Although the Range Rover Autobiography is essentially a mid-spec model in the luxury SUV's range (behind the fiendishly expensive Black edition and Holland & Holland special), it's still pricey by most people's reckoning. It's perhaps the ultimate premium off-roader for many and embarrasses many conventional luxury saloons for comfort and class.
Autobiography spec is available with everything from the 'humdrum' 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine to the mighty 5.0-litre supercharged V8. Although the storming SDV8 diesel is impressively torquey and actually sounds quite good, we'd opt for the lighter, more efficient, more refined and still decently fast TDV6. it's really smooth, suits the car's more relaxed character, and is capable of over 40mpg on the combined cycle.
The equipment list of the Range Rover Autobiography is impressive, but you'd expect it to be when you consider the price. Included is a panoramic roof, a heated wheel and heated, cooled and massaging seats, a dual-view TFT screen with digital TV and satnav, soft door-closing and a self-parking system. But the significantly cheaper Vogue and Vogue SE aren't exactly sparsely equipped either, and perhaps represent better value.
The core benefit of Autobiography spec is it's the cheapest model available with a long-wheelbase option. The increase in size translates to 186mm of extra rear legroom, perhaps the only criticism that can be levelled at the standard car. It turns the Range Rover into a true limo-beater, and there's even the option of a two-seat 'executive' rear bench that features a centre control panel and reclining seats.
The Autobiography Range Rover doesn't look dramatically different from lesser models, bar the snazzy 21-inch wheels that come with it. It's an imposing car and has a real touch of class that makes you forget its unbeatable off-road ability. It looks more dynamic than before, but if it's sporting bling you're after you might want to look to the smaller Range Rover Sport.
The most impressive thing about the Range Rover is its breadth of ability. It can take on the Mercedes S-Class for wafting comfort and cruising refinement, and adds an extra level of visibility thanks to the raised driving position. The aluminium shell is 420kg lighter than the old car, meaning the big SUV stays impressively composed in the corners for such a large and tall car.
But it's talents aren't fully revealed until you go off-road, where the Terrain Response system and high ground clearance mean it can almost keep up with the rugged Defender, and has true go-anywhere ability. It's also practical, with an massive 909-litre boot with the seats up, although the lack of a seven-seat option puts it at a disadvantage with cheaper SUV rivals. But it does have impressive pulling power, being able to tow a trailer up to 3,500kg.
The Range Rover's residual values easily outweigh any price premium, and owners will lose over £10,000 less in depreciation than an Audi A8 over three years. However, with its CO2 emissions of 182g/km, the Range Rover TDV6 sits a hefty six company car tax brackets higher than a Mercedes S350 Bluetec.