Is the Range Rover Vogue SV Autobiography the best all-rounder in the world?
Tempus experiences the power and precision of this luxurious, versatile vehicle
Car enthusiasts can all agree that Range Rover consistently delivers an unquestioned level of prowess in its off-road driving vehicles, and with decades of performance testing behind them, the latest vehicles perform more than impressively when put through their paces in extreme off-roading. And those of us privileged enough to experience these vehicles being pushed to the limit of traction or wading through rivers will understand how capable these machines really are, packed with features and capabilities that 99.9% of the vehicles leaving the production line will never be required to use when cruising the streets of London, Paris or New York.
But how good is the Range Rover as an everyday car – and why would anyone suggest that the Vogue SV Autobiography is potentially one of the best all-rounders in the world? Having owned a long line of Range Rovers over the last 30 years – including a 2007 4.4 litre supercharged petrol engine V8 affectionately referred to as 'Rommel', due to its tank-like proportions and heavy build quality – I was blown away by the Vogue SV Autobiography.
Range Rover's fearsome reputation for off-roading is what has taken the brand to the global success that is still thriving, despite falling diesel sales and the slowing Chinese economy. You might never use the Range Rover's full off-road capabilities but, for owners, just knowing these specialities are there provides a level of comfort and secret satisfaction that delivers all the thrill of an off road vehicle – even while just running the kids to school. >>
Despite being nearly half a tonne heavier than the most recent model, the 4.4 litre supercharged version is certainly no slouch in contrast and still holds excellent performance levels. This earlier car also has some ‘interesting’ handling characteristics – including pushing the front end in tight low grip corners and achieving four-wheel skip if the power is applied too heavily when exiting high-speed corners, causing the car to momentarily skip a few inches to the left or right as all four wheels found grip.
At the time, the Autobiography was the only short wheelbase SV available in the country with the full executive pack, which was fully loaded. The retail price was eye-watering, but the finish inside the car was beautiful, featuring deployable tables, champagne cooler, stunning AV systems, and every bell and whistle known to man.
For an avid shooter and sports fan, the executive pack is a nice touch, allowing you to take advantage of a chauffeur to arrive at any event in utmost luxury – albeit with a compromise on legroom compared to the long wheel base Range Rovers available. >>
Performance and handling of a car is ultimately key, and with the power of Range Rover's blueprinted 5 litre high-performance, supercharged V8 engine that also powers its little brother (the SVR Sport), this model is a fast and furious motor. The much bigger Vogue, with all its benefits in space and luxury, is only fractions of a second slower accelerating to 60mph and, frankly, is a whole lot more car.
The delicacy of the eight-speed gearbox enables you to balance the huge power of the car, with the dynamic throttle allowing short-shifting with just the lightest lift of the foot, before delivering massive torque to outright horsepower. This control and sensitivity through feel and touch, rather than the paddles, gives exceptional control and make the car as wonderful to drive in town as it is through sweeping country roads.
In short, the Range Rover Vogue SV Autobiography has it all – space, impressive luxury, power, performance, unquestioned off-road capability – creating a driving experience that rewards the driver with a superbly smooth ride in safety and comfort. You would be hard pressed to find any other vehicle that ticks so many boxes.