The word from Buckingham Palace is that Her Majesty is highly delighted. Jubilant even.
The royal reason? That would be the arrival of an all-new Range Rover, preferred mode of transportation for everyone from Harry and Meghan, Andrew and Fergie and, on occasion, Her Royal Highness herself.
It’s been nine long years since the introduction of the current “Rangie”. Though that said, the shape still looks as exquisite, timeless and elegant as it did back in 2012.
And this is no simple mid-life-cycle refresh. While those bar-of-soap-smooth lines may look evolutionary rather than revolutionary, what’s under the skin is all-new and impressive.
And a new I-beam-stiff chassis has enabled Land Rover to finally give its new Rover a stretched wheelbase to allow a third row of seats.
Look closely and it’s hard not to be wowed by the even softer, more-organic lines of this masterful, super-luxe off-roader. By comparison, rivals like BMW’s X7, Mercedes-Benz’ GLE and Cadillac’s Escalade look over-styled blunt instruments.
You have to love the Rover’s evolved front-end with those full-width lower bars, the stronger, more muscular waistline, the pop-out door handles and the bold rear-end with its wafer-thin taillights that defines this new look. It’s a look that seems even more confident, more muscular.
Thankfully, that trademark split-tailgate at the rear is still there. And still perfect for tailgating at everything from Little League game to polo gathering.
Powertrain-wise, Land Rover has quite rightly jettisoned the diesel V6 and plug-in hybrid P440e models. Now there’s a silky-smooth 395-hp turbocharged in-line six with a 48-volt hybrid system. And the star-of-the-show, a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 packing a impressive 523hp.
If the V8 sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because it’s closely related to the engine BMW uses for the M550i and X7. In the Range Rover it should thrust the 4×4 from 0-to-60mph in a mere 4.4 seconds.
Looking forward, a 434-hp plug-in hybrid is on the cards for 2023, promising up to 62 miles of electric-only driving. That, and an all-electric, zero-emission eRange Rover that should debut in 2024.
But there’s already real substance here. Like all 2022 Range Rovers coming with a four-wheel electronic air suspension, and all-wheel steering to sharpen low-speed maneuverability and high-speed stability.
Climb aboard and all the style, elegance and abundance of blissful materials is all here, only amped-up. The leather seems just a little softer (for the first time there’s a leather-free option with Kvadrat wool), the wood is just a little more matte’d and pore’d. The quality and craftsmanship is even more artisanal.
New dashboard innovations include a lovely 13.1-inch floating curved touchscreen display with haptic feedback in the center. That, and a CinemaScope 13.7-inch digital display with pin-sharp graphics ahead of the driver.
One feature I can’t wait to experience; the new 1600-watt Meridian surround-sound stereo with its 35 speakers, speakers in the headrest, and an active noise-cancellation system that also hushes road noise and engine roar.
With this all-new Range Rover, parent Land Rover is firmly positioning it as a no-questions-asked luxury ride. Hence the price hike of the base model to a non-trivial $104,000. At the other end of the scale, the First Edition V8 Long-wheelbase will sticker north of $163,500 and go head-to-head with Bentley’s $160,000 Bentayga.
Then there’s the upcoming SVAutobiography, with its truly bespoke interior from Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations. That’s going to cost $215,200-and-way-up. Watch out Maybach.
Expect the first new Range Rovers to land in the U.S. next Spring, with the fancy-pants SV to follow late summer.
With this new Range Rover, Land Rover has once again set the new benchmark in SUV luxury. Yes a $400-grand Rolls-Royce Cullinan may have unparalleled quality and craftsmanship, but it sure doesn’t look as exquisite as this RR.