The new Range Rover SV Autobiography Dynamic is the fastest, most powerful and most exclusive production SUV in Land Rover's history and its arrival in the US has been timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the original Range Rover's official launch in North America.
The Range Rover's history actually goes back to 1970 when the first-generation two-door model launched in the UK. One of the first ever production vehicles to offer permanent all-wheel drive and the first European SUV to blend on-board comfort with genuine off-road capability, it can also lay claim to being the first car ever displayed at the Louvre -- selected by the Paris museum because it represented an "exemplary work of industrial design."
Other firsts for the model include automatic air suspension and being the first SUV with anti-lock brakes and electronic traction control.
It even has racing pedigree as the inaugural winner of the Paris-Dakar rally back in 1979.The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry are driven down The Mall in Range Rovers during the Queen's 90th birthday celebrations (Image: AFP Relaxnews)
However, its success and longevity are as much due to a regal helping hand as they are to engineering innovation. The car very quickly became the Royal Family's transportation of choice for hunting, racing and going on safari and an image of Prince Philip using the car's tailgate as an impromptu step for gaining a better view at the Royal Windsor Horse Show is widely considered the picture that made the car what it is today.
"Range Rover has, over time, achieved iconic design status through a progressive evolution of its unique DNA, said Land Rover Chief Design Officer, Gerry McGovern. "From its sense of evolution and sophisticated sensibilities inherent in its interior design, to its understated yet powerful exterior proportions, Range Rover stands alone. There's simply nothing else like it."
And evolution is key. Like so many iconic British cars, the Range Rover has at times actively resisted change for much of its life. It took 11 years for the car to go from having two to four doors and a further 13 years to go from its first- to second-generation model.
However, all of that changed when BMW bought Land Rover in 1994. The Range Rover very quickly became the pinnacle of ‘high sided' luxury motoring, and by 2001 when the third-generation Range Rover debuted, the car was in a class of its own.
Sixteen years and two owners later, the fourth-generation Range Rover is the first all-aluminium SUV and as well as a suite of active all-terrain stability aids that are unsurpassed in the marketplace, the car now offers the same levels of interior luxury and bespoke customization options as one would expect from Rolls-Royce or Bentley.