2023 Range Rover Rides on All-New Platform but Feels Luxuriously Familiar

2023 Range Rover Rides on All-New Platform but Feels Luxuriously Familiar

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Fifth-generation Range Rover combines on-road luxury with off-road chops.Prices will run from $95,150 to $159,550 when sales start in US. Initial choice of six-cylinder and BMW-sourced V8, plug-in hybrids, and full EV to follow.If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the Range Rover is one of the most flattered cars in history. The original 1970 example can lay good claim to pioneering the SUV genre, while the outgoing example—launched in 2012—inspired a host of high-end rivals, including both the Bentley Bentayga and the Rolls-Royce Cullinan. Challengers will need to work harder to keep up with the new one, which seems improved almost across the board.The new 2022 Range Rover (the outgoing model is also labeled a ‘22) sits on a new architecture, officially known as MLA Flex, and will launch with two engines in the US: the P400 has a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six with 395 hp, and the range-topping P530 will ship with a new 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 in place of the venerable supercharged 5.0-liter V8 of the old car. Prices will run from $95,150 for the base I6 all the way to $159,550 for the P530 First Edition. Related Stories 2023 Range Rover Hybrid Nets 48 Miles of EV Range Jaguar Land Rover and Nvidia Team Up on Software Electric Range Rover on the Way We started at the top, with our first drive in Northern California in a P530 First Edition. From front and side the new Range Rover bears a strong resemblance to its predecessor, with the same lengthy rear overhang, fender vents, and gently falling glass line. Closer examination reveals differences, with narrower all-LED headlights, invisible door handles that motor themselves away when the car is moving, and a similarly sleek aesthetic in the seamless way glazing integrates into the door frames. At the back the new Range Rover feels more obviously changed, with narrow new taillights apparently linked by the full-width trim strip on the tailgate. VIEW PHOTOS Land Rover The interior feels less radical. It is roomy, well finished, and packed with equipment, and Land Rover will offer the option of non-leather trim for the first time in decades. But the company’s design team has encountered the same issue that faces the rest of the premium car industry: There is no such thing as a luxury feeling touchscreen. While the new 13.1-inch display that dominates the center of the dashboard is crisply rendered and offers haptic resistance, running JLR’s smart new Pivi Pro UI system, there is no tactile joy to be found in its operation. Fortunately there are still conventional rotary temperature controls below it, plus a pop-up mechanical selector for the various Drive Select dynamic modes. While undoubtedly quick, the new Range Rover feels considerably gentler than the super-SUV norm. The limited number of 4.4-liter V8s in current production gives a clue as to where this one comes from—built by BMW, although running bespoke Land Rover calibration. On Land Rover’s numbers it produces 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. It also immediately feels like an upgrade over the previous engine, with snappier reactions and none of the sapping sensation of a large flywheel the 5.0-liter had when revved.The new engine note is more muted and obviously lacks the old car’s charismatic supercharger whine. Driven using the top inch or so of the gas pedal’s long travel gives almost no sense that there is a V8 up front. Pushing harder produces a more muscular soundtrack, although still a hushed one, plus impressively forceful longitudinal G-forces. Land Rover claims a 0-60 mph time of just 4.4 seconds. That’s only a tenth of a second outside the time of the previous-generation Range Rover Sport, which holds the record as the quickest factory Land Rover product. Not bad for a 5700-pound SUV. VIEW PHOTOS Land Rover While undoubtedly quick, the new Range Rover feels considerably gentler than the super-SUV norm. The steering’s power assistance is generous, and although the responses behind this are proportional and accurate, the suspension is pliant where rivals are frequently hard. Standard air suspension proved pillowy over bumps and compressions, with the Range Rover using its considerable wheel travel to fill dips and absorb undulations, and adaptive dampers working quickly to stop secondary harmonics.Cornering produced the sensation of lean, despite standard fitment of one of the increasingly fashionable 48-Volt antiroll systems to fight this; Land Rover obviously thinks a softer setup suits the cars better. At lower speeds the active rear steering system, which can turn the rear wheels up to 7.3 degrees, makes a significant improvement to maneuverability. Related Stories Jaguar Land Rover and Nvidia Team Up on Software Classic Range Rovers Will Get Modern Fuel Economy Range Rover Prototype Is Up for Auction Soon One thing missing from my time in the Range Rover was a chance to see how it copes with life away from asphalt. The toughest off-road challenge on the launch was a steeply graded gravel track I’m confident a front-wheel-drive Range Rover Evoque could conquer easily. In addition to its on-road modes—Comfort, Eco, and Dynamic—the Range Rover’s Terrain Response system has a multitude of settings for any surface. The air suspension can give up to 11.6 inches of ground clearance in its fully raised mode, and there are locking differentials front and rear plus a low-speed transfer case of the sort most SUV makers have long since given up on. We look forward to discovering how it copes with a trip to some wilder environments.As for any sense of environmental virtue, that’s a hard look for any large luxury SUV to pull off these days. But greener models are coming, with Land Rover confirming there will be two plug-in hybrids (with up to 62 miles of all-electric range under the European WLTP testing protocol), plus a fully electric version which will be launched as soon as 2024. For now, the new Range Rover offers a familiar experience, and also radiates a huge amount of confidence—which, on first impression, seems entirely justified. Its predecessor was still selling strongly as it approached retirement and was never bettered by any of its blue-blooded imitators on anything except perceived poshness. The new one seems to be better in every significant way.

Source : autoweek.com
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