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Review: 2017 Range Rover SV-A Dynamic is like a supercharged Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace has more than 775 rooms, including its own post office, movie theatre, and jeweller’s workshop. It is opulently furnished, impeccably decorated, and filled with artwork from all over the world. Imagine if there was a supercharged version.

This, roughly, is the idea behind the new Dynamic version of the Range Rover SV Autobiography, the latest machine to emerge from Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO). Based on the standard wheelbase full-size Range Rover, it is both colossal and colossally fast, a sort of all-weather, all-terrain grand tourer. When it’s bracing out, simply leave the Rolls in the garage, and prod this beast to life.

Photos by Brendan McAleer

Southern England is a place of quaint villages, tidy little stone cottages, and rolling grassy hills. Pheasants flit beneath the hedgerows, escapees from some grand manor that sits overlooking an estate. There are sheep. There are ramblers in sturdy wool socks.

More photos: 2017 Range Rover SV-A Dynamic inside and out

But what there is mostly today is a thick blanket of freezing fog, shrouding the landscape in chilling damp. The roadways are muddy and slick, and as we stop beneath an ancient oak, a piercing breeze causes showers of ice to fall from gnarled branches.

In short, it’s wellington boot weather, and what a fancy welly we have here. The long-wheelbase Autobiography is a vehicle with which to chauffeur the driven; the Dynamic version is for those who wish to drive. Taken lessons learned from the blistering Range Rover Sport SV-R, SVO has lowered the suspension of the full-sized Range Rover, modified the active anti-roll control for flatter cornering, and fitted a quicker steering rack.

Under the hood, the SV-A Dynamic gets the same supercharged V-8 as all the best Jaguar and Land Rover products. Here, it makes 542 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, and 502 lb-ft of torque at 3,500 rpm. The sprint to 100 km/h takes just a hair over five seconds, but the Dynamic has been softened versus the more aggressive Range Rover Sport SV-R.

Instead of brutal off-the-line power, the SV-A Dynamic instead surges forward like a fast motor yacht, accompanied by one of the best V-8 soundtracks in the business. This latter is also far more refined than you get in the Jaguar F-Type, and is free from artificial crackle on throttle overrun. The Dynamic growls, but it doesn’t roar.

On the inside, with a heated steering wheel and seats keeping fingers warm and crumpets nicely toasted, all the best bits about the Range Rover are still here. The cabin is bright, open and airy, with a greenhouse that’s far bigger and more upright than most of the competition.

Having debuted half a decade ago, the full-sized Range Rover is aging gracefully. Updates to the infotainment include a faster and more attractive 10.2-inch touchscreen system, but the best parts of the interior are old-school elements like the comprehensive leatherwork everywhere, the feel of real metal paddleshifters under your fingertips, and infinitely adjustable armrests.

En route from London to SVO headquarters near Coventry, the SV-A Dynamic hurtled along the winding English side roads with a relentless pace. On the jagged surfaces, some roughness to the ride was noticed but, for the most part, Range Rover levels of smoothness were preserved.

This being the Cotswolds, Land Rover Defenders are as common as sheep. Passing one, it’s not hard to see the connection between the two machines. Both are boots, of a sort, the former for mucking out stables, the latter for walking the grounds of your estate.

The SV-A Dynamic is stately, and refined, and very British. It also likes a bit of a gallop. Home, James. And don’t spare the horses.

TECH SPECS

Base Price: $195,000

Engines: 5.0-litre supercharged V-8

Transmission/Drive: Eight-speed automatic

Fuel economy (litres/100 km): TBD

Alternatives: Mercedes-AMG G63, Bentley Bentayga

RATINGS

Looks: Still classic after several years on the market, the full-size Range Rover looks modern and fresh. Next to eyesores like the Bentley Bentayga, there’s simply no contest.

Interior: Our test vehicle was fitted with quilted leather seats and a two-tone interior. However, when purchasing an Autobiography, pretty much anything you can imagine is on the table. SVO’s headquarters includes a digital customization suite that will allow to to mix any combination of leather, wood, metal, and stitching.

Performance: A proven recipe of supercharged V-8 and unfussy eight-speed transmission give the SV-A Dynamic effortless tarmac performance, especially for passing. However unlikely an owner is to take one offroad, it’s worth mentioning that it also gets the full suite of proven Land Rover terrain selection controls, and a suspension that can be raised to navigate any rough patches.

Technology: Having lagged behind the competition in the infotainment field, the Range Rover gets a boost with Land Rover’s across-the-range update. Driver assists include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and automatic emergency braking, as well as a camera-based system to assist in reversing while towing a trailer.

Cargo: With a power-operated hatch and tailgate, the Range Rover gives you plenty of space, and a place to sit and have a cup of tea. Towing capacity is 3,000 kilograms.

THE VERDICT

8.5

We are appropriately amused.

The writer was a guest of the auto maker. Content was not subject to approval.

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