Here it is, the new 2011 model year TDV8 Range Rover, yours from £67,495 for the entry-level Vogue, the top-spec Autobiography coming in at £81,395 – a rise of £855 and £3515 respectively. Headline changes are the introduction of an all-new 4.4-litre turbodiesel V8 and a new eight-speed automatic ZF gearbox.
Hold on, haven’t we just had an all-new Range Rover?
We have indeed, or at least a significantly revised RR – Land Rover refer to that as the 2010.5 model year. Essentially the SUV was facelifted last year and the old 4.2-litre supercharged petrol engine made way for the new 5.0-litre supercharged V8, just as it did in Jag XKs. However, if you wanted a diesel, you had to make do with the old 3.6-litre TD V8. The 4.4 TD V8 that the 2011 model brings means both powertrains are now updated.
Let me guess: it’s faster, it’s greener…
Absolutely. The car industry’s rush to slash C02 never seems to impact on performance, and the new TDV8 Range is no exception. Power rises from 268bhp to 309bhp, torque from 472lb ft to 516lb ft, which drops the 0-60mph by more than a second and adds 6mph to the top end. Meanwhile, C02 falls from 294g/km to 253g/km (shaving £200 off your first year’s tax, a tenner a year thereafter), while mpg rises from 25mpg to 30mpg. No doubt the tall eighth-speed helps with all that.
How does it drive?
Really well. There are no surprises here – it’s still peerlessly comfortable, still pretty rolly, still quite understeery, still the antithesis of sporty, still brilliant. I did notice that the ride felt a little plusher, the body better controlled and front-end grip a little better than the 2010.5 model year car I also drove recently, but Land Rover isn’t claiming any chassis improvements and – cue self-administered slap across the knuckles – I can’t remember whether the wheel and tyre combo of both test cars were identical.
How about the new engine and ’box?
Both are hugely worthwhile additions. The engine is noticeably quieter and smoother, and the extra capacity makes it feel far healthier and better able to shrug off what remains a pretty obscene kerbweight – 2800kg!
The gearbox is smoother and quicker too, and the old car’s lag between dawdling and kicking down for urgent acceleration is all-but eliminated. Oh, and a Jag-style rotary controller usurps the conventional gear stick, and there are now paddles on the steering wheel, which sound a bit pointless but adds extra user-friendliness.
No big changes here, but this is a great SUV that benefits hugely from the addition of a quieter, faster, more refined and more frugal new engine and a swifter, slicker transmission.
>> Click 'Add your comment' below and let us know what you think of the new 2011 Range Rover TDV8