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Range Rover SDV8 Autobiography (2012 - ) Review

Offering all the limousine luxury imaginable combined with outrageous go-anywhere performance capabilities, the mighty Range Rover SDV8 sits alongside the high-end models in the prestigious line-up.

Starting price:
From £113,620

From £113,620
  • Beautifully styled inside and out
  • Excellent comfort levels in the back for working on the move
  • Dynamic driving ability and very capable off road too
  • Expensive to buy and pricey to run with a high CO2 emissions figure
  • Some rival limousines have more rear legroom
  • No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
More On This Car
Take one for a spin
Request a Land Rover Range Rover test drive


The Range Rover sets the premium SUV benchmark pretty high and when you factor in its unrivalled off-road capabilities the vehicle is certainly fit for a king. But the SDV8 model is a little bit special – while manufacturers are downsizing their engines and looking to a greener future, this particular vehicle boasts a powerful 4.4-litre V8 engine that fires the car from 0-60mph in 7.0 seconds.

Our test car was supplied in range-topping Autobiography trim so featured every luxury possible. And if you sit in the back you are treated to all the everyday creature comforts necessary to work on the move, with plenty of leg room to stretch out and relax as you are chauffeur-driven to your next meeting.

On The Road

Range Rover SDV8 Autobiography Review


The Range Rover is the complete all-rounder for anyone with a healthy budget that wants a car that looks great, delivers excellent driving capabilities, oozes class and sophistication and won’t be fazed by one of Mother Nature’s mood swings. And the SDV8 version is one of the most powerful models in the company’s extensive line-up.

Powered by a 4.4-litre diesel engine delivering 339PS and 740Nm of torque, the SDV8 can complete the 0-60mph dash in just 7.0 seconds and maxes out at 130mph – not bad for a car weighing nearly 2.6 tonnes.

But it’s the manner in which it behaves that is unrivalled. The acceleration through the new eight-speed automatic gearbox is ultra-smooth and it’s a vehicle that reaches national speed limits in the blink of an eye. The road-holding is sublime and for such a large vehicle there is minimal body movement when driven into long sweeping bends.

Our test car was in long-wheel-base guise so certainly had quite a presence on the road. But it’s just as capable away from the Tarmac where it can wade up to 900mm in depth as it crosses streams, climb obstacles and navigate all manner of tricky terrain, including sand, mud, snow and gravel. And although most owners won’t dare venture off-road it’s reassuring to know that the Range Rover will always get you from A to B or to an urgent business meeting when the weather conditions would deter most drivers.

Range Rover SDV8 Autobiography Review

Ride Handling

The Range Rover has long been the choice of dignitaries and Royals and there is a reason for that. Few other manufacturers can match the Range Rover for its elegance, comfort, luxury and actual status and that’s why we often see VIPs being ushered into the back of a Range Rover as they are whisked off to a special event.

Our test car in LWB guise is the ideal vehicle for anyone who needs to work whilst getting to a destination but wants to arrive in style. The ride is beautifully smooth and even the more severe undulating road surfaces will barely cause a ripple in your coffee cup.

But when the work is done and you want to explore the car’s real driving potential, it’s certainly up to the challenge. The acceleration is blisteringly fast and the steering is accurate with plenty of driver feedback. It feels agile despite measuring 5.2 metres in length and there is all manner of driving adjustments to be explored. Paddle shifts can be used to change gear if you fancy taking a little more control and all the off-road features are easily accessed via the Terrain Response system.

In addition, the adaptive dynamics set-up delivers a flat, smooth ride by monitoring body and steering movements up to 500 times a second – it all sounds very technical, but it’s designed to deliver the ultimate in comfort.

Range Rover SDV8 Autobiography Review


This is an area where the Range Rover dominates the field. The car looks fantastic inside and out and offers a wealth of innovative technology along the way. First impressions count and the Range Rover Autobiography looks imposing from any angle thanks to its muscular styling with Aruba Gold paintwork and black contrast roof, Atlas grille, sweeping light clusters, tinted windows, 21-inch alloys and panoramic roof.

Move inside and the level of luxury cannot fail to impress with perforated leather upholstery in an Ivory shade, suede cloth headlining, walnut veneers, a heated steering wheel, aluminium treadplates with Autobiography script and executive-class rear seats.

Up front the seats have 24-way power adjustment and can be heated or cooled and there’s a hot stone massage function available. There is the Touch Pro Duo set-up that offers two 10-inch touchscreens and it’s from these screens that much of the on-board technology is accessed.

The latest Range Rover has certainly upped the ante in the premium SUV segment and offers unparalleled refinement in the rear for two executives to get on with their work as the car glides along to their next business meeting.

The rear seats are individually adjusted or reclined with their own heating settings. There are TV screens, footrests, trays, cupholders and every other little luxury to help make working on the go totally stress-free. And with the car’s excellent suspension system, the ride will be as smooth as possible.

In The Car

Range Rover SDV8 Autobiography Review

Behind the Wheel

With 24-way powered adjustment along with an electrically-adjusted steering wheel, finding the perfect driving position in the 2018 Range Rover is a quick and easy process. Then it’s just a case of exploring all the on-board technology at your fingertips.

The new-look steering wheel has more controls and they can be used to access the many on-board features. The cabin looks ultra-modern especially with the introduction of a new infotainment system that is split into two 10-inch touchscreens with sharp graphics.

Creature comforts are plentiful and include the likes of a 12.3-inch interactive driver display, a premium navigation system, Pro Services and 4G Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth connectivity, DAB radio, a pitch perfect Meridian sound system, digital TV, four zone climate control and plenty more besides. Rather unusual though is the absence of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto to mirror modern smartphones.

When it comes to comfort, the Range Rover SDV8 Autobiography is truly sublime. In particular, the winged headrests are really sumptuous and the massage settings are perfect on any lengthy journey.

The elevated seating position means the driver benefits from excellent all-round visibility and the cabin is brightly lit thanks to the panoramic sunroof. 

Range Rover SDV8 Autobiography Review

Space & Practicality

Being the long-wheel-base Range Rover, any concerns about space and practicality are soon laid to rest. The car is designed to carry a couple in the back (three if required) and they are transported in the utmost luxury. There is bags of leg room (although not as much as some rivals), and comfort levels are magnificent. Laptops can be powered up, there are TV screens to watch and the seats are power-operated with a recline function when it’s time to relax.

Up front, both the driver and passenger benefit from very high levels of comfort and it seems Land Rover has catered for all needs, especially as the seats offer a hot stone massage function and have 24-way power adjustment – this little luxury adds £5,130 to the price-tag.

The boot has a powered gesture tailgate and there is ample space to carry golf clubs, trollies and a few overnight bags. The capacity of 482 litres is easily increased to 1,908 litres with the split folding rear seats dropped flat.

Elsewhere there’s a cooler compartment, double glovebox, door bins and cup holders front and rear, plus luggage tie-downs to store bits and bobs securely.


Range Rover SDV8 Autobiography Review

Running Costs

Obviously, all this luxury comes at a price and it’s quite a hefty one. Our test car carried a price-tag of £113,620 and that increased to £119,750 with some optional extras factored in. But it’s worth remembering that the Range Rover is the flagship of the Land Rover line-up so was always going to come with a price to match its high-end reputation.

When it comes to running costs, the official combined fuel figure is 30.7mpg, but the high-20s would be a more realistic expectation. Drive the car with a heavy right boot and that figure will slip away even further.

The carbon emissions figure of 244g/km would result in a first year Vehicle Excise Duty charge of £1,760 which would reduce to £140 for the following years. But there is more expense to factor in because cars with a list price above £40,000 pay a £310 supplement for five years. After the five-year period the vehicle will be taxed at the applicable standard rate.

The Range Rover SDV8 falls into insurance group rating 50.

Range Rover SDV8 Autobiography Review

Quality & Reliability

The Range Rover looks pretty invincible and feels like it will survive any challenge. It has been designed to overcome the roughest of terrains and tested extensively for endurance on some of the toughest places on the planet. So it should do fine pottering around our motorways and somewhat pitted country lanes.

The upholstery may be made from the finest leather but it has been designed to survive plenty of wear and the new look touchscreens are easily wiped clean. My only slight concern would be the light-coloured upholstery that looks amazing but could be prone to showing the occasional spillage.

The car comes with a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty.

Range Rover SDV8 Autobiography Review

Safety & Security

The Range Rover secured a maximum five stars when it was tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating and is packed with technology to protect occupants and pedestrians alike.

Driver assistance aids include a surround camera system, blind spot assist, adaptive cruise control with queue assist, driver condition monitor, lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition and adaptive speed limiter, clear exit monitor, a 360-degree parking aid, park assist and rear traffic monitor.

There are also numerous airbags, rear ISOFIX fixtures and the likes of all wheel drive, dynamic stability control, hill descent control, cornering brake control, electronic traction control, trailer stability assist and lots more.

And the go-anywhere Terrain Response system allows the driver to easily adjust the vehicle settings according to the driving conditions and surfaces. 

More On This Car
Take one for a spin
Request a Land Rover Range Rover test drive
By Maxine Ashford
Nov 26, 2018

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