By now, there's bound to have been at least one product planning meeting at Land Rover HQ where someone, likely a fresh hire from outside the automotive industry, has asked the question "Why do we bother making these so capable off-road?"
In a purely rational world, the kind that realizes that for 99 percent or more Range Rover buyers - or, more likely, lessees - going "off-road" means driving on the sidewalk, it would be a valid question. In the world that we live in, one in which the Range Rover has a reputation as one of the world's most capable SUVs -- for example, it is one of the first vehicles to traverse the Darien Gap on the Panama-Colombia border. Thus, making one that can't go wherever the driver wants is bound to get Land Rover brass excommunicated. No wonder every time a Range Rover gets revised, it ends up being the most off-road capable Rover ever.
The latest revision, which just arrived for 2010, sticks to this formula. However, aside from being the most capable ever -- thanks to the latest version of the Terrain Response System -- this Supercharged variant is also the most powerful Range Rover to date. Its Jaguar-sourced 5.0-liter V-8 is good for 510 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque, enough to launch this three-ton behemoth to 60 mph in under 6 seconds. Gigantic brake rotors -- fronts are 15.0 inches in diameter, rears 14.4 inches -- stop the beast with what feels like sports car quickness and far better pedal feel and response than is typically expected from an SUV. The laws of physics tried to object, but the Rangie will have none of it. How fitting for a vehicle that's popular with all kinds of characters that aren't too likely to listen to objections of any sort (dictators, mafiosos, professional athletes, spoiled starlets, etc).