Actual rating will vary with options, driving conditions, habits and vehicle condition.
The standard features of the Land Rover Range Rover HSE include 5.0L V-8 375hp engine, 6-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), integrated navigation system, side seat mounted airbags, curtain 1st and 2nd row overhead airbags, driver knee airbag, airbag occupancy sensor, automatic air conditioning, 19" aluminum wheels, cruise control, and an ABS and driveline traction control.
The Range Rover HSE uses a normally aspirated 385 horsepower version with 380 foot-pounds of torque. It accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds, a pace that's more than quick enough for safe passing. The engine sounds wonderful and feels blissfully smooth at full throttle, and is nearly soundless at cruising speeds.
The Range Rover Supercharged takes that engine and adds the latest generation of Eaton supercharger, boosting the power to 510 horsepower and 461 foot-pounds of torque. The acceleration leaps from 0 to 60 in 5.9 seconds, which is hot rod territory, for this SUV weighing nearly three tons.
All models use a ZF 6-speed automatic transmission, which features Normal, Sport and Manual modes. We found it effortless and unrestrained, and it shifts quickly in response to throttle input. There's a two-speed locking transfer case that can be shifted on the fly.
The steering and suspension systems are nearly faultless, as long as you're not trying to treat the big SUV like it's a sports car. Lots of power-steering assist is needed for quick left-right moves at low speeds and off-road, but less is needed as speeds climb. The Range Rover is a tall, heavy vehicle, but it takes extreme maneuvers in stride. It works better to drive it in a stately manner.
We found the ride quality of the Range Rover HSE to be about perfect. The suspension uses electronically controlled air springs and shock absorbers. We found the HSE provided excellent handling and little body roll in corners, especially for a hefty truck that rides this high off the ground and has a high center of gravity. The ride is smooth and the steering response is good, if not sports-car-like. It's a wonderful mix of luxury, silence and serenity.
But it should be. Listen to all the things working for you: Dynamic systems include All-terrain Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Enhanced Understeer Control (EUC), Electronic Rear Brake Boost (ERBB), Cornering Brake Control (CBC), Roll Stability Control (RSC), Hill Descent Control (HDC) and Gradient Release Control (GRC), Hill Start Assist (HSA) and Gradient Acceleration Control (GAC). It's a lot of alphabet soup, but it all works together both to increase capability and to make up for occasional deficiencies in the driving department.
The Terrain Response system has five settings: Highway, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts, Sand, and Rock Crawl. All you have to do is look out the windshield, assess the terrain, and select the appropriate setting. The Range Rover will drive accordingly, including setting the suspension height.
We also got to test drive a Range Rover Supercharged model. Just going down the highway, it was delightful. The huge tires are very quiet, and they combine with the electronically controlled air suspension and premium Bilstein Damptronic adaptive damping shock absorbers to deliver an extremely plush luxury-car ride, sampling the roadway 500 times per second and changing shock rates accordingly, each corner acting independently of the other three.
In consideration of its 140-mph top speed, the brakes on the Supercharged are big Brembos, with six-piston calipers in front. We found them extremely powerful, and very progressive and sensitive to conditions.
The 2012 Range Rover lineup includes a new top-line model called the Autobiography Ultimate Edition. Swathed in soft-feel semi-aniline leather, its four power-adjustable bucket seats flank a full-length console that incorporates a machined aluminum laptop table, a drink chiller, separate rear-seat climate controls and more. Two Apple iPads are linked to the rear-seat entertainment system. Oxford leather covers the door casings, dashboard, and steering wheel, and the wood inlays in the dash and doors is genuine Kalahari. Even the luggage floor is special, paneled like speedboat's deck in teak, with metal and leather detailing. Each Autobiography Ultimate Edition will be built to order, and only 500 will be sold globally.
2012 Range Rovers come with HD Radio and an iPod lead, and a new Towing Package is available.
The Range Rover's off-road capability is downright astounding, thanks to its Terrain Response electronic all-wheel drive and suspension system. The system includes Hill Start Assist and Gradient Acceleration Control. Range Rovers can scramble up rocky mountainsides, cross rivers and traverse mud bogs. They are easy to drive and instill confidence.
The Range Rover interior is rich and beautiful. There are premium materials everywhere you look and touch. The leather seats are tall and supportive in all the right places, and there is a nearly infinite amount of adjustment. The steering wheel carries buttons galore for cruise control, telephone and audio, two of which are up-down-left-right selectors for display and information functions. All the rotary switches on the instrument panel are hefty, and scalloped so they can be used with gloved hands. Options include power reclining rear seats and a 1200-watt harman/kardon sound system.
For 2012, the 5.0-liter V8 engine offers more power, now rated at 385 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. Land Rover says it can accelerate from 0-60 mph in just 7.2 seconds. That is plenty fast for anyone in the real world, and plenty impressive for a 5700-pound vehicle. We found the engine beautifully smooth.
The Range Rover Supercharged model blows 510 horsepower out of the engine and gets to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds. We found the performance of the Supercharged Range Rover scintillating. It's an off-road rocket ship, with 460 pound-feet of torque available for passing or towing.
All Range Rover models come with a 6-speed automatic transmission that's velvety smooth yet very responsive.
The Supercharged uses powerful six-piston Brembo brakes, which will slow the truck safely whether braking repeatedly down a curvy mountain road or coming to a straight, quick stop from high speed. Naturally, they're supported by a sophisticated anti-lock brake system that's behind Hill Descent Control and Gradient Acceleration Control. Both are features that enhance safety on icy streets, not just off road.
We've found few four-wheel-drive vehicles combine this level of acceleration and braking with a hushed, plush highway ride in a roomy cocoon of high-grade leather and wood. Whether crossing the Gobi Desert at night or negotiating Manhattan during the daily rush, the Range Rover is at ease.
The Range Rover design remains distinctive among SUVs, boxy and sleek at the same time, very classy.
It has the shortest possible front and rear overhangs to maintain its awesome off-road clearances. Modest fender flares are integrated into the steel fenders rather than tacked on.
Autobiography Ultimate Edition is distinguished by a unique, deeper front fascia that more sharply defines the lower air opening, wrapping body color around it rather than just over its top, as on the standard models. Matching upper and lower grilles go for the hot-rod Bentley look with a plain mesh that resembles, frankly, a chain-link fence in its texture, but with a brighter finish of course. The foglight nacelles are more prominent and bright-finished as well.
The trademark fender vents are accented with brightwork. Politely short sill extensions visually connect the front and rear wheels, suggesting a running board more than anything racy. Like the deeper front fascia, they are not unattractive so much as out of place on an ultimate off-roader.
Half a dozen different wheel styles are available, but the most striking features nine pairs of alternating thick and thin spokes (for 18 spokes in all), set tangentially to the hub. They look like they're spinning even when they're standing still. We prefer the more traditional styles.
The teak-plank cargo floor looks quite convincingly like the deck of an antique yacht or speedboat. The planking continues on the inside of the fold-down tailgate, so opening the tailgate enhances, rather than spoils, the effect.
A 12-inch Thin Film Transistor screen replaces the usual instrument cluster. This screen displays the tach, speedo and other instruments virtually. The driver is able to move the gauges around on the screen for more convenient off-road operation. It's bright, clear, interesting and versatile.
The front leather seats are tall and supportive in all the right places, and there is a nearly infinite amount of adjustment. The steering wheel carries buttons galore for cruise control, telephone and audio, two of which are up-down-left-right selectors for display and information functions. All the rotary switches on the instrument panel are hefty, and scalloped so they can be used with gloved hands.
The window glass in the rear doors is laminated to enhance the silent running in the back seat. Power reclining of the rear seat, in addition to heating and cooling, is available.
The 710-watt, 14-speaker harman/kardon system that comes standard produces chamber-like sound. A 1200-watt, 19-speaker system is optional. The available rear seat entertainment system includes a 6 DVD changer, separate screens in the front seatbacks, and headphones.
The elaborate full-length console in the Autobiography Ultimate Edition incorporates, among other things, a small writing (or laptop) desk and a cooler with a slide-open top. Inside are holders for a couple of glasses (sized just right for cupholders that look as bright and solid as machined billet) and a bottle of your favorite back-seat beverage. It's really a striking bit of functional sculpture that looks, above all, convincingly expensive.
The Terrain Response system, controlled by a click-wheel on the console, allows the driver to select among six chassis setups, depending on the terrain being traversed. Height control allows the driver to lower the body of the Range Rover for easy entry of passengers or raise it for off-road clearance. A third control allows for locking the center and rear differentials for demanding off-road conditions or icy on-road driving. There is a separate switch for Hill Descent Control, the system that restricts downhill speed to 2 mph on any grade without touching the brakes. In any off-road mode, a set of icons is displayed on the TFT screen showing the front tire steering angle and the locked/unlocked differential positions, so the driver always knows what's what when driving off-road.
Using the height control to lower the Range Rover is a great aid when loading dogs and cargo.
Options include rear seat entertainment ($2,500); Vision Assist Package, including blind spot monitoring, adaptive headlamps, surround camera and high-beam assist ($1,800); a 1200-watt, 19-speaker harman/kardon sound system ($1,350); and a Tow Prep/Utility Package ($2,000) consisting of a locking rear differential, full-size spare tire and Adaptive Dynamics suspension.
The Luxury Package ($4,370) upgrades the HSE with 14-way heated and cooled front seats, premium leather, wood trim on the center console, storage in center and overhead consoles, Sirius satellite radio, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, storage nets, and 20-inch wheels.
Range Rover Supercharged ($95,670) comes with the supercharged engine, the big Brembo brakes, Adaptive Dynamics (continuously variable suspension tuning), 14-way adjustable front seats, more interior wood trim, stainless steel pedals, and chrome exhaust tips.
Supercharged models and HSE models with the Luxury Package share a number of options, including power reclining rear seats with memory ($1,250); and the new Silver Package ($3,300) consisting of the 1200-watt stereo, Windsor leather seating surfaces, four-zone climate control with climate glass, and unique 20-inch, seven-V-spoke alloy wheels. Exclusive to the Supercharged model is adaptive cruise control with Collision Mitigation by Braking ($2000).
Range Rover Autobiography ($126,665) builds on the Supercharged model with its own unique styling, plus the 1200-watt 19-speaker harman/kardon 6CD HD radio; semi-aniline leather seats with heat and climate control, front and rear; full leather trim; special headliner; 14-piece wood trim; four-zone climate control; rear seat entertainment system with 6DVD changer; adaptive cruise control with Collision Mitigation by Braking; and diamond-turned 20-inch wheels. Chrome wheels, previously an extra-cost option, are now available at no charge, as are last-year's extra-cost wood trims.
Just 500 Autobiography Ultimate Editions ($170,000) will be built to order, featuring a four-bucket-seat interior with a full-length center console that incorporates a machined aluminum laptop table and drink chiller. Two Apple iPads are linked to the rear-seat entertainment system. Oxford leather covers the door casings, dashboard, and steering wheel, and the wood inlays in the dash and doors are genuine Kalahari. Even the luggage floor is special, paneled in yacht-like teak with metal and leather detailing.
Safety features that come standard include seven airbags, stability control with traction control and yaw control, anti-lock brakes, Hill Descent Control, Acceleration Gradient Control, tire pressure monitor, collapsible steering column, and rearview camera.
Sam Moses contributed to this report after his test drive of a Range Rover in Colorado; with Jim McCraw reporting from Eastnor Castle, England.
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