A new generation Range Rover is still an event.
Since their acquisition in 2007 by Tata Motor, JLR management’s brand-stewardship has been, how shall we say this: uneven. Not so when it comes to brand-Range Rover however, for there is no conceivable question now about its elevated position, close to the pinnacle of the luxury vehicle ziggurat. Of course this is no rags to riches fable; in metaphorical terms, more a muddy pair of Wellingtons to Church’s hand-tooled Oxfords style transition, given the use to which the average L405 series is habitually put. But it is likely that Anno-2021, the RR is probably a more convincing luxury conveyance than anyone’s private-hire Sonderklasse.
Yes, we are in another country from Charles Spencer King’s 1970 opus and have been for some time now. Indeed, as we bid farewell to the aforementioned L405 Rangie, and welcome its new for 2022 replacement – the freshly announced L460 – we are presented with what to the casual eye might perceive as a purely evolutionary step, but is perhaps a more comprehensive reimagining of the Range Rover than meets the eye.
Before we continue, we must address one of several elephants loitering conspicuously next to the drinks cabinet. The Range Rover is, as you cannot fail to have noticed a large, profligate SUV/ off-roader, suffused with all the signifiers of material gain and social superiority a vehicle which costs this much is expected to convey, and as such, some of us at least are naturally hardwired to perhaps think less of it than we otherwise might.
Not being averse to a spot of inverse snobbery myself, I will admit to once being a little sniffy about Range Rover, until I spent some quality time with one; the road to Damascus beginning at Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way apparently. I digress. For regardless of where one sits upon the Range, or indeed conspicuously oversized luxury SUVs in general, the announcement of a new-generation model remains in automotive terms, somewhat more eventful than its München-Milbertshofen or Sindelfingen equivalents.
How eventful? Well, that is up to you. But what I am prepared to say is that with the L460, Land Rover’s designers have done a very good job indeed and on visual acquaintance at least, the new model appears to bear witness to the claim that their Chief Creative Officer is indeed a modernist at heart.
There is of course nothing radical about the L460’s shape, the Range Rover silhouette being as codified as anyone’s Golf or 911, and in this new iteration, the evolution in form from L405 is obvious. However, the new car has benefited from a process of reduction, which has seen the detailing of the design being pared back considerably from that of its predecessor – to say nothing of its rivals.
Especially striking is the rear treatment, which incorporates very thin vertical lamp units and a broad horizontal light bar and is probably the aspect of the car which deviates most from what has gone before. The overall effect, Land Rover would have us believe lends “the impression that the vehicle has been milled from solid.” And while no car has ever quite achieved that feat, one can perhaps see what they are getting at.
The Range Rover’s cabin also comes across as something of a shrine to minimalism. Normally an area where LR excel (especially latterly); again, needless frippery is banished, and the surfaces are clean, linear and appear refreshingly unforced. It simply looks like a very nice place to be. Now you may say that it ought to at the kind of money Land Rover are charging, but compare this to your Maybach GLS, your BMW X7, (heaven help us), Bentayga or indeed, madam’s Aston DBX? Well, I suppose they do represent choice.
Mr. Professor G. Mc Govern OBE has been accused of many things over the years, and some of them might even be true, but one aspect of his role, one in which he has so far proved unerring is in the design stewardship of brand-Range Rover and in this, its fifth distinct iteration, team-Gerry certainly appear to have maintained form.
Because even if it does come in as profligate a package as it does here, in today’s outspoken automotive firmament, restraint seems to be in rather short supply.
 Spen King was reportedly dismayed by the later urbanisation of the Range Rover, somewhat akin perhaps to the expression of regret from Robert Oppenheimer about the A-bomb?
 The 2022 RR is on an all-new (MLA) platform, with a bought-in (BMW) V8 alongside JLR’s own petrol, diesel and hybridised in-line six units and will be offered in fully electrified form in 2024.
 Can elephants loiter in any other manner he asks rhetorically, especially while holding a champagne flute?