Friday, August 17, 2012

The Buckingham Palace Massive. Yo.

On test... Range Rover Autobiography V8 Supercharged

The Queen is not going to like this. Especially it being her Diamond Jubilee and everything.

Indeed, she… sorry… “We” will almost certainly not be amused when she sees what Land Rover have gone and done with their latest Range Rover. This, remember, is the car that has transported Her Royal Highness through the heath and bogs of her beloved Balmoral. It was the automotive equivalent of the Hunter wellies she wears when, together with her beloved corgies, she squelches across her beloved Scottish highlands.

At over R1000 a pair, those British-made Hunters might be jolly expensive, but they are functional, they’ve been keeping royal feet cosy for over 50 years, and they come in olive green. Just like the Queen’s old Range Rover. It too was jolly expensive and olive green, but it was also British-made and unless one chose those horrid German Gelandewagen things (and frankly both you and I know what iconic 4x4 they copied there), it was about as good as an off-roader gets. And quite posh inside too.

The new Range Rover is not like a pair of Hunter’s wellies. For one, it’s not olive green. Not our test car at least, though no doubt Range Rover would paint one olive green for one if one really wanted it. This is after all the top-of-the-range Rover and, at around R1.5-million, one can have any colour one wants. In all likelihood though, the Range Rover Autobiography is going to be ordered in black. With black tinted windows.

And that is because the Range Rover Autobiography is gangsta. Well gangsta, in fact.

Land Rover won’t admit it’s purposefully gangsta of course, but when they talk about it, the bespoke-suited gents over at their HQ in Gaydon (don’t laugh) use words like “luxury”, “craftsmanship”, “exclusivity”, and “premium”. Gangsta’s love that stuff. Gangstas also love to make sure know just how gangsta they are, which is why the Autobiography has a “Design Pack, which includes the supercharged grill, side vents and front bumper, plus 22 exclusive Autobiography exterior colours and unique Autobiography badging on the boot lid. (Here’s where you make the appropriate gangsta hand gesture).

Inside of course, is a Gangstawonderland. Apart from some heavily-lacquered wood inlays here and there, leather covers everything. And we mean everything. Not just any leather either, but Semi Aniline Autobiography leather with contrasting stitching. And there’s a two-tone option too. But even that’s not the most gangsta thing. Not by a long way.

That you’ll find under the bonnet… in the shape of a brilliantly-engineered supercharged 5.0-litre V8 that will move three tons of SUV from standstill to 100km/h in 6.2 seconds. And that, I’m sure me Liz would agree, is wicked.

The base price of the V8 Supercharged Autobiography is R1 525 100 

Review as appeared in the July  issue of Kuluma, the Khulula in-flight mag.