SUPERCHARGED, SUPER EXPENSIVE, AND ONLY 100 MANUFACTURED
Base price for above model: $106,195
It felt as though I was sitting in a time warp in the gorgeous, gulpy Range Rover Supercharged LWB, like watching a film in one of the last few movie theatres in America who haven’t yet switched over to all-digital.
There I was, rolling 1999-style, when the Hummer H1, Lincoln Navigator, Nissan Armada, Infiniti Q-56 and other vehicles getting less than 16 miles per gallon were unstoppable and ubiquitous. As guilty as driving one of those behemoths made one feel, they were still a thrill. When we were clobbered by gas prices topping 4 bucks a gallon in 2008, the bill for flooring it went through the roof and the public voted thumbs-down with their wallets. Government mileage and emissions regulations, too, put a dent in the SUV craze.
Land Rover still stands, of course, and the Range Rover Supercharged is one of the most perfect machines of its kind – 16 combined highway/city miles per gallon be damned.
A little under eight inches of space have been added to the wheelbase, giving sizeable folks 7.3-inches of additional rear seat legroom, and two trim levels are offered, both using the supercharged V8 powertrain from the Range Rover V8 S/C. The base LWB’s offered with a choice of a rear bench seat for three-across, or an optional luxury rear seats with a center console and two reclining, extending, massaging captain’s chairs. All LWB models come with power door blinds and a panoramic sunroof. The Autobiography Black features upgraded materials, mood lighting, electrically deployed work surfaces for the rear seats, and leather, leather everywhere.
A-hunting-you-will-not-go in this vehicle, but you will ford through large puddles of water without fear, and if off-road is your intention when you’ve plunked down $118,501 with options, you’ll do fine.
As usual with Land Rover, visibility all around you is the best in the business. The second-row doors, too, are longer and weigh more than previous trims, necessitating bigger parking spaces. The denser doors are offset by the 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine producing 510 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque. Step on it and you move, man. The ride ain’t smooth-as-glass all the time, particularly at higher speeds, but it’s still a pleasure to drive even in rain, even in traffic, even when you’re not in a jolly mood.
Enhanced electronic air suspension with automatic load leveling gives you a smooth-as-glass ride, and the eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and full-time all-wheel drive adds to the coddled road experience.
The electronics are plentiful and impressive. Land Rover’s InControl Apps system with full smartphone integration debuts for 2015, and the new Driver Assistance package includes 360-degree parking sensors and lane departure warning.The Meridian Premium sound system is particularly fine fine, with 29 strategically placed speakers throughout the cockpit delivering fat bass and crisp treble. The power-folding rear seatbacks now include a sensor system that can temporarily move the front seats forward to prevent jamming.
Prices climb to $199,500 for the Range Rover Autobiography LWB with optional Valloire White Paint, but the company’s making a mere 25 of those, so get yours today. Today, you hear?