When you want the greatest combination of pure undiluted luxury and benchmark-setting off-road performance, the only name that comes to mind is Range Rover . Since it was introduced as the more luxurious alternative to the standard Land Rover , the Range Rover has been garnering fans and accolades the world over.
An all-new, fourth-generation Range Rover was released in 2012, but to create a vehicle that is even more spacious and luxurious than any Range Rover before a long-wheelbase version was released for 2014. To handle the extra weight, Every L model also comes standard with the supercharged V-8. More room and more power seems like a great place to start.
It certainly adds more room, but does a stretched version of a Range Rover really make it more luxurious , and does that longer wheelbase negatively affect the off-road abilities of this legendary machine.
Is the stretched model is worth the extra cash required to take one home, or has the longer length and added weight ruined one of the best machines to ever roll out of Britain?
I took a week to put the newest Range Rover through its paces and decide.
Read on to find out more about the 2014 Range Rover Long Wheelbase Supercharged
The Range Rover LWB may be all-new for 2014, but I wouldn’t hold it against you if you didn’t realize it by looking at it. The machine shares the same general shape and profile that the original Range Rover that debuted in 1970. The flat roofline, squared front end and slightly rounded rear that have been signature style features remain, but the entire SUV is a little crisper and a little more modern than those that came before.
The wheels are now massive 21-inch rollers wrapped in sporty Eagle F1 rubber, The grille bars feature this faux expanded-metal look that is finished in an odd color of silver, and the exterior is covered in touches of chrome. It all feels a little gaudy for a brand that is supposed to be steeped in decades of refined and subtle British luxury.
This new model does retain the signature dual-split tailgate that gives you an actual tailgate to sit on when it is open. There are also buttons in the rear hatch that will fold down the rear seats to maximize cargo space. Folding the seats this way does take a very long time though, so don’t expect to load anything in a hurry. Thankfully, the power operation of the rear hatch is actually quite quick.
I would also like to say a few words about the paint. It is called Scotia Grey, and while I was not enamored with it at first, it soon became one of my favorite colors I have ever had on a press car. While in these photos it holds a greenish tint, the color changes dramatically with the light. Not in a chintzy boy-racer way, but in a gradual way that feels almost designed. In the bright daylight, the car looks like a deep grey. Not very dark, but with a depth that seems impossible; almost like the paint is inches thick. In the morning and evening sun, the golden light makes the car look this hazy shade of green you see here. Finally, when the sun sets or on cloudy days, the paint almost looks blue. It is a very dynamic paint, and one that is worthy of such a pricey machine.
I may have my qualms about the exterior design, but the interior quality, fit and finish quickly negate my worries. Nearly every surface of the Range Rover’s interior is covered in leather, metal or wood. There is almost no plastic anywhere in the cabin, and what plastics you do find feel high quality, and are they are covered in nice soft-touch finishes.
The front thrones are supremely comfortable and they both feature not only heating and cooling functions, but have a built-in massage feature as well. The massage is a fun a party trick, but I didn’t think it was deep enough, nor did it go high enough up the back to be any real use for me.
The driver’s seat is set up as sort of a command center where you have total control over nearly all functions of the cabin. Directly behind steering wheel there is a large LCD that displays your speedo and tach, as well as displaying various other pieces of information based on things like selected options and driving modes. The steering wheel itself houses controls for the radio, cruise control and main in-gauge menus.
To the right of the driver in the lower area center stack you will find the rising shift knob to control the automatic transmission as well as the various off-road functions like the Terrain Response controls, ride height selector and low-range gear selection.
The center dash’s upper section houses very few buttons, but does have the controls for the front dual zone climate system and the large LCD display that handles all the infotainment and extra controls for the SUV.
The infotainment system is easily the weakest point of the Range Rover. It is slow to respond to commands, visually cluttered and it can be hard to figure out exactly what functions you are looking for. Once you can decipher the system, however, you can basically control every single function of the truck from the driver’s throne. From locking the differentials and altering the 4WD system to adjusting the colored mood lighting and turning on the rear seat heaters, every function you would want to alter can be reached. You just have to remember which set of buttons and screen presses you need to execute to get to those functions.
Since this is the long-wheelbase model, Land Rover has paid special attention to the back seats. The extra stretch between the wheels has granted rear seat passengers even more legroom and, thanks to a small collection of optional extras and a few subtle details, the rear of the cabin is arguably more luxurious than the front.
While the rear seats have no massage feature, they do have heating and cooling. While the seats are only adjustable for back-tilt and lumbar, both of these adjustments are power operated. To keep your back seat occupants entertained, there is a set of monitors, one in each front seat headrest, that allow for DVD playback from a disc in the front. There is two sets of wireless headphones in the center console cubby that allow for choice between playback of video, or any of the audio connections on-board. This ensures that all passengers can choose their own form of entertainment. To make it easy for those in the back to control what is happening on their monitors, there is a remote control that can be found in a special storage pocket in the fold-down center armrest.
The only real stand out feature that you can’t really access from the rear seats is the integrated cool-box that is found under the driver’s armrest. Unlike an air-conditioned glove box, this doesn’t just circulate the cool air from the cabin into a small confined space. Rather this is more like a cooler with a cold element in the bottom that makes it absolutely frigid.
Some of the other cool features of the Range Rover include a massive, panoramic roof that has a power shade that can be operated from either the front or rear seats, and each rear seat has one-touch power sunshades in the doors to keep the harsh glaring sun off your face, or to thwart the paparazzi, whichever you prefer.
To make sure this multi-ton beast has all of the grunt it needs to waft away quickly, every single LWB model of the Range Rover hits the dealer lot with the supercharged, 5.0-liter, V-8 engine. That means that I have a full 510 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of twist at the call of my right foot.
Despite the large size of this luxury land barge, Land Rover claims that with that much horsepower this Range Rover should rocket to 60 mph from a dead stop in 5.5 seconds. During my own stopwatch testing, I can tell you that LR’s are bang on the money. I saw times scattered between 5.4 and 5.8 seconds in my various attempts.
If I kept my foot planted for long enough, Land Rover says I should reach a maximum velocity of 140 mph. Sadly, I didn’t have access to my usual private testing facility, so I am unable to confirm or deny that claim.
If there is a downfall to all this power combined with all this size, it will show up in the wallet. With an EPA-estimated fuel mileage of only 14 city, 19 highway and 16 combined, that seems to be the case. Thankfully, I did seem to manage fairly solid fuel economy numbers with my final average being in the 18 range. The standard eight-speed automatic transmission from ZF certainly helps that fuel economy, but I feel that 18 mpg has more to do with the way I was driving it than the actual machine.
Driving around in the Range Rover was an entirely new experience for me. I have driven lots of luxury cars, lots of sports cars and of course plenty of SUVs, but this was some weird amalgamation of all these things. It had the interior and plush ride of a high-end luxury machine, but I was sitting what felt like 40-feet in the air, and I was surrounded by specialty 4WD switches like you would find in a hardcore SUV. Of course, every time I wanted to get frisky, I would just stab the throttle and hurtle myself toward the horizon with 510 furious horses like I would in a sports car.
It was all very exciting.
As I said earlier though, I did manage to get some pretty good fuel economy numbers, and that was all due to my relatively low speed while driving. See out here in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, the roads are very tight and windy. They are a blast to drive when you have something sporty, but they can be a bit of a handful for large and wayward vehicles. Even though I had 510 horsepower, for long stretches of road I never made it over 45 or 50 mph simply because I didn’t feel confident in the Range Rover to get around those turns without understeering into a ditch or rolling over. It isn’t a fault against the Range Rover, it just isn’t built, setup or created to handle this type of driving, so my speeds stayed lower, and therefore my fuel economy was improved.
Once I found myself off the twisties and onto the highway, I understood exactly why someone would want to buy one of these machines. The ride is sublime on flat pavement, ironing out all the imperfections and holes that potmark the U.S. highway system. Cabin noise is muted to little more than a whisper and with an upgraded stereo, it was very easy to drown out what little noise actually made it from the outside world.
If going off-road was in the cards, I would have been very well prepared. Thanks to an adjustable ride height, the Range Rover has a truly mind-boggling 11.67 inches of ground clearance. To give you an idea of how great that is, it is more than I had with the Wrangler Rubicon a few weeks ago. As always, the Terrain Response System that comes standard would have allowed me to set up the car perfectly for various terrain surfaces to get the most out of the incredible hardware. If you are new to off-roading, the Range Rover does what it can to make things easy for you.
It may be just about all things to all people, but to get a machine with this level of comfort and performance is far from cheap. Just the base model comes in at a fairly eye-watering $105,300. Our tester features the $1,760 Vision Assist Package that adds the surround camera system, HID headlamps with automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring and configurable mood lighting. Another $640 bought us the Leather wrapped steering wheel, and the lane-departure warning system was another $1,295. The options continue with the $1,850 Meridian stereo system upgrade, $1,200 Park Assist Package, $2,400 rear seat entertainment system, $600 soft-close door option, and the $1,300 tow package. The fancy four-zone climate control with heated and cooled seats, as well as the massage up front was all part of the Four Zone Climate Package and that added $4,150 to the price. Our final major option was the $1,510 addition of the Shadow Walnut wood veneer. After all the options are tallied and the destination charge applied, our final sticker came to a whopping $122,900.
Fun fact, that is still cheaper than the Porsche Panamera Hybrid I had a few weeks back.
With a 536 horsepower twin turbocharged V-8, the G63 AMG has the grunt to match the Range Rover on the open road. With a legendary off-road history based on great military war machines like the Jeep Wrangler, the G63 can also keep up with the Ranger Rover when the going gets touch, rocky and vertical. That is where the similarities begin to end though.
While the cabin of the G-Class is far from spartan, when compared to the pure exquisite luxury and detail of the Range Rover, it just can’t compete. As a smaller-style off-road conqueror, the G63 also falls far behind in the roominess category.
Surprisingly, the Range Rover also holds the crown for “affordability. With the base price of the G63 AMG coming in at $135,700, the Range Rover almost looks like a bargain. Almost.
If you are more concerned about the off-road power and the name badge, the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon is a better option. If you are solely focused on comfort and luxury, you are best served elsewhere.
Gallery Mercedes G63 AMG
The stretched Long Wheelbase version of the Range Rover Supercharged seems like the best idea that Land Rover has come up with in a long time. Land Rover has managed to make its most luxurious vehicle even nicer to sit in, and it managed to do that without any noticeable sacrifice in performance or off-road ability. I truly had a hard time trying to find anything I didn’t like about this machine. The ride is superb, the extra room is great for large passengers, and the rear cargo area is absolutely massive. If it wasn’t for the outrageous price and the awful fuel economy, this would be one of the best cars on sale in the world today.
I love being surrounded by so much leather and wood, the quality is amazing, and having the ability to fire myself down the road like a bullet thanks to that 510 horsepower engine adds a sense of fun and absurdity to the entire package. I just wish it handled a little better.
- Most luxurious thing I have ever driven
- Sportscar devouring speed and horsepower
- Sublime ride and whisper quiet cabin
- Costs more than my current home
- Handling is not great in the turns
- Fuel economy is below par