Review and photos by Peter Bleakney
Read a review of the all-new 2013 Land Rover Range Rover in any British motoring publication and you’d think the arrival of this all-aluminum luxury off-roader was paramount to the naming of a fresh Pope… or the appointment of a new Archbishop of Canterbury.
Well, they say good tidings come in threes.
You’ll read how this leather-lined luxo-barge is 350 kg lighter than the outgoing model, and how its increased approach and departure angles, updated Terrain Response 2 and even deeper wading ability (now 900 mm) has the Rangie attacking the wilds of Morocco and coming out unscathed… other than for a few mud smears on the baby-bum-soft leather dash and a bit of sand in the foot wells. You’ll see it perched at ridiculous angles with one wheel cocked high in the air, and marvel at photos of it blasting through a river like a Boston Whaler.
2013 Range Rover Supercharged. Click image to enlarge
But you ain’t gonna’ see that here.
No, my week was spent doing what 99.99 percent of 2013 Range Rover Supercharged owners will do – that being rumbling through the ‘hood, dropping kids off at school and commuting to work while observing the less fortunate from its imperious and lavishly appointed perch.
And I must say the view is pretty darned sweet. Not least due to the tall greenhouse and thin A-pillars that allow excellent outward visibility and full view of the front corners – a necessary virtue for serious off-roading. More importantly to some owners I suspect, it offers the Great Unwashed a fine view of the driver.
Starting at $114,750, the 2013 Range Rover Supercharged (there is no naturally aspirated model) arrives with the Jag/Land Rover 5.0L supercharged V8 that generates 510 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque, and is mated to an eight-speed ZF auto. This is a terrific engine. It is creamy smooth and has right-now throttle response – none of the elasticity seen in some turbocharged engines. The ZF auto is also very impressive. It shifts smoothly and responds with the immediacy of a twin-clutch when using the paddle shifters.
Land Rover claims this to be the first all-aluminum SUV, and with the aforementioned 350-kg weight reduction (that’s about four adults worth) the 2013 Range Rover certainly feels lighter on its feet than the outgoing model. Put your foot in it, and it charges like a pissed-off rhino – zero to 100 km/h in a scant 5.4 seconds. Its newfound svelte-ness also reduces fuel usage by a claimed nine percent, although at 2,330 kg this Rangie is still more Rob Ford than Rob Lowe.
When considering the Range Rover’s overachieving off-road abilities, its on-road dynamics are all the more impressive. This is no top-heavy waddler.
It has a marvelously smooth and quiet ride, yet when negotiating an on-ramp at speed this big ute’ stays eerily level – there are only a scant few degrees of body roll.
Credit goes to the Electronic Cross Linked Air Suspension (with variable ride height) along with upgraded adaptive dampers that adjust 100 times a second.
If you do venture off road (or fail to see the concrete parking partition in front of the yoga studio) the entirely new and mostly aluminum double-wishbone front suspension offers 260 mm of travel, while the rear multi-link setup allows 310 mm. The low-range transfer case can be engaged at speeds up to 65 km/h.