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First Drive: Range Rover’s Ultimate Edition Blends Plush Comfort With Off-Road Grunt

The last of the model’s current generation, this hand-built SVAutobiography is the priciest production Range Rover yet.

The Range Rover SVAutobiography Ultimate Edition. Photo: Courtesy of Land Rover.

Roughly around the start of the new year, Land Rover will reveal a new Range Rover. The move is timely since, for some, the current model is starting to look long-in-the-tooth and seems equipped with technology that is lagging behind. Others, however, love the current aluminum-bodied L405—the fourth generation. Those enthusiasts will be thrilled to learn that the latter model’s swan song will soon be available with every conceivable option.

The Range Rover SVAutobiography Ultimate Edition isn’t just loaded to the gunnels with kit, it’s also the most expensive production Range Rover ever made. Priced at $250,000, each example of the 557 hp variant will be hand-built by Land Rover’s SV Bespoke team at Special Vehicle Operations in England. The attention to detail is exceptional and, with rear seats usually reserved for first class on commercial flights, it’s hard to decide whether to drive or be driven.

The Range Rover SVAutobiography Ultimate Edition.

The Range Rover SVAutobiography Ultimate Edition.  Photo: Courtesy of Land Rover.

The Ultimate Edition can be wound up to 60 mph in around 5.4 seconds, and then keep on going to 155 mph. It’s deceptively fast and, despite not having the handling dynamics of, say, a Porsche Cayenne, the vehicle is an epic touring machine.

Yes, there is some wallow as it hurtles into a fast corner, but any Range Rover needs industrial-strength suspension to keep it in check. When taken off-road, it barrels across rough terrain like a Humvee. Passengers at the back will find that the adjustable air suspension can cope with anything, ironing out potholes (or worse) with consummate ease.

The Range Rover SVAutobiography Ultimate Edition.

In the long-wheelbase version, rear infotainment displays are complemented by a center console, retracting tables and a small fridge.  Photo: Courtesy of Land Rover.


As the name suggests, the Ultimate Edition is the pinnacle of Land Rover’s SUV family, and includes unique 22-inch alloy wheels, granite-colored detailing to the exterior trim and a seriously sumptuous cabin. For more than double the price of a “basic” Range Rover, this version has an interior decked out in swathes of tan leather—upgradeable to upholstery from the Italian artisans at Poltrona Frau—and carbon-fiber accents. And the supercharged V-8 model is also offered in long-wheelbase form, providing extra legroom to stretch out and watch the twin display screens at the back.

Also at the rear, the center seat is replaced with a giant console that houses a cooler large enough to accommodate a full-size bottle of champagne and two glass flutes. Buttons automatically close the rear doors—a luxury borrowed from Rolls-Royce—while both the side windows and the panoramic glass roof feature electric blinds to keep the sun at bay. Other thoughtful touches include a domestic plug adaptor, plush wool carpets, deployable footrests and a striking Zenith clock set in a silver bezel. But while the high-spec Meridian audio system onboard provides an ample soundscape, the functionality of the overall infotainment setup lags behind the best of German rivals.

The Range Rover SVAutobiography Ultimate Edition.

The cabin is dressed in Range Rover’s Vintage Tan leather and carbon-fiber accents.  Photo: Courtesy of Land Rover.

Rather pleasingly, the automaker has decided not to add “Ultimate” badging to the body, instead placing a discreet SVA plaque inside the cabin. That said, it’s impossible to miss the car’s pedigree thanks to satin-finish Orchard Green paintwork contrasted by a black roof.

The Range Rover SVAutobiography Ultimate Edition.

The Ultimate Edition covers zero to 60 mph in around 5.4 seconds, and then keeps on going to 155 mph.  Photo: Courtesy of Land Rover.

Originally launched at the Paris Motor Show in 2012, the outgoing Range Rover is still a statement of success. Sublimely comfortable both on the road and off, this SVAutobiography Ultimate Edition will likely become a coveted collectible in the future.

Learn more about Robb Report’s 2022 Car of the Year at the event taking place in Napa Valley here and in Boca Raton here.

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