Car review: The £165,000 Range Rover SVAutobiography


If Land Rover’s flagship vehicle, the Range Rover, isn’t exclusive enough for you, the SVAutobiography is the flagship Range Rover.

Created by JLR’s Special Vehicle Operations department, this is available in with a choice of diesels and an uprated supercharged V8.

The latter now puts out 543bhp and 502lb ft – the same as in the high-performance Range Rover Sport SVR.

Yet in the more reserved Range Rover, it’s not the better engine to drive. It’s fast, for sure, but the hard-revving petrol engine has an all-or-nothing feel, and a hard-edged note, that aren’t in keeping with a luxury limousine.

We tested the SVAutobiography in LWB form with the V8 and top-end SDV8 engines. And we did it both behind the wheel and resting in the back seats.

Land Rover says owners are likely to have chauffeurs but will drive themselves at the weekend. That’s borne out by the order book, too – with more than 90% specifying the petrol engine and LWB chassis.

Behind the wheel, however, the torque-heavy TDV8 is perfectly suited to the Range Rover. It feels untroubled by the job; whether from standstill or on the way out of corners, acceleration is never waiting to catch up with engine revs.

In the back, you sit in one of two individual seats which throw every trick in the book at giving you a comfy, sumptuously appointed ride.

The car itself does let in the odd thump from the rear suspension, but the LWB is far better than the standard-length model at keeping these out.

You sit in a plutocrat’s paradise surrounded by top-quality wood and leather – and some cheap plastic covers on the centre console, which seems like a bit of an aberration. Beneath them are fold-out trays, a fridge and storage space for a couple of champagne flutes.

Thus you can enjoy a drink while watching TV on a pair of 10” screens. These are mounted in the usual place on the backs of the front headrests, but unlike less extravagantly sized units they obscure your view through the windscreen.

No doubt Land Rover is aware that not being able to see the road ahead is a major cause of car sickness. Not to worry, at least leather is wipe-clean…

Land Rover will make about 1000 examples of the SVAutobiography in 2016, with 120 earmarked for the UK. Despite starting at £165,000 for the SDV8 LWB and coming with an options list on which, for example, two-tone paint adds a cool nine grand to the bill, you can expect them to find buyers with ease.