It may look similar, but this new Range Rover is a huge step forward

What is it?

It’s the new Range Rover, revised for 2011 with a modified, more powerful, more efficient turbodiesel engine. The world’s most admired luxury off-roader, the Range Rover, has just celebrated its 40th birthday and everyone agrees it is still at the height of its powers, except for one thing. It is large and heavy and has a reputation for thirst.

Land Rover has completely rethought the former 3.6-litre V8 diesel, which is now bored and stroked to 4.4 litres, and fitted it with a similar sequential twin turbocharger induction system to the one in the diesel Discovery's 3.0 litre V6. This allows it more power (308 bhp at 4000 rpm) and torque (516lb ft at 1500-3000 rpm) and obviously it now meets the new Euro5 emissions standards.

Combined with a new ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox, carefully matched to the RR's unique weight and character, the new powertrain offers a 20 percent improvement in fuel consumption and cuts CO2 by 15 percent, removing the diesel Range Rover from the top road tax band. The Range Rover upgrade also brings paddle-shifts and a Jaguar-style rotary gear selector for the first time.

The 2011 Range Rover gets minor upgrades to the exterior, but substantial upgrades to the rear compartment to cater for the fact that owners in emerging markets (China, India, Russia) are frequently chauffeured. The diesel also adopts the supercharged RR's Brembo brakes - and needs them.

See test pics of the new Range Rover TDV8 2011

What’s it like?

On or off road, it's magnificent. The driving position is still by far the best in the business, being both long-distance comfortable and commanding at the same time. Visibility, even in tight going, is terrific. The '10 model already set the class standards for steering response, ride comfort, quietness and off-road ability.

This new edition adds effortless open-road ability: despite the mass there is always plenty of torque plus exactly the right gear ratio (imperceptibly selected) to accelerate you strongly from about 60-70 mph where the old model's thrust began to tail off.

The paddle-shift, though hardly needed, adds an interesting dimension to your driving pleasure. Best of all, the gearbox has none of the tendency to 'hunt' discontentedly between ratios like other seven and eight-speeders available.

Should I buy one?

The new Range Rover, though little different to look at, is a mighty step forward. Not only do buyers get more power delivered with less apparent effort, they get much better fuel consumption and can buy with good conscience. It's a virtuous circle.

See all the latest Land Rover reviews, news and video

Steve Cropley

Steve Cropley Autocar
Title: Editor-in-chief

Steve Cropley is the oldest of Autocar’s editorial team, or the most experienced if you want to be polite about it. He joined over 30 years ago, and has driven many cars and interviewed many people in half a century in the business. 

Cropley, who regards himself as the magazine’s “long stop”, has seen many changes since Autocar was a print-only affair, but claims that in such a fast moving environment he has little appetite for looking back. 

He has been surprised and delighted by the generous reception afforded the My Week In Cars podcast he makes with long suffering colleague Matt Prior, and calls it the most enjoyable part of his working week.

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Add a comment…
uk_supercar_fan 9 July 2010

Re: Range Rover TDV8 2011

Straight Six Man wrote:
Give the Defender chassis a bit of a tweak to make it more comfortable

hmm I think it might need more than "a bit of a tweak" .....

Straight Six Man wrote:
using the Defender chassis to build a smaller sister to the Discovery

I think you'll find that they're doing the opposite - using the Discovery chassis to build the next Defender..

Alembick 8 July 2010

Re: Range Rover TDV8 2011

Forgive me for suggesting this, heresy I'm sure, but isn't the Range Rover as other Land Rover products overrated? Nice cars but not exactly reliable, are they? I ran a 2007 Discovery 3 as a company car for a year and a half and a lot had gone wrong when I gave it back. A friend of mine has a 2006 Range Rover and has a similar story. I hear the same from other owners I know. This experience is also born out by the JD Powers survey in the US which has Land Rover coming in last place of all car makes in terms of reliability. When I gave my Discovery back it reminded me of my previous Alfa 156. Wonderful to drive, terrible to own.

Uncle Mellow 8 July 2010

Re: Range Rover TDV8 2011

Tastefull styling tweaks and a more efficient engine . Sounds wonderfull , until you get to the kerb weight. 2810 Kg ? Are you serious ?

W.O.Bentley would have loved this - it's a lorry!