By now, there's bound to have been at least one product planning meeting at Land Rover
HQ where someone -- likely a fresh hire from outside the automotive industry -- asked the question, "Why do we bother making these so capable off-road?"
In a purely rational world, the kind that realizes that for 99 percent or more Range Rover
buyers -- or, more likely, lessees -- going "off-road" means driving on the sidewalk, it would be a valid question. In the actual world, the Range Rover
has a reputation as one of the world's most capable SUVs -- for example, it was one of the first vehicles to traverse the Darien Gap on the Panama-Colombia border. Thus, making one that can't go wherever the driver wants is bound to get Land Rover
brass excommunicated. No wonder every time a Range Rover
gets revised, it ends up being the most off-road-capable Rover
The latest revision, which just arrived for 2010, sticks to this formula. However, aside from being the most capable ever -- thanks to the latest version of the Terrain Response System -- this Supercharged variant is also the most powerful Range Rover
to date. Its Jaguar S
ourced 5.0-liter V-8 is good for 510 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque, enough to launch this three-ton behemoth to 60 mph in under 6 seconds. Gigantic brake rotors -- fronts are 15.0 inches in diameter, rears 14.4 inches -- stop the beast with what feels like sports-car quickness and far better pedal feel and response than is typically expected from an SUV. The laws of physics try to object, but the Rangie will have none of it. How fitting for a vehicle popular with all kinds of characters who aren't likely to listen to objections of any sort (dictators, mafiosos, professional athletes, spoiled starlets, etc).