You’d be forgiven for thinking that the purpose of Jaguar Land Rover’s new Special Vehicle Operations division was to match Mercedes-AMG, BMW M or Audi RS with high-performers, like the Range Rover Sport SVR and F-Type Project 7. But as the all-new Range Rover SVAutobiography demonstrates, Special Vehicle Ops has no problem wrapping its iron fist in a velvet glove.
It’s best to think of the SVAutobiography as the replacement for the short-lived Autobiography Black, and it comes with the price to reflect that. While the Black had a starting price of $185,000, the SVAutobiography closes in on the $200,000 figure, starting at $199,495.
If it’s simply replacing the Black, why the $15,000 price hike? Well, like the Sport SVR – and basically everything we love from JLR – the SVAutobiography is powered by the 550-horsepower version of the brand’s 5.0-liter, supercharged V8, rather than the standard 510-hp variant. That makes it the most powerful fullsize Range Rover ever built. Matching the familiarity of the blown V8 is ZF’s critically acclaimed eight-speed auto and Land Rover’s second-generation Terrain Response system.
Like the Black, the SVA makes life for second-row passengers quite enjoyable, thanks to a stretched wheelbase, and luxuriously appointed, power-adjustable seats. A broad center console means passengers won’t be forced to rub elbows with each other, while business can be conducted thanks to the laptop-friendly, pop-out tray tables. There’s also a fridge – sorry, “beverage chiller compartment” – for the Cristal, Ace of Spades or Dom, while the standard coat hooks have been replaced by solid aluminum elements.
In fact, Land Rover kind of went mad with the solid aluminum bits and bobs (that’s no bad thing). Alongside the rear-seat coat hooks, the rear-seat rail finishers, rotary dial, front-seat armrest adjustments and a few other items are all hewn from solid chunks of aluminum. Not only does the material look great, but detail of the knurling, particularly on the shifter and armrests, is amazing.
A two-tone paint scheme is the biggest exterior differentiator, although owners are somewhat limited in how the option is applied – Santorini Black is the only shade available above the doorhandles, although it can be paired with nine other colors, providing a bit more contrast than the roof colors offered on the standard SUV. The grille is finished in what’s called Graphite Atlas and features some chrome work, while the hood lettering and rear badging has also been changed, with the latter reflecting the involvement of Special Vehicle Operations. The wheels look unique to the SVAutobiography, although Land Rover made no mention of them in the attached press release. We’re wagering that they’re 22-inch rollers, though.
As we said, the SVAutobiography starts at $199,495. Mountaineering oligarchs should visit their local Land Rover dealer this autumn to pick up their copy.