It’s remarkable to think that Land Rover launched the iconic Range Rover nearly 50 years ago.
There’s some debate over the origins of the high end SUV. Jeep claims the Wagoneer – produced between 1963-91 – was the first. Land Rover says the 1970 Range Rover “originally defined the luxury SUV segment”.
Now in its third generation, the Range Rover is a living legend, but it’s not having it all its way these days.
SUVs are selling like hotcakes, but in the luxury sector the Rangie has been joined by the Bentley Bentayga, dubbed the “fastest, most powerful, most luxurious and most exclusive SUV in the world”.
Porsche, BMW and Audi already provide considerable opposition, while Maserati has joined the fray with the Levante, and Lamborghini, Aston Martin and even Rolls-Royce are developing all-terrain vehicles and crossovers.
The SVAutobiography Dynamic is Range Rover’s flagship model, offering a little more performance and agility for those customers eager to experience the big SUV to the full, but not willing to “downsize” to the Range Rover Sport SVR.
Sharing the same bonkers 542bhp V8 as its sporty cousin, the SVAutobiography Dynamic starts off life as a regular Range Rover before heading off to Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) HQ in Coventry for some tuning and the addition of various distinguishing features.
Quad exhaust pipes, sexy red Brembo brake callipers, new shark-like side vents, special “SV” badging and a choice of distinctive paintjobs (some two-tone), plus diamond quilt leather seats inside, are among the visual giveaways.
It rides 8mm lower than a regular Range Rover, giving it a more aggressive stance, but it’s still a big car with bags of space inside.
Naturally, there’s still the commanding driving position combined with a luxurious feel front and back. There’s also the latest version of JLR’s much-improved InControl Touch infotainment complete with 10-inch touchscreen, while driver tech includes Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB).
Press the Start button and it’s immediately obvious that this is no ordinary Range Rover.
The supercharged V8 burbles along nicely at lower speeds, but put your foot down and it snarls, adding an aggressive new dimension to the car.
Driving all four wheels through a slick 8-speed ZF gearbox, the SVAutobiography Dynamic defies logic, taking just 5.1 seconds to reach 60mph from standstill, and going on to a limited 155mph.
But it’s no good just having all that extra raw power if the car handles like a limo. So SVO’s engineers have also endowed the SVAutobiography Dynamic with a faster steering rack from the SVR Sport, modified its suspension and fitted it with more powerful brakes.
Body roll is noticeably tighter when tackling challenging corners at speed, though some may not approve of the firmer ride, but for most it will offer a far more pleasing blend of performance and comfort, while the traction is mind-blowing.
Unlike some of the competition, the SVAutobiography Dynamic also possesses Land Rover’s legendary all-terrain ability. Most owners will never go off-road, but it’s good to know that the capability is there and it will be able to cope with everything that goes with extreme weather conditions, whether it’s floods, snow, ice or mud.
Of course, all that capability comes at a price and the SVAutobiography Dynamic is no exception. With a price tag of £133,680, it’s an investment, though still well short of the W12 Bentley Bentayga ‘s £164,755 starting price, while the official economy figure of 22.1mpg is nothing to write home about either.
Verdict: Land Rover has raised the stakes with the SVAutobiography Dynamic – the fastest, most dynamic and luxurious Range Rover ever.