Land Rover send us the 2011 MY Range Rover 4.4 TDV8 Autobiography to review and road test. Is the new 4.4 litre diesel a worthy addition?
This year has seen lots of reporting on the Range Rover, mainly because Land Rover’s modern icon has reached the grand old age of forty. Hard to believe in some ways that the familiar, boxy silhouette of the Range Rover has been around so long, but in others it feels like the Rangie has always been a part of the car landscape.
But that familiarity probably owes a lot to the very long periods between significant changes in the Range Rover’s shape. The original Range Rover – now know as the Range Rover Classic – lasted so long we all thought Land Rover were trying to emulate Porsche.
From its launch in 1970 right through to 1996 the shape of the Range Rover didn’t change. Yes, it evolved, but to the casual observer it stayed the same until the second generation arrived in 1995. The second generation Range Rover was probably the least successful incarnation of the Rangie and it did garner a reputation for problems, particularly with the engine and the air suspension, which often just stopped working and needed a large injection of cash to bring back to life.
But the third generation of the Rangie – introduced in 2002 – was a quantum leap forward. But then it should have been; it’s reliably reported it cost BMW £1 billion to develop, although they did get £2 billion for Land Rover when they flogged it to Ford shortly before the current Range Rover was launched.
The latest Range Rover was a revelation in term of on-road manners thanks to a change to a unibody construction with independent air suspension all round. The change meant the Rangie was just as good off-road as it was with the previous model’s live axle, but its on-road manners were transformed.
It also benefited from a BMW V8 and a BMW diesel which lasted through until Ford stuck its own engines in in 2006 – the 4.4 V8 petrol, 4.2 petrol S/C and the 3.6 TDV8. Endless tweaks and modifications, improvements and additions have gone on both technically and cosmetically since 2006 to see the Range Rover improving every year.
The last change was the dropping of the 4.4 V8 and the replacement of the 4.2 litre S/C with the 5.0 litre S/C from Jaguar in 2009 to give the Range Rover the sort of performance owners of earlier models could only dream of.
But the 3.6 diesel TDV8 continued, offering a tempting concoction of decent performance and economy (for a Range Rover) and a wall of torque that allowed the Range Rover to tow a small planet and jump away from the lights ahead of the hot hatches. And when we reviewed the 3.6 TDV8 Range Rover just a few months ago we wondered how much better Land Rover could make the Range Rover.
Well, now we have the answer – the 2011MY Range Rover 4.4 litre TDV8. In the guise Land Rover has sent us – the Range Rover 4.4 TDV8 Autobiography – it costs a not inconsiderable £88,095. Admittedly that does include almost £7k of extras, but it still a sizeable sum for any car. Can the 4.4 TDV8 Range Rover really be worth almost £90k?
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