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Range Rover LWB review (2013 onwards)
Range Rover LWB review: summary
This is the Range Rover for those who find the standard car a bit on the small side. You get more capacious rear accommodation and a healthy price hike.
We like: improved rear accommodation, presence, go-anywhere versatility, comedic performance
We don't like: unwieldy size, oversized rear doors compromise the proportions
Range Rover LWB: first impressions
The origins of the LWB Range Rover lie in the Autobiography Ultimate Edition launched in 2011. Land Rover's bosses wanted to test the market for a tarted-up Rangie for those who prefer to be driven. Despite a six figure price tag, it proved a huge success, paving the way for increasingly opulent versions of the new model.
Land Rover's engineers have added 200mm to the overall length
The LWB targets those who prefer to be driven and in doing so pitches the Range Rover into battle with such luminaries as the Bentley Flying Spur and more opulent versions of the brilliant new Mercedes S-class. It's likely to prove hugely popular in the Middle East and China, where the Range Rover's versatility will be a virtue on less than perfect roads.
To create their new flagship model, Land Rover's engineers have added 200mm to the overall length so that it now measures almost 5.2m. Most of that increase in length is felt by the rear passengers, who step through oversized doors into quarters that boast an extra 186mm of legroom. Be in no doubt: this is luxury living.
As befits its range-topping status, the LWB will only be available in the Autobiography trim level, although an Autobiography Black Series is also being readied for those who like their self-portraits a little more polished.
Range Rover LWB: performance
When it reaches UK showrooms in March, the Range Rover LWB will be offered with a choice of two different engine options: a 4.4-litre SDV8 diesel and a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 petrol engine. It's the latter we test here and it seems to suit the car's character – if you're going for excess, you might as well go for great excess.
If you're going for excess, you might as well go for great excess
This engine's fast becoming a staple of the Jaguar Land Rover line-up – it's even used in the F-type sports car. In this incarnation it develops 503hp from 6000 to 6500rpm and 460lb ft of torque all the way from 2500 to 5500rpm. It's a colossus of an engine capable of pushing this 2.4-tonne leviathan from 0 to 60mph in just 5.5sec and on to 140mph, should sir desire. To drive it is to be reminded of Rolls-Royce's old adage about 'adequate performance': you twitch a toe and the Rangie powers forward with a nonchalant shrug.
Range Rover LWB: ride and handling
Given that this is intended primarily as a chauffeur vehicle, let's start in the back. The best word for the experience of being driven in the Range Rover is imperious. You sit high, of course, and waft along in near silence, the combination of a long wheelbase and sophisticated air suspension turning the most pitted road surface into freshly laid bitumen. Impressively, it succeeds in combining a cushioned ride with strong body control, which helps to maintain a happy equilibrium inside the cabin.
This is intended primarily as a chauffeur vehicle
On the odd occasion when sir or madam should care to demonstrate their wheelmanship, the Range Rover is happy to oblige. Its sheer bulk means it must be handled with a modicum of care, but it can be hustled along with glee, even on twisty roads for which you might think it ill-suited. It'd be wrong to say it has the handling flair or agility of a Bentley Flying Spur, but for a giant SUV, it's a revelation.
Range Rover LWB: interior
We've waxed lyrical on this site before about the latest Range Rover's beautiful cabin. It is a lesson in how simplicity can be luxurious and only the new Mercedes S-class rivals it for a sense of occasion.
It's now a place to lounge
The effects of the changes in the rear are even greater than the raw statistics suggest. It's now a place to lounge and Land Rover's interior designers have worked hard to maximise its versatility. You can have a standard bench seat or individual 'Executive' chairs that adjust electrically in 18 different ways while massaging, heating or cooling your derriere. The seat backs also now recline by 17 degrees – 11 degrees more than the standard car – and, of course, you can have the usual luxury car assortment of remote control tv screens, pop-up blinds and footrests.
Land Rover recently gave birth to a special division that will offer a higher level of personalisation. As a taster for their work, the LWB is being offered as an Autobiography Black edition with electrically deployable rear tables, LED mood lighting and some decidedly bling exterior trim. The message is simple: the Range Rover is now a bona fide luxury vehicle and if you have the funds, it can be tailored to your every whim.
Range Rover LWB: economy and safety
The combined consumption for this car is 20.5mpg, although don't expect to better the mid-teens if you make use of the supercharger's puff. This is clearly not a car you'd buy if you're concerned about fuel costs, and CO2 emissions of 322g/km are as tough on the wallet as they are on the planet. However, both better the Flying Spur, which manages 19.0mpg and 343g/km.
With an enviable array of standard equipment, the Range Rover is exceptionally safe. Selfish though it sounds, its sheer size and mass will be of benefit in a collision with another vehicle.
Range Rover LWB: verdict
The new Range Rover is already a brilliant SUV, but the LWB model helps it climb into the elite class. Whereas the thought of paying over £100k for a Range Rover would once have been laughable, it's now a reality for a significant proportion of customers.
In the not-too-distant future Bentley will be unveiling its own super-luxury SUV, but for now at least, this uber Range Rover is in a world of its own.
Range Rover LWB at the LA Motor Show 2013
Range Rover: why it is already battling Bentley
Range Rover Hybrid: the ‘most-tested’ Land Rover ever
Ultimate luxury: 2014 long wheelbase Range Rover revealed
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