Range Rover Autobiography LWB

Limo length and luxe in an SUV

ALEX INWOOD

ITíS A recipe as indulgent as it is enticing: take the biggest Range Rover on sale, add 198mm to its wheelbase, rip out a rear seat and jam a stonking 5.0-litre supercharged V8 under the bonnet. Yep, despite being an absolute Colossus (overall length is 5.2 metres), this Autobiography LWB, which costs a whopping $261,600, only has room for four.

What it loses in seating, though, it more than makes up for in luxury. Stepping up, literally, into the LWBís interior is surely what flying first class must be like.

The seats recline and massage you, the headrests are so soft they feel like pillows, and the leather upholstery is so supple it can only have come from the most pampered of cows. This is a magnificent place to sit and, combined with excellent selflevelling air suspension, means itís a sublimely comfortable interstate cruiser.

So what about dynamics? If the ďsupercharged V8Ē bit didnít give it away, the LWB is more luxury speedboat than luxury barge. Flatten the throttle and itíll hit 100km/h in 5.8sec, but itís a vehicle you rarely want to drive fast. Instead, seduced by the interiorís supreme opulence, you cruise effortlessly. Yet fuel consumption is as voracious as youíd expect (ADR number is 13.8L/100km), and there are some other issues.

Given its size and enormous 13.0m turning circle, inner city driving is often a flurry of swear words and furious three-point turns. The air-sprung LWB is no apex hunter, and the reversing camera has the resolution of a potato. But will owners care?

We doubt it.

As a luxury limo, no other SUV comes close to its extravagance, performance or presence. And thereís the knowledge that the LWB wonít shy from some serious offroading, should Sir desire.