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New Range Rover Astronaut Edition: for space travellers only

CLand Rover Range Rover Astronaut Edition

Land Rover has unveiled a Range Rover Astronaut Edition, and it’s rather exclusive.

While you might have to buy a few ‘regular’ Ferraris to get access to the special stuff, the rules for buying an intergalactic Range Rover are even more strict.

In short, you have to be a member of the Virgin Galactic Future Astronaut community.

What makes the Range Rover Astronaut Edition special?

Land Rover Range Rover Astronaut Edition

Marking out this special Range Rover is the aptly-named ‘Zero Gravity Blue’ colour scheme.

Unique details include puddle lamps with a silhouette of the Virgin Galactic ‘SpaceShipTwo’, alloy handles with the ‘Future Astronaut Community’ constellation design and ‘DNA of Flight’ graphics.

Inside, you get custom cupholders featuring pieces of one of the Virgin Unity Spaceship’s front landing skids. Once you go into space, one of these is swapped out for a piece of the skid from ‘your’ ship, with details of the flight inscribed. The other has Richard Branson’s “See you up there’”quote inscribed on it.

The DNA of Flight graphic also features on the carbon fibre front console lid, while the seats can be embossed with a silhouette of SpaceShipTwo. 

A rocket-powered Range Rover?

Land Rover Range Rover Astronaut Edition

Sadly, the Range Rover won’t have its own rockets, although the P400e plug-in hybrid and 5.0-litre supercharged V8 aren’t bad substitutes.

“The Astronaut Edition Range Rover is the next step on this journey and the chance for the Future Astronaut Community to celebrate our two brands’ shared values of pioneering spirit and true sense of adventure,” said Gerry McGovern, chief designer at Land Rover. “This vehicle really will take them Above and Beyond.”

2019 Range Rover gets Apple CarPlay and a new mild hybrid petrol engine

Range Rover straight-six CarPlay

The Range Rover line-up has had a mild update for 2019, gaining a smooth-running inline six-cylinder petrol engine, as well as standard fitment of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

Colour and trim options have been revised, and detail changes include headlights that adjust to which of the road you’re driving at the press of a button. They even automatically dim when they sense you’re being glared by reflections from signposts. 

CarPlay and Android Auto as standard

Admittedly, new engines aren’t always the hottest topic these days. Connectivity, however, is. You can’t call your car well-equipped these days without integration of Apple and Android’s proprietary in-car phone systems.

As such, the Range Rover has been playing catch-up, until now. Both systems now come as standard across the range.

Mild hybrid + clever engine = over 30mpg

Range Rover straight-six CarPlay

The new engine is a 400 horsepower 3.0-litre ingenium straight-six with 48V mild hybrid technology: it’s called P400.

(It’s worth noting the P400e plug-in hybrid continues: this uses a 2.0-litre turbo petrol paired with an electric motor and higher-capacity battery.) 

The new engine was first seen in the Range Rover Sport P400, and comes to the larger Range Rover more or less unchanged. That means the 3.0-litre straight-six comes with both a turbocharger and an electric supercharger, which work in harmony.

The technical jargon is available here in our story on the Sport P400, but it’s clever tech. All in, efficiency is improved, and lag is down. Not least on both parts, thanks to the 48-volt battery and the torque boost it provides, meaning the engine doesn’t have to lug as much during low-end acceleration.

Those first few moments of acceleration are some of the most stressful and least efficient in the usage cycle of a conventional internal combustion engine.

The battery can also recover charge during deceleration and braking, and works in tandem with a more sophisticated and comprehensive start-stop system. Overall, the new Range Rover equipped with this powertrain can achieve 30.4mpg on average and produces 212g/km of CO2 (on the NEDC cycle).

Range Rover straight-six CarPlay

“Traditional Range Rover strengths have been heightened with the introduction of the latest 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine,” said Nick Rogers, Executive Director of Product Engineering, Jaguar Land Rover.

“Advanced technologies work alongside a mild-hybrid system that harvests energy as you drive, to improve fuel efficiency and lower emissions.

“The otherwise wasted energy is used to power the electric supercharger, which enhances vehicle capability by enhancing the torque curve at low engine speeds for greater responses.”

As for colours, Eiger Grey has replaced Corris Grey, and Portofino Blue replaces Loire Blue. A new 22-inch gloss black wheel option also joins the range. 

Prices for the entry-level SDV6 Vogue start from £83,655; the new P400 engine costs from £90,010.

The Sentinel is SVO’s new bullet-proof Range Rover

Range Rover armoured

Persons of importance with a penchant for stately British transport, listen up: this could be your new ultra-safe vehicle of choice. Coming courtesy of Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations, is the Range Rover Sentinel.

Because is your armoured car really armoured if it isn’t named after the mutant-slaying robots from the X-Men comics?

Readying a Range Rover for battle

Range Rover Sentinel

So what does it take to turn a Surrey Mum’s school run express into one of the safest moving vehicles on the planet? Let’s run through the Range Rover Sentinel’s extensive list of upgrades.

Range Rover Sentinel

Most obviously, a tonne of armour, literally… The reinforced glass, bodywork, roof blast-protection and everything else adds more or less a tonne to the Rangie’s already hefty curb weight. Needless to say, suspension components, chassis and braking systems have been necessarily upgraded to carry it.

Range Rover Sentinel

The protection cell is certified ballistic and blast resistant, with the exterior armour designed to keep occupants safe from ‘unconventional forms of attack’ like improvised explosive devices. Run-flat tyres can go for up to 30 miles at 50mph if damaged.

Range Rover Sentinel

There is the option to add a droppable window, to 150mm, for ‘document delivery’, as well as a ‘public address system’, for if you wanted to chat with potential assailants and attackers. Optional too are sirens and emergency lighting.

Range Rover Sentinel

Under the bonnet is the ubiquitous 5.0-litre supercharged V8, as seen across the top of the JLR range, making all three tonnes (plus!) of the Sentinel good for 62mph in 10.4 seconds. It’ll also get it up to a 120mph limited top speed.

Range Rover Sentinel

It wouldn’t be a Range Rover if it wasn’t one of the nicest places in which to find yourself. As such, in spite of its battlefield readiness, the cabin remains as luxurious as ever. Legroom, headroom and seating are improved and the latest 10-inch Touch Pro Duo equipped infotainment systems come as standard.

Range Rover Sentinel

The car will debut at the Home Office Security and Policing show this week (5-7 March 2019). If you want one, you’d best get in line behind the Queen, the Prime Minister and various other high-value targets.

Overfinch modified Range Rover Velar breaks cover

Range Rover Velar Overfinch

Land Rover tuning company Overfinch has got its hands on the most svelte Range Rover in the range. And its ‘redefined’ Velar makes for an interesting comparison with the official new Velar SVAutobiography…

The Overfinch Velar breaks the modification mould by being relatively subtle. You’ll find no sprouting wings or gaping vents here. From a distance, it looks like a very well-specced Velar.

Range Rover Velar Overfinch

The full upgrade package consists of a carbon fibre grille, front splitter, fog light apertures, rear spoiler, diffuser, custom tailpipes and 22-inch wheels.

Customers can cherry-pick parts or take the lot. All accessories offered in carbon can also be made from what Overfinch calls ‘technical composite’, which comes in high-gloss black.

While it wouldn’t look out of place sat outside the Dorchester hotel or trundling down Sloane Street, it’s a comparative shrinking violet compared to a lot of aftermarket models.

Range Rover Velar Overfinch

You can either buy parts for your stock Range Rover Velar, or buy a new car directly in whatever level of Overfinch preparation you desire. 

Beyond this package, Overfinch can do whatever you want. It’s effectively a modern-day coachbuilder, in that your funds are the only limit to the level of customisation.

Range Rover Velar Overfinch

Added together, the individual Overfinch parts cost around £18,000. That’s a fair chunk of change to subtly update a Velar, or you could just buy a new SVAutobiography…

Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography: hot rod V8 Velar is here at last

Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography V8

Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations division has shoehorned a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 with 550hp into the sleek, stylish, World Car Design of the Year-winning Velar. Because of course they have. Welcome to the Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography – here to fill that SV Coupe-shaped hole in your life.

Looks to kill

Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography V8

If it comes from SVO, then you can normally tell it a mile off. The V8 Velar is no exception. ‘Optimised aerodynamics’ translates into air-gorging inlets to feed the V8 and cool the upgraded brakes. They work together with quad exhaust outlets as big as their bark to mark the SVA out as something altogether more aggressive. The ‘beautiful’ Range Rover just got sinister.

Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography V8

There is a whiff of sophistication, mind. The Range Rover lettering on the bonnet and tailgate is now knurled like the dials in a Bentley.

This ‘Dynamic Edition’ is the only Velar available in Satin Byron Blue – a bespoke Special Vehicle Operations colour from the Premium Palette.

V8 supercharged muscle

Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography V8

The star of the show in the SVAutobiography is the engine. There isn’t a car that engine features in where it isn’t the star of the show. With its 550hp and 502lb ft, the Velar SVA will dispatch 62 mph in a supercar-baiting 4.5 seconds before going on to a top speed of 170mph. No doubt all of the above performance rides a bloodcurdling bow wave of V8 ruckus from the lighter variable exhaust.

Stopping power

Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography V8

There should never be go, without stop. The 550hp 170mph Velar has the anchors to keep those monstrous numbers in check. Up-rated high-performance brakes hide beneath 21-inch forged wheels. The discs are 395mm at the front and 396mm at the rear. The red brake callers have four pistons at the front. You can get 22-inch diamond-turned wheels as an option if you want a bit more bling for your buck.

Enhanced dynamics

Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography V8

Putting all that performance to ground is the advanced intelligent driveline dynamics system, which can put as much as 100 percent of the Velar SVA’s power to the rear wheels if the situation calls for it. Continually variable dampers work with firmer air springs and an upgraded anti-roll system to keep the supercharged Velar on the flat and level.

First class cabin

Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography V8

It is a Range Rover, after all, so the cabin has to be second to none. As well as a 550hp supercharged V8, your Velar SVA will come with quilted, perforated and twin-stitched leather. Unique also to the SVA is a sports steering wheel and yes, the metal knurling continues on the inside with the infotainment dials and rotary shifter. All the other luxuries you’d expect of a top-end Range Rover are present – 20-way adjustable massaging heated and cooled seats included.

Hot rod baby Rangie

Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography V8

All in all, the Velar SVAutobiography has the air of a skunkworks special about it. It seems almost naughty that you can now get the middle-sized Range Rover with 550hp of supercharged V8 muscle. It now has the performance to match those sleek and sporty looks, now upgraded themselves in SVA trim.

It rather begs the question… if you can get in an SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition Velar for £86,120, why would you pay out near-on £100,000 for an SVR Range Rover Sport? The performance is almost identical and in spite of the Sport’s recent facelift, the Velar retains that next-generation feel to it.

Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography V8

What is worth remembering is that the Jaguar F-Pace SVR also now exists. It’s got that same incredible engine, will get to 62mph 0.2 seconds quicker and top out at 174mph… all for £10,000 less. Still, the heart wants what the heart wants. We quite want this new hot rod Rangie…

Royal Range Rover for sale Auto Trader

You could own Prince Philip’s Royal Range Rover

A Royal Range Rover is up for grabs on Auto Trader, having had the Queen, Prince Philip and even the Obamas ride aboard

New 2019 Range Rover Evoque

Prices and specs for new 2019 Range Rover Evoque confirmed

The second-generation Range Rover Evoque will cost from £31,600 and arrives in special launch First Edition spec. Ordering is open now

McLaren

Pride of Britain: Four Brits in top ten financed luxury cars

McLaren

British marques are at the forefront of luxury car wish lists in Britain, according to JBR Capital, with four out of the top 10 most-financed prestige cars on their records hailing from the UK. The second most prolific was German, with three cars, including two 911s.

The list features everything from Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche, plus Nissan with the comparatively humble GT-R. Yet none manage to surpass the McLaren 570S and the Range Rover Vogue in their popularity among luxury car shoppers.

The Macca and the Range Rover represent a near-perfect two-car garage, with the big Rangie making for a lovely day-to-day ‘hack’ and the McLaren the ideal weekend wheels.

The Vogue is a relative steal to finance, too, at less than £1,000 per calendar month with a £7,900 deposit. The McLaren is rather more pricey, at over £1,800 per month with a near-£15,000 deposit contribution required. Still, that debunks any criticism that the Range Rover nears the top of the list for its comparatively low price alone.

Still, they both beat out modern era luxury car staples with the Audi R8 languishing in fourth, the Porsche 911 Turbo in seventh and the only Ferrari on the list – the 458 Spider – all the way back in tenth. The McLaren 720S and the Bentley Continental GT fortify Britain’s standing further down the list, at a respective eighth and sixth place.

“Britain may not have won the World Cup this summer, but it’s on top of the automotive world. The ‘Made in Britain’ tag is still highly sought-after among our high net worth clients” said Darren Selig, executive chairman at JBR Capital.

“While you might expect wealthy owners to rush to Ferrari and Lamborghini dealers, it’s actually McLaren and Land Rover where we’ve had the most demand for finance packages so far this year.”

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Range Rover SV Coupe

Range Rover SV Coupe: “This isn’t a vehicle for the shy”

Range Rover SV CoupeRevealed in a high-impact presentation at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, the Range Rover SV Coupe is the fastest and most exclusive full-size Range Rover ever. Just 999 will be made, each priced from £240,000.

The SV Coupe is the latest project from Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division: creators of the Range Rover Sport SVR, SVAutobiography and Discovery SVX concept. It’s a three-door, four-seat SUV with sleek styling and a 565hp supercharged V8.

There’s also a huge range of bespoke options, from 23-inch alloy wheels – the largest ever offered on a Range Rover – to more than 100 paint colours.

Range Rover SV Coupe: design

Range Rover SV Coupe

The SV Coupe is fractionally lower than the more familiar five-door, but overall dimensions are almost identical. Seen in the metal, though, it looks sportier and more compact – yet still recognisably a Range Rover.

Its most distinctive feature is a sleek, tapering glasshouse, with gloss-black pillars to give the impression of a ‘floating’ roof. The trad-RR vertical side vents have moved from the doors to the trailing edge of the front wings to visually lengthen the car. Plus, there’s the option of two-tone paint for the ‘Contour Graphic’, which wraps around the body-sides between the waistline and the sills, and also covers the tailgate.

Those 23-inch rims are actually Land Rover’s ‘recommended option’. The standard wheels are 22s, with 21s available for those mad enough to take their quarter-mill luxury SUV off-road.

The SV Coupe’s interior provides “accommodation comparable to private jets and yachts,” says Land Rover. It’s certainly plush, with lashings of diamond-quilted leather and wood veneer, plus tactile, ‘frosted aluminium’ finish for many of the controls. The two individual rear seats provide slightly less headroom than those in a regular Range Rover, but this is no ‘kids only’ 2+2: even tall adults should find sufficient space.

Range Rover SV Coupe

Infotainment comes via a 10-inch touchscreen and 23-speaker Meridian hi-fi. The colour head-up display (projected onto the windscreen) can be customised to offer sat nav directions or off-road driving info.

At the press conference, designer Gerry McGovern was visibly proud of the car. “This isn’t a vehicle for the shy,” he opined. “It’s a lady’s or gentleman’s chariot: imposing without too much fussiness.” Referencing the original three-door Range Rover, he said: “We respect the past, but we’re not going to be harnessed by it”.

Range Rover SV Coupe: performance

Range Rover SV Coupe

Technically, the most powerful Range Rover ever is the 575hp Sport SVR. It hits 62mph in 4.5 seconds and 176mph flat-out.

The 565hp SV Coupe falls slightly short: 5.3 seconds and 165mph. Still, with 516lb ft of torque on tap, nobody is likely to complain about a lack of oomph.

Drive goes (naturally) to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox with paddles for manual shifts. A low-range transfer ’box, locking rear differential and Land Rover’s six-mode Terrain Response 2 system guarantee impressive off-road ability.

On adjustable air suspension, the SV Coupe rides 8mm lower than a standard Range Rover. A “more driver-focused edge” is promised. Mark Stanton, Special Vehicle Operations Director, said: “This is a meticulously honed vehicle that’s designed for SV clients who love driving.”

The maximum towing weight for the SV Coupe is 900mm, with a towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes.

Range Rover SV Coupe: bespoke options

Range Rover SV Coupe

Each SVO project so far has each pushed boundaries in one specific area. The Range Rover Sport SVR had hitherto-unseen levels of performance, the Range Rover SVAutobiography raised the game in terms of luxury and the Discovery SVX concept is – potentially – Land Rover’s most capable off-roader yet.

With the SV Coupe, Land Rover aims to stretch the limits of personalisation. Indeed, the number of bespoke options makes it unlikely any of the 999 cars will be exactly the same.

For starters, there’s an almost unlimited palette of paint colours available, including new ‘Liquesence’ silver with aluminium flake, plus different shades for the Contour Graphic.

Inside, buyers can also choose contrasting colours. Land Rover suggests light-coloured leather in the front and a darker shade for the rear. “That’s the opposite of what we’d generally do with a chauffeur-driven car: the Range Rover built for the Queen, for example,” explains McGovern (pictured below). “But the SV Coupe is a driver’s car.”

Range Rover SV Coupe

The choice of (beautifully finished) wood veneers ranges from sporty Natural Black Ash to Nautica: a striped, sycamore and walnut blend that recalls the deck of a Riva speedboat.

Beyond this, you’re into the realms of individual personalisation. “We can offer engraved door handles, monogrammed kick-plates, rose-gold badges, family crests stitched into the headrests – anything the client wants, basically,” explains one Land Rover spokesman.

Fortunately, designers are available to guide each SV Coupe customer through ‘bespoking’ his or her car. The whole process takes two to three hours, aided by a computer programme that allows you to visualise the finished article. Want to see if lime green paint works with hot pink alloys? The answer is just a few clicks away…

Range Rover SV Coupe: first verdict

Range Rover SV Coupe

With the entry-level Range Rover costing £76,795 and the RR Sport SVR edging just under £100,000, the SV Coupe looks eye-wateringly expensive. You could buy a Rolls-Royce Ghost for less (although the forthcoming Rolls Cullinan SUV will probably be more).

Does the price tag matter? Probably not. This is a bespoke, luxury product, and aimed at people more worried about exclusivity than money. Finding 999 such ‘clients’ worldwide shouldn’t prove too difficult, especially when the car looks this good. Indeed, one LR insider tells me several pre-order SV Coupes have already exceeded £300k after options.

We’ve turned our noses up at SUV coupes in the past, but there’s something beguiling about this ultimate Range Rover. It’s a special machine, no doubt, and a surefire future classic. The lucky few will take delivery in autumn 2018. 

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Range Rover Evoque is top of the footballers’ car league

It’s 25 years since the top flight of English football went all champagne and prawn sandwiches, with the birth of the Premier League. Since then, much has changed, and not just matters on the pitch.

Television revenue has transformed the game, with enough cash floating around to make Premier League players some of the richest sportsmen in the world. As a result, most top-flight footballers can afford to take their pick of the cars available in the lavish showrooms of West London and Cheshire.


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Evoque finishes first

And yet, the most popular car purchased on finance by Premier League footballers has a relatively modest starting price of £30,760: the Range Rover Evoque. Quite a surprise, given the fact that the average Premier League salary is £2.4 million.

But is it such a big shock? May we suggest that the Evoque is just one of a stable of cars earned by each footballer: the ‘tender’ to a fleet of land-yachts and exotics. The ideal car for the school run or nipping into town for a packet of Match Attax.

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The other cars on the list are more predictable: Lamborghini Aventador, Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, Bentley Bentayga and Jeep Wrangler Kahn Sahara, to pick just a few from the top 10.

It’s all a far cry from the days when Gary Lineker could be seen turning up for training at Leicester City’s Filbert Street ground in a dealer-supplied Fiat Uno or Fiat Strada. Or when Liverpool’s John Barnes became the first player in England to earn £10,000 a week, kickstarting the era of crazy football wages.

Fast forward to the 2016-2017 season and Liverpool’s highest earner was Philippe Coutinho on £150,000 a week, while former Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney topped the table on a staggering £300,000 a week.

Forget a sponsored Ford SportKa, because today, Wayne Rooney could afford to buy every single SportKa in the country, sort out the inevitable rust around the filler cap and wheelarches, before handing them back to their previous owners. Now that he has returned to Goodison Park, we think he should recreate this photo, just for old times’ sake.

Wayne Rooney Ford SportKa

Footballers with finance

But with Premier League players earning so much, why are so many cars bought on finance? After all, Wayne Rooney could afford to buy an Evoque Convertible using the money he earns in one day.

Darren Selig, CEO and co-founder at JBR Capital, explained: “The highest-earning premiership players can bring in six-figure salaries each week and could buy many of the cars on this list easily without finance, but like regular motorists, it pays to be smart and they are increasingly savvy in their financial affairs.

“Footballers want the monthly cost of the loan to be as low as possible, so they can remain flexible. They would rather spend large sums on investments such as property, and do not want to overextend their budget with outright purchases. They also generally run finance deals from two to four years, as these allow them the most flexibility.”

The top 10 list of cars bought on finance, in full:

  1. Range Rover Evoque
  2. Lamborghini Aventador
  3. Mercedes-Benz Onyx G6 GLE Coupe
  4. Bentley Continental GT
  5. Ferrari F12 Berlinetta
  6. Lamborghini Huracan
  7. Jeep Wrangler Kahn Sahara
  8. Porsche 911 GTS
  9. Bentley Bentayga
  10. McLaren 675LT Spider