New Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic review

The fastest Range Rover doesn't fly off the tongue but the 543bhp SVAutobiography Dynamic certainly does fly up the road

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

The latest SVO product shows how the specialised division can turn out a very well rounded car; it phases extra performance into the flagship Range Rover without eroding too much of its luxury and refinement. Those who want pure performance and agility will still be better served by a Range Rover Sport SVR, or aftermarket tuners - but the SVAutobiography Dynamic should have more than enough pace for most, plus greater practicality and sophistication to boot.

Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations division has already launched an ‘extreme’ version of the Range Rover - but the SVAutobiography is focused on delivering a luxurious experience for the passenger. Some customers want the full-sized Range Rover with a bit more performance, though, and SVO’s latest offering, the Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic, is designed to answer that need.

SVO is at pains to point out that this car is not an SVR; if you want hardcore performance then you’ll need to stick with the Range Rover Sport that carries that badge (for now, at least). But apparently there are plenty of Range Rover buyers who simply refuse to consider the Sport - and the SVA Dynamic is for them.

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That said, the SVAutobiography Dynamic draws on the SVR experience in at least one key area: its engine. The 5.0-litre supercharged V8 is, in effect, the same unit as you’ll find in a Sport SVR, producing 543bhp and 680Nm. The throttle modulation has been tweaked for a slightly less aggressive attitude, but the overall shove is still enough to make this car the fastest Range Rover in history, with a 0-60mph time of 5.1 seconds (and a limited top speed of 155mph).

This isn’t just a drag racer, though; in a bid to live up to the Dynamic’s name, Range Rover’s engineers have lowered its ride height by 8mm and reprofiled the springs, dampers and anti-roll bar. The steering rack is the faster item from the Sport SVR, too, although it, too, has been retuned to reflect the extra size and ‘softer’ profile of the vehicle.

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The SVAutobiography Dynamic package also brings mild exterior styling upgrades, including different finishes on the side vents, bonnet, front grille, bumper accents and badges. Inside, there’s diamond quilted leather with contrast stitching, a unique veneer on the fascia and a knurled finish on metal surfaces like the pedals and the rotary gear selector.

On the road, the Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic is a bit of a triumph - which is to say that it feels like it merits its place in the world. Is it an SVR? No. In truth, for all the chassis tweaks it doesn’t even feel quite as agile as a Sport; this is still 100 percent full-fat, full-sized Range Rover.

Floor the pedal and you will be impressed by how quickly a car of this size can accelerate - but your neck won’t be snapping with sudden lurching, because that throttle modulation is nicely judged. Indeed, such are the reserves of power and torque in the engine that you can be perfectly swift with only part-throttle anyway; the SVAutobiography Dynamic does plenty of its best work below 3,000rpm, and at 80mph the motor fades nicely into the background.

Indeed, you may be surprised at how refined it is, even under hard acceleration; it’s as if SVO’s engineers have deliberately throttled the engine note back a little, just to reiterate the fact that this isn’t an SVR.

So the SVAutobiography Dynamic is at its best as a very swift cross-country cruiser; the ride comfort has been compromised over a regular car’s, but not unbearably so. And should you find yourself on a suitably quite (and preferably wide) A- or B-road, the SVAutobiography Dynamic’s ability to corner flatly and with precision belie its size.

You just need to be aware of the car’s size, pick your line and commit to it, and it will reward you. Demand sudden changes of direction and you may be reminded, perhaps to your cost, that you are not driving a Range Rover Sport SVR. You’re driving its more sophisticated big brother - and we suspect that scenario will have enough appeal to satisfy SVO’s sales targets.

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