Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic
The Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic is the latest lovechild born from a group of designers and engineers at Land Rover's Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) technical centre in Coventry. The team takes existing models from the company's line-up, whacks on a load of shiny new gear and tunes everything to make it angrier.
The idea is to offer a limited run of these vehicles-on-steroids for those customers that need just a little bit extra to scratch that itch. And the Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic certainly has that little bit extra.
For starters, it looks delicious, but not a whole lot has changed when compared to the standard Velar. There hasn't been any major redesign to the shape, or addition of a giant spoiler (though I would love to see that happen). Instead, SVO has opted for subtlety.
There's a new front bumper with larger air intakes to shovel air to the V8 supercharged engine and cool the uprated braking system. The new grille has a glossy finish, and there are new lower side mouldings as well as a revised rear bumper that comes with a quad exhaust design. And although you can't see it, there is also a new transmission tunnel undertray to increase aerodynamics. See... subtle.
To me, when it comes to looks, the Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic is everything a beautiful Range Rover should be. All the angles and lines are in the right places, nothing is too big, too small, too high or too wide. It is perfectly formed.
As well as making it easy on the eye, this does no end of good when it comes to the driving experience. The ride height, and therefore the view, is spot on, and while it is a bloody big car, it doesn't feel like you are trying to tame a hippopotamus.
That's thanks to some clever weight saving and drivetrain tuning. For example, despite being larger than on the standard Velar, the wheels are each 2.5kg lighter. The anti-roll bars have been updated to reduce body roll during hard cornering, and the suspension has been adjusted to include firmer springs. It's all very clever.
And then there is the supercharged V8. It's not as rowdy as you might expect when considering the fact that SVO has tried to push the boundaries of power in the SUV segment. Instead, it quietly purrs while driving normally, and then provides a deep growl like a big pissed-off cat when rudely awakened.
So the drive is good, if not great. However, it's the interior in general that really sets the Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic apart. Just look at it...
There's a lot going on here. The seats are quite possibly the comfiest you will ever pop your bum on. They are made from perforated and quilted Windsor leather, which is unique to the Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic. There are stacks of ways to adjust them so you can find just the right position, and the front two have massage functions that can be used while driving, just in case work was especially shit and you need to chill on your drive home.
All the materials are lovely to touch. Nothing is plastic-y and cheap. And all the colour schemes are carefully selected to look classy. You'd have to be seriously brave to go for the Cirrus/Ebony interior that we had in the test car. Any coffee spillages or kids with muddy rugby boots would utterly destroy it.
The pièce de résistance is the dual screen set-up. One 12-inch touchscreen sits in the middle of the dash, and the other is directly below, dropped inside the glossy black centre console. The one at the top displays all the sat nav and music info, while the one below shows all the climate control stuff.
You may be thinking: two screens, who cares? And perhaps it isn't particularly groundbreaking. After all, it's now rare for a new car to hit the market without a screen. But it is the size of the screens and the way that they are positioned in the Velar that makes them brilliant—they're not all-engulfing and Tesla-like, nor are they tiny, sitting awkwardly and looking like they just been glued in wherever there was space. JLR's designers have evidently spent a lot of time figuring out where to put the screens and how to integrate them to ensure they only add to the appearance of the interior.
All of this genius comes at a cost. The Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic that we tested will set you back £86,685. Is it worth it, considering the standard Velar is £40,000 cheaper? If we think of the individual additions in terms of technology, then probably not. But take into account the care and attention that is given to these technologies and how they all add up and compliment each other, then the big bump in price perhaps doesn't seem totally ludicrous.
Ultimately, if you are splashing the cash on a swanky new SUV, there isn't really any point in going for an entry level model. You may as well go the whole hog and spend a bit more to get ALL the trimmings. Go on, treat yourself, you deserve it.
Price as tested: £86,685
Chutzpah rating: 4.5/5