2014 Land Rover Range Rover V8 Supercharged
2014 Land Rover Range Rover V8 Supercharged
2014 Land Rover Range Rover V8 Supercharged. Click image to enlarge

Like almost anything else worth mentioning from England, the original Land Rover was designed in a shed on a farm. The Series I, constructed using Jeep bits, was a legend of serviceability, durability, and go-anywhere toughness.

These days Land Rovers don’t just conquer the hillsides. They lay claim to city streets, highways, and parking garages, allowing you to plant your flag of success and status in any environment you please.

At the tippy-top of Land Rover’s range of earthbound vanquishers is the Range Rover, an unmatched combination of luxury and capability. Sure, there are other SUVs on the market that offer extreme off-road prowess (Jeep Wrangler, for instance) or luxury in excess (like any of the big German SUVs). But none offer both luxury and utility without the ostentatiousness of the former or the sheer brashness of the latter. It’s typically British.

The Range Rover V8 Supercharged, which is the entry trim of the top Range Rover models, isn’t a new design. Well, Land Rover will say it is, but it’s new in the same way the Porsche 911 is new. The headlights are and will forever be rectangles. All sides will forever be flat. The rear door will forever split into a liftgate and tailgate. And it will be forever larger than life.

But, if it ain’t broke…

Underneath the skin is where it all starts to make sense.

Inside, amenities have been greatly upgraded over the last generation while controls still remain in their typical Range Rover locations (window switches are atop the door molding rather than the armrest for instance). All cheap plastics are gone in favour of higher quality materials. Even the vents look as if they were designed instead of being HVAC afterthoughts, little more than holes cut in the dash and given some chintzy chrome trim. It truly looks and feels upscale while keeping things simple and utilitarian.

Land Rover, in their quest to upgrade everything now that parent company Tata Motors is giving them lots of money, gave computers a go with a new generation infotainment system. It’s confusing, not particularly nice to look at, and (worst of all) slower than a Sochi-based construction company. Touchscreen response time is beyond abysmal and three quick taps of anything will send the computer into a deep freeze. Why automotive companies decide to make these complex systems run on cheap, slow hardware is inexcusable and beyond comprehension.

Under the hood sits a supercharged 5.0L V8 engine delivering 510 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque to a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic. As you’d expect, four-wheel drive is standard and managed by Land Rover’s Terrain Response 2 system. The trick traction system has six different modes: General, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts, Sand, and Rock Crawl.

2014 Land Rover Range Rover V8 Supercharged2014 Land Rover Range Rover V8 Supercharged2014 Land Rover Range Rover V8 Supercharged
2014 Land Rover Range Rover V8 Supercharged. Click image to enlarge

While the engine isn’t perfect, it’s still delightful both in power delivery and auditory bliss. However, the eight-speed automatic isn’t nearly as refined; gears are swapped in a harsher manner than expected under moderate acceleration and it does hunt and peck for a gear in stop-and-go or slow traffic.

Ride quality also isn’t impeccable around the city. While the Range Rover never does anything unpredictable in response to potholes and other road imperfections, you can still feel every crack in the road surface through those 21-inch wheels.

But, even with all these fairly minor flaws, there’s a lot to the Range Rover.

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