The all-aluminum body of the Range Rover gives it a weight loss of 700 pounds over the previous generation, using riveted and bonded construction for aircraft-quality rigidity and strength. The suspension is also made of both cast and forged aluminum elements, and some of the body panels have been sandwiched with composite liners to further save weight.
For the 2014 model year, the Range Rover line gets rid of the normally aspirated 5.0-liter V-8 engine as the base option, replacing it with a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6. Rated at 340 horsepower, it's nominally less powerful than the V-8 it replaces, but thanks to the forced induction, it delivers as much or more torque in most use cases, as well as enhanced gas mileage--up to 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway from the V-8's previous rating of 14 mpg city and 20 mpg highway. Top-line Range Rovers still use a supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 engine rated at 510 horsepower. Whichever engine you choose, an eight-speed ZF-sourced automatic transmission shifts the gears. The high-performance supercharged V-8 engine allows the Range Rover to hit 60 mph from a stop in just 5.1 seconds.
If those numbers read much like a large luxury sedan's, that's not merely coincidental. The ride, street demeanor, and poise all mimic a luxury sedan's as well. The Range Rover's advanced suspension deserves much of the credit for that level of paved-road ability, with control-arm front suspension, multi-link rear suspension and a set of adaptive air dampers at all four corners. Variable-ratio electric power steering never threatens to deliver sports car-like feel, but it does manage nearly Flying Spur or S-Class levels of feedback. All of these suspension and steering elements can also vary with the traction settings provided by the Range Rover's various selectable modes. The combination of power and rugged suspension also enable a towing capacity of up to 7,716 pounds.
Dynamic Response, an active anti-roll bar system, is equipped on supercharged V-8 models. Using the anti-roll bars to dynamically counter body lean when cornering, it flattens out the Range Rover's handling, improving overall road-holding ability without getting in the way of off-road capability--another area where the Range Rover shines.
Full-time four-wheel drive with a 50:50 torque split front-to-rear is the Range Rover's base of strength, but it builds on that with a range of electronic and mechanical technologies that surpass any other luxury SUV. A low-range ratio is available at speeds up to 37 mph for climbing or descending truly steep grades; wheel travel is a considerable 10.2 inches front and 12.2 inches rear; the adaptive air suspension can increase ride height up to 12.2 inches; fording depth is greater than 35 inches; and then there's the Terrain Response Control.
Terrain Response Control uses sensors to detect and predict the grip level of the surface ahead, altering the settings for the traction control, stability control, steering, suspension, and locking differential to suit. Users can also select modes manually, including General; Grass/Gravel/Snow; Mud/Ruts; Sand; and Rock Crawl.
Though its luxurious interior and elegant exterior might not hint at it, our time behind the wheel of the Range Rover attests to its formidable ability to matter the terrain. Whether running sand dunes and rocky outcroppings in Morocco, or muddy trails deep in the woods of North Carolina, the Range Rover's advanced technology enables it to transition from city slicker to expedition adventurer at the mere push of a button.