The shortlist of the world’s finest luxury SUVs just got a whole lot shorter. In fact it’s now become a shortlist of one. The all-new 2013 Range Rover.
I’ve always been an enormous fan of this iconic Brit. The combination of classy style, luxury and elegance coupled with true go-anywhere versatility has always set it apart from the competition.
But this all-new version, which lands in the U.S. in time for Christmas, takes its appeal to a whole new level. Now you can pretty much forget that it’s an SUV - here is one of the world’s finest luxury automobiles. Period.
New from its tires up, its biggest change is the switch from steel to aluminum for its entire body and chassis. This makes it a staggering 700 pounds lighter than the outgoing model. That’s huge. It’s the difference between driving solo, or with a couple of over-fed line-backers sitting in the back seat.
When you shed this amount of poundage, you get enormous benefits in terms of performance, handling agility and fuel economy. The new Range Rover supercharged, for example, will be able to rocket from standstill to 60mph in a staggering 5.1 seconds, yet use nine per cent less gas.
And it looks even more gorgeous than the last version. It is sleeker, sexier, more aerodynamic, yet still unmistakably a Range Rover. And that trademark ‘floating’ roof, it looks to be floating even more with the new blacked-out roof pillars and flush-fitting glass.
They’ve also taken the opportunity to add in a whole raft of luxury car features. The new power split-tailgate now opens and closes at the touch of a button. All four doors have power-cinch closing. And, following on from the new compact Range Rover Evoque, there’s a giant panoramic glass roof.
But nothing showcases this new Range Rover’s laser-focus on luxury more than the new rear seat. There’s now an extra 4.7 inches of legroom so you really can stretch out in the back. And check the options box and you can get your new Range Rover with two individual, fully adjustable rear seats. Hello Bentley.
The Bentley analogy is real. Range Rover buyers will get a choice of no fewer than 37 exterior paint finishes - another 22 if you opt for the Autobiography model - plus 17 interior color themes, three headlining color choices, and eight choices of alloy wheels, including Pimp My Ride-style 22-inchers.
But the piece de resistance has to be the optional Meridian Signature Reference audio system. It packs an almighty 1700 watts of digital surround sound blasted through no fewer than 29 speakers including a subwoofer that will likely register a seven on the Richter Scale.
Powering this new luxury liner will be the same 5.0-liter V8 nuclear reactors as before, but they’re now mated to an eight-speed ZF automatic for more responsive shifting and improved fuel economy.
I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to driving this new Range Rover. The combination of a 700-pound weight loss and 510 horsepower should deliver spectacular results. Brit Power indeed.