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First drive: Range Rover powers up – and away

Jag power: The Range Rover Vogue gets Jaguar's new V8s to lift performance.

New 5.0-litre atmo and supercharged V8s give Range Rover Vogue new lease on life

21 Sep 2009

TWO cracking new Jaguar V8s have top billing in Land Rover’s more refined, higher-quality 10MY Range Rover Vogue range, which is now on sale in Australia.

Revealed at the New York motor show in April and already powering Jaguar’s XF sedan, the new naturally aspirated and supercharged direct-injection 5.0-litre LR-V8s deliver significantly greater performance and improved fuel economy than the 4.2-litre engines they replace.

Also mated to an improved six-speed ZF HP26 automatic transmission is the Rangie’s proven 200kW/640Nm 3.6-litre TDV8 twin-turbo diesel, which continues to return average fuel consumption of 11.1L/100km and CO2 emissions of 294g/km in three diesel Range Rover variants.

The entry-level TDV8 still opens the Range Rover Vogue line-up, priced at $155,000 – up $1600 on the model it replaces.

It comes with the same specification as the new entry-level petrol V8 variant, which costs $3000 more at $158,000 and is powered by a 276kW/510Nm version of Jaguar Land Rover’s new 5.0-litre petrol V8.

Featuring a deeper “sump within a sump” and waterproofing revisions over the AJ-V8 upon which it is based, the naturally aspirated 5.0-litre LR-V8 delivers a healthy 276kW at 6500rpm (up some 25 per cent on the 4.2) and no less than 510Nm of torque at 3500rpm (up 16 per cent).

24 center imageThe result is 0-100km/h pace that is just 0.1 seconds tardier than the outgoing supercharged V8 at 7.6 seconds, and a top speed of 210km/h.

At the same time, the V8’s combined fuel consumption is 6.9 per cent lower than before at 14.0L/100km, while average CO2 emissions are down 7.4 per cent at 326g/km.

Similarly, the range-topping Vogue Supercharged Autobiography delivers 29 per cent more peak power than before (a meaty 375kW at 6000rpm), as well as 12 per cent more torque, with a walloping 625Nm on hand at just 2000rpm.

Thanks a sixth-generation Roots-type twin-vortex supercharger, the blown Rangie flagship now rockets to 100km/h in just 6.2 seconds (down from 7.5 seconds), yet returns 7.3 per cent better average fuel consumption (14.9L/100km) and 7.4 per cent lower CO2 emissions (348g/km).

For the privilege, the most expensive Range Rover variant increases in price by $16,800, to $229,500. Likewise, the TDV8 Autobiography costs $15,300 more at $208,900, while the entry-level TDV8 Luxury is priced $1800 higher at $179,500.

A host of new Range Rover Vogue technologies includes a fully configurable new 12.3-inch laptop-style Thin Film Transistor (TFT) LCD instrument panel, complete with virtual graphic displays, dials and pointers, which is standard across the 10MY Rangie Vogue line-up.

There is also the world’s first automotive application of a new dual-view touch-screen, which employs unique Parallax Barrier technology to simultaneously allow the front passenger to watch a DVD movie while the driver sees a navigation map.

Sadly, the twin-view screen is standard only on top-shelf Autobiography TDV8 and V8 Supercharged models, costs $1200 on the TDV8 Luxury and is unavailable on the entry-level petrol and diesel V8s.

Mechanically, a new Adaptive Dynamics suspension damping control system is also fitted to top-shelf Autobiography versions of Land Rover’s upgraded flagship ($2240 on other variants), while Adaptive Cruise Control is a new ($5300) option across the range.

Also fitted as standard only to the two Autobiography variants is a new Vision Assist Package, which combines Blind Spot Monitoring, Automatic High Beam Assist, a patented reverse Tow Assist function and a surround camera system that uses five digital cameras to relay a near 360-degree view to the touch-screen.

The vision pack is a $2470 option on the TDV8 Luxury, but is similarly unavailable on the entry-level petrol and diesel V8s. Metallic paint continues to be an $1800 option across the Rangie Vogue line-up.

Brakes have been upgraded on all five Vogue variants, with the diesel and naturally aspirated V8 getting a version of the previous supercharged model’s four-piston brake system and the new supercharged model getting a new Brembo package with six-piston front brake callipers and 380mm discs.

The Rangie’s Terrain Response system is also upgraded to feature a sand setting that’s less likely to bog the wheels on takeoff and a rock-crawl setting with improved brake and traction control response times.

Rounding out the model year 2010 Range Rover Vogue changes are new headlights, tail-lights and indicators with upmarket LED elements, a black and silver badge to replace the traditional silver and green, and a new, less bluff grille and bumper design.

“The Range Rover Vogue 10MY is a considerable step forward for what is already regarded as one of the world's most complete luxury vehicles,” said Land Rover Australia general manager Roger Jory.

“New engines deliver formidable power, efficiency and customary Range Rover Vogue refinement, and new technologies, such as the dual-view screen, deliver a world first. Like its legendary predecessors, the Range Rover Vogue 10MY continues to set the pace.” All Vogues come standard with cruise control, Terrain Response, an electric park brake, permanent four-wheel drive, a centre electronic differential with low range transfer box, electronic cross-linked air suspension with automatic load-levelling and multiple modes, speed-dependent power steering, acoustic front and side glass, a heated windscreen, electric sunroof, automatic headlights and wipers and heated/power/folding mirrors.

The standard equipment list also includes puddle and footwell lights, a rear-view camera, bi-Xenon headlights with washers, front/rear parking sensors, towing preparation, 19-inch alloy wheels, climate-control power windows/mirrors, Blenheim leather trim, powered front seats with memory and entry/exit function, a leather multifunction steering wheel, Range Rover tread plates, Burr Wood trim, 12.3-inch TFT-LCD virtual instruments, 11-speaker Harman Kardon audio, hard-drive navigation with seven-inch touch-screen, Bluetooth connectivity and twin front/side/curtain and driver’s knee airbags.

The Vogue TDV8 Luxury adds climate-control front and side glass, auto-dimming exterior door mirrors, adaptive bi-Xenon headlights, 20-inch V-spoke alloy wheels, ski bag and luggage net, heat/cooled/perforated Oxford leather seats, a heated leather steering wheel, extra woodgrain trim, a 14-speaker Harmon Kardon Logic 7 surround sound system, rear screen entertainment pack and Venture Cam.

Finally, both Autobiography models also gain the dual-view touch-screen, Adaptive Dynamics, Vision Assist Package, 20-inch Diamond turned alloy wheels, heated/cooled/perforated semi-aniline leather trim, ‘noble’ grille and side vent mesh, Supercharged design pack, full leather fascia, leather door panels, leather headlining, woodgrain rear console, brushed sill tread plates, Autobiography floormats and an electronic rear differential.

Drive impressions:

THE automotive marketing world pumps out many slogans, but Range Rover’s ‘greatest breadth of ability on and off road’ still rings true.

Never in the Rangie’s 40-year history has its competition been fiercer, with a procession of ever-new luxury SUVs and an ever-improving old guard of off-road specialists attempting to squeeze the British pioneer in a time-honoured pincer movement.

Premium off-road imitators like the MkII Mercedes-Benz M-class and GL-class, BMW’s all-conquering X5, the Audi Q7 and Porsche’s highly capable Cayenne have all given the Rangie a hard time on the road, some more successfully than others.

But none has succeeded in also matching the Range Rover’s impeccable off-road ability.

On the other hand Toyota’s go-anywhere icon, the LandCruiser, has grown bigger, more luxurious and more refined in an effort to match its Range Rover-style off-road credentials with on-road manners more like the Rangie’s.

But, like the closely related Lexus LX570, it spectacularly fails to offer the ride and handling balance of the well-rounded Brit on the blacktop.

And now for the 2010 model year the Rangie increases that breadth of ability yet further with two superb new Jaguar-sourced but Land Rover-proofed direct-injection V8s, which deliver outstanding performance, flexibility and refinement gains while also being more efficient.

The new 5.0-litre makes the old 4.2 feel positively anaemic, revving with exuberance and a hairy-chested bellow to 6500rpm and never feeling like the slick ZF auto is left wanting another gear.

The supercharged engine is better in every respect and of course it’s thirstier, although with a performance increase of almost 1.5 seconds to 100km/h, its 0.9L/100km fuel efficiency deficit almost seems worth it.

Maybe it is the ruthless efficiency of the blown V8’s ability to gather speed so quickly that doesn’t make it feel as quick off the mark as, say, an ML63 AMG or even a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8. But there’s no question this is one of the quickest and fastest SUVs available. Period.

Upgraded brakes for both new petrol V8s complete the upgraded on-road package, aided by a more luxurious LED-look that’s also a little less upright, while a neat new virtual instrument panel is fitted across the range, featuring a neat “torchlight” function that brightens the numbers surrounding the needles.

The latter uses laptop screen technology to present lifelike analogue speedo and tacho gauges that can be programmed or moved sideways to display a large central Terrain Response graphic, which shows critical off-road details like steering angle, vehicle incline and individual wheel articulation.

Like the clever (and also allegedly world-first) dual-view touch screen, a host of other handy new features are fitted as standard only on the top-spec Autobiography models, which increase the most in price.

They include technologies available in German luxury sedans like adaptive radar-based cruise control, a system that automatically turns off high beam when an oncoming vehicle is detected and a surprisingly comprehensive 360-degree surround camera system that as good for safety in the carpark as it is for fun and convenience in the bush.

Also exclusive to the Autobiography - but thankfully a relative snip at $2240 on the other three Vogue variants – is Land Rover’s highly effective adaptive damping technology, which brings Rangie on par with some of its top-end luxury SUV rivals and transforms its on-road capability by noticeably reducing bodyroll, headshake and understeer.

Similarly, improvements to the Vogue’s Terrain Response and entire electronic architecture systems make off-road going a quieter, smoother and even more effortless experience, with less ABS grinding, suspension lurching and transmission whirring than before during ultra low-speed manoeuvring.

As good as the Rangie’s two new petrol V8s are, the twin-turbo V8 diesel is still our pick, and unless it’s the full-house Autobiography you’re after, most of the 10MY improvements come for free.

Either way, no matter the model, the latest Range Rover has just increased its level of capability in both directions again.

10MY Range Rover Vogue pricing:
TDV8 (a) $155,000
TDV8 Luxury (a) $179,500
TDV8 Autobiography (a) $208,900
5.0 V8 $158,000
5.0 V8 Supercharged Autobiography (a) $229,500

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