Range Rover stretches to extra luxury
Land Rover is extending (if you'll forgive the pun) its family of luxury SUV's with the launch of a new long wheelbase Range Rover and an additional, exclusive trim specification - the Range Rover Autobiography Black.
The first LWB Range Rover in 20 years - since the Range Rover LSE which was made from 1992 to 1994, in fact - the stretched Rangie will be revealed almost simultaneously at the Los Angeles auto show on 20 November and at Guangzhou the next day.
Land Rover has added an extra 140mm of rear legroom by stretching the bodyshell in front of the rear wheels, while retaining the signature 'floating roof' and distinctive silhouette.
Long Rangers will also carry an 'L' badge in the trim behind the front wheel-arch.
It'll be available from March 2014 with either bench or individual rear seats; the executive-style armchairs can recline to 17 degrees, eight more than the nine degrees on the standard wheelbase, while a 'passenger seat away slides the front passenger seat forward to provide additional space and comfort.
Standard kit includes powered side-door blinds and a huge sunroof, as well as extra stowage, and the long wheelbase will be offered on Autobiography and Autobiography Black trim levels, with a LWB version of the Range Rover Hybrid scheduled for later in 2014.
The new Range Rover Autobiography Black - introduced by the Land Rover as “our most luxurious specification yet” - will enjoy its world premiere on 5 November at the Dubai motor show, which tells you something about its target market.
In fact, the company is openly aiming the new range-topping Rangie - available only in long wheelbase - at the sort of Rolls-Royce, Bentley and S-Class Mercedes-Benz customers who would never normally consider an SUV because they're simply not luxurious enough.
So, how do you persuade a plutocraft out of his posh limousine and into an SUV?
The Autobiography Black comes with special badging in black enamel and chrome, a distinctive finish on the grille and side vents, signature tail lights and a special chromed trim on the tailgate.
It runs on exclusive seven-spoked polished-alloy rims in either 21” or 22” diameters.
Rear-seat powers-that-be (we can assume that at this level somebody else is paid to do the driving) are cosseted in power-adjustable Executive Class individual seats with a special upholstery pattern (in the finest leather, of course), lumbar massage function, a calf rest for the rear passenger side occupant and solar-attenuating privacy glass.
Re-designed specially for the Autobiography Black, the extended rear centre console incorporates electrically deployable tables covered in black leather with integrated USB charging sockets and cup holders.
A chiller compartment provides additional space for glasses and bottles and extra stowage is available to the rear, while the headphone stowage trim can be removed to reveal a ski hatch.
These include a leather-trimmed parcel shelf, A, B and C pillar lower sections and a perforated leather finish on the door inserts. The seat backs, ski hatch, parcel shelf and upper D-pillar are also covered in leather. The sill-plates are illuminated with 'Autobiography Black' script and a brushed stainless-steel tailgate trim adds the finishing touch to the loading bay.
LED mood lighting allows rear-seat royalty to vary the intensity of the ambient lighting of the door handles, stowage compartments, along the lines veneered surfaces and in the footwells, choosing from a range of 10 colours.
Large 260mm screens, with surround sound by Meridian Auto, are fitted to the rear of the front seats, which also provide 18-way power adjustment and a massage function for the driver and front passenger.