
this 'smart' transmission integrates with the diesel engine to deliver the most
efficient operating regime in all conditions. It is tuned to take advantage
of the V8's low-end torque with torque converter lock-up being selected as early
as possible to reduce slip and energy loss. The wider ratio spread, tall overdriven
top gear and the fact that no more than two internal clutches are open at any
one time all contribute to improved fuel economy and emissions.
Transmission Idle Control disengages 70 per cent of the drive when the vehicle
is stationary and the engine is idling in Drive, significantly reducing consumption
in the urban cycle. In cold conditions, the transmission selects a lower gear
to promote fast warm up and get the engine up to its efficient operating temperature
as soon as possible.
Naturally the Range Rover retains its usual permanent four-wheel drive with
high and low ratio transfer box, hill descent control, traction control and
dynamic stability control. My test model had the extra-cost active rear locking
differential which adds a further £750 to the price. To reflect the performance
of the new 4.4-litre TDV8, diesel models are fitted with the same Brembo-based
braking system as already fitted to the 5.0-litre V8 supercharged model.
driving controls include steering wheel-mounted paddle-shift as standard; the
CommandShift lever is replaced by a rotary knob for selecting park, reverse,
neutral, drive or sport modes the last of these optimising the
gearbox response times for maximum acceleration, improved response and sharper
upshifts. The selector knob is flush with the centre console when the ignition
is switched off, only rising up when it is switched on. All other traction related
controls are logically selected via a series of push-buttons and turn controls
illustrated with pictograms.
the record, for 2011 the Range Rover also retains the 5.0-litre V8 supercharged
petrol engine option but married to the ZF 6-speed automatic transmission introduced
in 2010. Developing 510bhp and 461lb ft of torque, the £85,695 Supercharged
V8 Range Rover sprints from zero to 62mph in 6.2 seconds and on to a top speed
of 140mph, and remains the flagship model.
Inside, the five-door
sumptuous with real
and beautifully crafted
acres of leather...
Inside, the five-door Range Rover Autobiography is sumptuous with real limousine
class and beautifully crafted with acres of leather for the fascia panel, centre
console, doors and seats. The seating for four, possibly five at a push, is
equally luxurious with the four main seating positions featuring both heating
and cooling. They also have power adjustment and the occupants are further pampered
by individual heating and ventilation controls and outlets. Being high off the
ground, access can be an obstacle for some and the rear side door frames are
quite narrow, so for rear passenger access the limousine status does not apply.
Subtle concealed lighting around the car's interior gives further designer appeal
and it is really a glorious place to be, and a wonderful way to travel. DVD,
TV, superb sound, navigation and communication systems and camera vision assist
just 'gild the lily' further.
The secret to the modern Range Rover's desirability is that it combines the
best of both worlds: more or less unbeatable off-road but with fantastic on-road
ride and refinement. It's a large vehicle 4.9 metres in length
and weighing 2,810kg so finding a parking space in-town is not
easy unless, of course, you have your own executive parking place.
the country naturally! you have your own estate
so that's not an issue. Despite its size the Range Rover is easy to drive and
it scores very highly for in-town driving because of the elevated seating position
which makes it easy to easily see all around the car. Given its size, other
road users generally give it a wide berth as well. On motorways the same high
viewpoint guarantees really good advance warning of issues further along the
winding country roads the ride comfort is astonishing and the air suspension
simply shrugs off the potholes. There is some body roll because of its higher
centre of gravity but the all-wheel drive gives good grip in all conditions
and the steering is precise.
On winding country
roads the ride comfort is
astonishing and the
simply shrugs off
High engine power and, even more importantly, huge torque also make driving
effortless and the 30.4mpg average fuel consumption for this level of performance
in this size of vehicle is outstanding.
Niggles? The fact that it's very large and very expensive no doubt adds rather
than detracts to its appeal. However, as already noted, rear seat legroom is
limited and there's restricted access through the rear passenger doors.
That said, there are no doubts at all about it being the most versatile, most
capable and luxurious SUV in the world until, that is, the new
£130k Ultimate Edition arrives! and with a fantastic on road ride,
comfort and refinement along with huge off-road capability, there really is
no other vehicle that can touch it.
Life begins at forty, so they say, and the Range Rover, in its forty-first year
and third generation, doesn't seem to be heading for a mid-life crisis
unless all our oil supplies run out, the financial and business communities
go bust, royals abdicate and 'celebrities' get real. David
Range Rover 4.4 TDV8 Autobiography | £83,145
Maximum speed: 130mph | 0-62mph: 7.8 seconds | Overall Test MPG:
Power: 313bhp | Torque: 516lb ft | CO2 253g/km