2013 Range Rover

King of the Roads!

"Just a Wonderful Machine by the Brits"

"Old generation climbs hills; new generation takes you to Mars"

I recall what happened with a comrade of mine in Lebanon. It began when he bought a brand new BMW 3-Series in 2009. He gave his 2006 Range Rover to his wife. It seems he was sitting in a café on the coast of Beirut and his wife joined him for narguile/shisha. When they were leaving, outside he gave his card number to the valet parking, who roughly told him: "Well sir, you have to wait for 10 minutes. Your car is a little bit far." Then he sees that his wife's Range Rover is parked right in front of the café!

Range Rover Chronicles
A brief history of the iconic Range Rover line, from the earliest ground-breaking prototype in the 1960s to the arrival of the exciting new fourth-generation model in 2012:

1966       Work began on the first Range Rover prototype, known as the '100-inch station wagon'

1970       The original two-door Range Rover - known as the Classic - goes on sale

1971       Range Rover receives the RAC Dewar award for outstanding technical achievement

1972       The Range Rover is the first vehicle to cross the Darien Gap on a British Army Trans-America expedition

1974       Range Rover completes west to east Sahara desert expedition - 7,500 miles in 100 days

1977       A modified Range Rover wins the 4x4 class in the London-Sydney Marathon, a grueling 30,000 km (18,750 miles) event and the longest ever speed-based car rally

1979       A specially modified Range Rover wins the first Paris-Dakar rally (a Range Rover wins again in 1981)

1981       First production four-door Range Rover appears along with the first factory-produced limited-edition Range Rover - the 'In Vogue'

1982       Automatic transmission becomes available on Range Rover

1983       Range Rover 5-speed manual gearbox is introduced

1985       The diesel-powered Range Rover 'Bullet' breaks 27 speed records, including a diesel record for averaging more than 100mph for 24 hours

1987       Range Rover launched in North America

1989       Range Rover is the world's first 4x4 to be fitted with ABS anti-lock brakes

1990       Limited Edition CSK - named after founder Charles Spencer King - is launched as a sportier Range Rover

1992       Range Rover Classic is the world's first 4x4 to be fitted with electronic traction control (ETC)

1992       Long-wheelbase LSE (known as County LWB in the US) launched

1992       Automatic electronic air suspension introduced, a world first for a 4x4

1994       Second-generation (P38a) Range Rover goes on sale

1996       Range Rover Classic bows out after total production of 317,615 units

1999       Limited Edition Range Rover Linley appears at London Motor Show

2001       All-new Range Rover (L322) launched

2002       Half-millionth Range Rover produced at the Solihull plant

2005       Second model line - the Range Rover Sport - launched

2006       Terrain Response and TDV8 diesel introduced

2009       Range Rover features all-new LR-V8 5.0 and 5.0 supercharged petrol engines and technology updates

2010       Range Rover celebrates its 40th anniversary; new 4.4 liter LR-TDV8 diesel introduced with 8-speed automatic transmission and other enhancements

2010       All-new compact Range Rover Evoque revealed at the Paris Motor Show

2011       Range Rover Evoque enters production; vehicle receives 110 global awards and strong demand leads to production boost at Halewood facility

2012       All-new Range Rover (L405) revealed 

Driving Impressions
What is it you really want to know?

I landed to Essaouira, Morocco, to lay my hands on the new King of the Roads.

First impression was pretty quick to feel that the Range Rover I drove felt like nobody was in it. Compared with the outgoing Range Rover, that's how this new one should feel: empty. By building what it describes as the world's first SUV with an all-aluminum uni-body, Land Rover has cut around 420 kgs from its weight.

The fourth-generation Range Rover won't deliver the shock that the Evoque did, but nevertheless it's an attractive new generation of the big SUV's familiar shape. What's been done under should be similarly compelling considering the blow that it will have on comfort, functionality and fuel efficiency.

I honestly was amazed by the magical city of Marrakesh where we stayed overnight. I noticed that the vehicle is capable of tackling the toughest climates and road surfaces. It has been developed to achieve class-leading all-terrain capability, with supreme composure in all conditions. The new model has raised its standards once again, both in terms of its on-road capability and its unmatched off-road performance.

Off-Road Capabilities
Ensuring that the vehicle is always driving using the optimum mode, the new system is able to switch completely automatically between the five settings: General, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts, Sand and Rock Crawl. Like all Terrain Response systems, each setting optimizes drivability and traction by adapting the responses of the car's engine, gearbox, and centre differential and chassis systems to match the demands of the terrain.

While it functions completely automatically, Terrain Response 2 will also provide the driver with additional input, such as advising when to select low range or the off-road ride height when the system calculates that it is necessary.

To complement the Terrain Response system, the new Range Rover can also call upon a unique suite of all-terrain technologies to help maximize performance and safety, including Hill Descent Control (HDC), Gradient Release Control (GRC), Hill Start Assist (HSA), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Electronic Traction Control (ETC) and Roll Stability Control (RSC).

Range Rovers are renowned for their ability to find drive on the most challenging low-grip surfaces, and the latest model builds on that experience by featuring the proven Range Rover full-time intelligent 4WD system, with a two-speed transfer box providing a low-range option for difficult conditions off-road or when towing. The heart of the 4WD system is the transfer box which provides permanent four-wheel-drive via a bevel gear centre differential, with a 50/50 torque split. Outstanding traction and dynamic stability is maintained through an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch which provides a centre differential lock and torque biasing function.

To further optimize traction and stability in extreme conditions, customers can also specify an Active Rear Locking Differential on LR-V8 S/C models.

Interior
It is enhanced by a generous selection of new features for increased refinement and convenience.

Through the centre of the cabin, a powerful new graphic is created by the broad centre console which runs between the driver and front passenger. The console has a beautifully sculptured veneer surface which appears to float above the supporting trim and draws attention to the sheer quality of the materials on display.

The clean, contemporary lines of the instrument panel and console reflect the effort to refine and simplify the interior. For example, the control layout features 50% fewer switches to deliver a more elegant driving environment and ensure the driver remains calm and in control.

Designers gave special attention to the comfort of rear seat passengers, and the new Range Rover offers significantly more legroom, plus the option of luxurious Executive Class Seating with 2 individual, fully-adjustable seats.

The sumptuous leather seats and wrapped interior surfaces are finished off with beautifully tailored twin-needle stitching, which has a traditional handcrafted quality.

This focus on impeccable craftsmanship is well illustrated by the authentic metal details, which are cool to the touch and stunning to look at, and provide a stylish contrast to the opulent leather and veneers surfaces.

Striking examples include the bold brushed aluminium pillars each side of the centre stack, the rotary transmission control with its precision machined finish and the distinctive air vents with each blade highlighted with a key line of satin chrome.

Typifying the attention to detail, the aluminium finish on the centre stack is created using a unique approach which involves the aluminium material passing through more than 20 distinct processes to provide an exquisitely crafted finish.

The clean, smooth lines of the centre console which forms a centerpiece of the cabin have been delivered through meticulous design of the veneer surfaces, the control panels and the stowage areas.  This is exemplified by the sliding shutter which covers the cup holders, which has a beautifully crafted solid lid which slides smoothly into a recess in the centre stack.

The sophisticated LED mood lighting, which has been carefully designed to enhance the luxurious ambience of the interior and highlight the cabin's distinctive architecture. Higher series models offer customer configurable lighting with the ability to vary the colors according to the occupants' mood.

Exterior
The vehicle's fresh and contemporary appearance is enhanced by carefully crafted design details which help to give the new Range Rover its distinctive character.

One of the first to catch the eye is the very modern interpretation of the side fender vent graphic, which is now executed on the surface of the front doors. Innovative engineering solutions mean that a functional vent is no longer required - benefitting wading performance in deep water - which gave designers the freedom to adopt a more creative solution for this traditional Range Rover design cue.

Lower down the door structure, distinctive accent graphics sweep around the body and flow into the rear of the car, and are continued in the front and rear bumpers. With an attractive silver metal finish, the graphics hint at the aluminium structure of the car coming out of the surface.

Another of the unique Range Rover design cues, the bold graphic of the floating roof, has been enhanced by designers through the adoption of near-flush side glazing, combined with a premium gloss black finish to the pillars. In addition to highlighting the roof graphic, the clean execution of the glazing also emphasizes the more streamlined form of the body.

Advanced lighting systems provide another eye-catching feature and the front lamps continue the bold evolution of the face of Range Rover, with highly distinctive signature graphics using LED light blade technology which feature the trademark interlocking circles. Designers have executed the main projector beam units with technical graphics that resemble a high performance camera lens.

At the rear, the lamps develop the stacked treatment of the current model with a striking new design that is completely executed using LED technology. The main tail and stop lamps have a bold square pattern, while the direction indicators use a new interpretation of the 'triple line' graphic used on the current model.

The lighting story is completed by a 'hidden until lit' high-mounted LED stop lamp which is positioned under the spoiler across the full width of the tailgate, creating an exciting blade of light across the rear of the vehicle.

Drivetrains
Supercharged V8

The incomparable 510 hp 5.0 liter LR-V8 supercharged engine retains its place at the pinnacle of the Range Rover line-up.

The scale of the performance is reflected in the 0-100 kph in 5.4 seconds, which is 0.8 seconds faster than the outgoing model and all achieved with supreme refinement.

Efficiency has been further improved in the new Range Rover, with CO2 emissions of 322g/km, a reduction of 7% over the outgoing model.

The LR-V8 has a compact and lightweight all-aluminium design, with class-leading low levels of internal friction. For new model, the engine has been re-optimized around a state-of-the-art new Bosch engine management system.

The engine features high-pressure direct injection with an industry-leading centrally-mounted, multi-hole, spray-guided injection system. Efficiency is further enhanced by an innovative cam torque actuated dual independent variable camshaft timing system (VCT).

The 510 hp engine is fitted with a sixth-generation, twin vortex system (TVS) supercharger which offers superior thermodynamic efficiency and extremely refined noise levels.

5.0 liter V8

The sophisticated 375 hp 5.0 liter LR-V8 petrol engine provides a compelling combination of smooth, responsive performance and immaculate refinement.

It is offered with a significantly enhanced performance with a 0-100 kph in 6.8 seconds, which is 0.7 seconds faster than the outgoing model. Efficiency has also been further improved, with fuel consumption and CO2 emissions reduced by 8%, resulting in emissions of 299g/km.

Like the supercharged LR-V8, the 5.0 liter naturally aspirated engine is notable for its compact and lightweight design, and has been re-optimized around the latest generation Bosch engine management system. It also shares its advanced direct-injection and VCT technology with the supercharged engine.

To significantly boost torque throughout the rev range, the 375 hp engine features Cam Profile Switching and a Variable Intake Manifold system.

Gearbox

All petrol and diesel engines in the new Range Rover are paired with the advanced electronically controlled ZF 8HP70 8-speed automatic gearbox, which has been tuned by Range Rover engineers to combine silky-smooth shifting with exceptionally rapid response and outstanding fuel economy.

With eight closely-spaced ratios, gear changes are almost imperceptible, with each shift completed in just 200 milliseconds - four times faster than the average human resting heartbeat.

Controls include steering wheel-mounted paddle-shift as standard, enabling the driver to take control of gear shifting manually - the transmission will also accept multiple downshifts, maintaining an absolutely smooth transition between ratios.

The optimized lightweight 8-speed transmission is the perfect partner to the torque-rich petrol and diesel engines, and contributes to their enhanced fuel efficiency.

The transmission is tuned to select torque converter lock-up as early as possible to reduce slip and energy loss. The wider ratio spread, tall overdriven top gear and the fact that no more than two internal clutches are open at any one time all contribute to improved fuel economy and emissions.

Transmission Idle Control disengages 70% of the drive when the vehicle is stationary and the engine is idling in drive, significantly reducing consumption in urban conditions. In cold conditions, the transmission selects a lower gear to promote fast warm up and get the engine up to its efficient operating temperature as soon as possible.

The hydraulic actuating system has been designed for increased efficiency with improved pump design and gear control elements.

Verdict
Probably the shortest verdict: By far it's the superlative Range Rover ever. Feels just like the original, then, only 42 years later. Can you believe it?

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