Predictably it turns out that the V8 diesel version of the new Range Rover is the most conspicuously talented of the range. An engine has to suit the car in which it’s fitted. While the petrol-driven, supercharged 5-litre V8 in the flagship car reviewed last month provides hilarious ultimate performance, it’s nothing like as well suited as a diesel to the needs of this car as the diesel.
Forget that petrol provides 510bhp and diesel a ‘mere’ 339bhp, and focus on the fact that at just 1750rpm the diesel motor is already chugging out far more torque than will its petrol equivalent can muster at any point in its rev range.
Also, in a Range Rover diesel is quieter than petrol. I know this is a curious assertion, but it’s true: the blower on the petrol engine is quite raucous while the diesel’s twin turbos reduce engine noise to the furthest rumble of thunder on the horizon.
Not that this will bother too many prospective buyers, but you’re better off-road with the diesel too. It provides superior engine braking and enough steam to pull you up the steepest, craggiest slopes at rarely more than idling revs. This is not about the four-wheel drive, electronic diffs, terrain control, hill descent or any other traction enhancing tricks common to all such cars, but a machine’s ability to let you drive it with millimetric accuracy at glacial speeds with utterly precise applications of power. Here this diesel is king.
Nor will it be lost even on those who can afford to drop £150 into its gargantuan 105-litre tank that the diesel Range Rover will travel well over half as far again on a single fill, which is the difference between reaching Nice from Calais in one hit or stopping somewhere short of Lyon.
Yes this Range Rover is still heavy, profligate and, in blinged up Autobiography guise, eye-wateringly expensive. But I understand exactly why it’s causing Land Rover the loveliest of headaches as waiting lists start to stretch into the middle distance. For a certain sort of well-heeled person with a go-anywhere, do-anything lifestyle, there’s nothing on the market to touch it.
Engine: 4.4-litres, eight cylinders, turbocharged
Top speed: 135mph
Power: 339bhp at 3500rpm