As mid-cycle model enhancements go, the 2010 Range Rover's is more ambitious than some brand-new vehicles. As we outlined in our first look, there are two new 5.0-liter V-8 engines-one free-breathing, one blown-that leverage direct-injection technology to boost horsepower by 23 and 29 percent respectively and torque by 16 and 12 percent. These engines and a quicker-shifting six-speed transmission dramatically improve acceleration performance with no fuel-economy penalty (EPA numbers are expected to be unchanged, while Euro figures improve by seven percent for each).
But the really ambitious bit is an entirely new electrical architecture that strings together 62 different ECUs along a couple medium and high-speed CAN data busses, running new software code developed within Land Rover and Jaguar (the architecture will be shared). Why should you care? Because this new circuitry enables a host of comfort, convenience and safety upgrades, from boring stuff like enhanced roll-stability and trailer-sway control systems to boast-worthy features like the largest automotive flat-screen dash display and continuously variable Bilstein Damptronic shocks that can now assess and anticipate driving conditions and retune the damping rates 500 times per second-that's once every 2.5 inches at 70 mph. (Land Rover believes its predictive control algorithms are unique.)
This new high-capacity electrickery also enables a first-ever implementation of Sharp's latest "dual-view" nav/entertainment screen. By aiming alternating rows of pixels at the driver and the right-front passenger each can view different content-DVDs or TV for whoever's riding shotgun and the typical static displays for the driver (rear-seat riders can end up seeing a bit of both). The system is legal in Europe, but our laws need a bit of tweaking (write your congressman!).
Naturally, this being a Range Rover, not all the improvements are purely sybaritic in nature. The almighty all-roader's pioneering Terrain Response system is also improved with new programming for very gentle launches that prevent "digging in" to deep sand, and quicker brake and traction control response in rock-crawling mode to prevent slipping or rolling off boulders. And five cameras allow the driver to view the ground immediately in front, in back, and on either side of the vehicle to help place the tires precisely on the trail.