Super-glam Rangie all the rage

Selling a limited-run Range Rover designed and priced to go head-on with swank SUVs from Rolls-Royce and Bentley could be a cinch.

Call it an embarrassment of rich-listers: Well-heeled Kiwis are lining up to buy into the most expensive Range Rover ever.

Even though the price has not been nailed down beyond certainty that it’ll be above $500,000 and no deposits accepted, the count of potential purchasers for the SV Coupe already seems to be running far above the national allocation.

This interest in a super-exclusive foil for the Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus and forthcoming Rolls-Royce Cullinan was not unexpected.

Jaguar Land Rover New Zealand general manager Steve Kenchington says there’s a rich core of local followers of product from Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations division, which has been ramping up its activities over the past couple of years.

Nonetheless, the new Coupe unveiled at the recent Geneva motor is especially high-octane because it is not only the most exclusive – just 999 to be built, of which five are thought to be earmarked for here – but also the most expensive. 

“The price hasn’t been firmly established yet but we think it is north of $500,000. How far north we are not sure …

That hasn’t cooled the local market ardour, he suggests.

“There is a lot of interest in the car,” says Kenchington. “At this point of time it is the most expensive car we will have sold.

“Yet the challenge is going to be meeting the expectations of those who do want to buy it. We get a certain allocation of cars, we know we have a proposed allocation of five and we have had a lot more inquiry than that.

“We have to try to manage that. With a lot of people saying they’d like to confirm orders “it’s just a matter of whether we can satisfy them all.”

Until now Land Rover’s most expensive model has been the SVAutobiography LWB which has the same 5.0-litre supercharged V8 petrol engine with 415kW. Ten examples of this model, which generally costs around $300k, are here and demand is greater than ability to supply. “It’s very popular.”

The Coupe is similarly-sized but of course has two doors; these being so long they are the first on a Range Rover to feature to auto-closing.

The shape is seen as a nod to the very first Range Rover – the Series 1 of the early 1970s, which was also a two-door – Land Rover insists it’s not a homage.

SVO is impressing more about this being first model to be built from the ground up at SVO’s Technical Centre in Coventry. It uses the platform of a standard Range Rover with minor modifications but SVO builds its own bodyshell, which carries just two panels from a regular Range Rover – the bonnet and the lower half of the tailgate - on to that.

The Coupe has very similar dimensions to a standard four-door Range Rover but is 13mm longer and 8mm lower. It is also offered with 23 inch wheels, a first for Land Rover.

It will also impress for grunt, but not to extremis. The claimed performance potential of 0-100kmh in 5.3 seconds is still 0.8s off that cited for the Range Rover Sport SVR, which stands as the fastest Rangie ever and, again has been finding homes here.

A top speed of around 270kmh is patently rather decent for something so slabby and all the more impressive given the model retains full off-road potential to keep to stay true to the Land Rover credo.

Land Rover design director Gerry McGovern has described the model as a “lady or gentleman’s chariot”, one with “compelling proportions and real presence. This isn’t a vehicle for the shy. It is a very sophisticated design.”

He also said the model “talks to exclusivity” and will have “a very good halo effect on Range Rover in terms of building its equity”.

SVO is also responsible for the Discovery SVX that will also arrive later this year, but not the Defender Works, a bonkers 297kW V8-engined reprise of the classic Land Rover that supposedly ended production two years ago, that is also being sought for local inclusion.

The SVO models focus on the three core areas: Luxury (SV), high performance (SVR) and off-road (SVX). The Range Rover Sport SVR is currently the division’s most successful product, with 2500 sales a year.

The Coupe seems too plush to ever be sent into the wild, but the maker assures it would survive.