Here, appropriately enough in a ghostly white ‘Liquesence’ finish, is the most perfect Range Rover you have yet seen. Why ‘appropriate’? This project has haunted the immaculate design studios of Land Rover for a while now.
It was known only as ‘Trinity’ until last month when Land Rover finally confirmed the existence of a new, three-door Range Rover – with the disappointingly ordinary name of ‘SV Coupe’.
It’s the first new three-door Range Rover since the original Series 1 way back in 1970.
The ghost stories started back in 2015 at a time when Bentley was preparing to launch its own super-luxury SUV, the first real rival that Range Rover had faced in close to five decades.
This was before we knew its name, Bentayga, but could imagine the specification and budget Bentley had to throw at it, courtesy of the bank of mum and dad, aka Volkswagen.
Crucially we had not yet seen the Bentley. Trinity, it was said, was to be the Range Rover of Range Rovers, “above and beyond” – to borrow a phrase from Land Rover’s marketing – even the most luxurious, most powerful, most expensive existing Range Rover.
Stories swirled of a entirely new look. The code name we assumed was something spiritual, extracted from the Range Rover’s near half-century run at the top of a class of one, a position only the likes of the Mercedes S-Class and Porsche 911 can claim to occupy.
Well, apparently not; it was called Trinity in line with some arcane internal system to do with Oxford colleges. It also doesn’t feature any technology that you can’t already get on any other SV (for ‘Special Vehicles’, Jaguar Land Rover’s in-house short order specialists).
Nothing, in other words, to compare with the extraordinary engine and rocket-science chassis control system on the Bentley. And it looks just like it said it would – a three door, Range Rover ‘coupe’. Should we be disappointed? Of course not.
Trinity is just the latest play in the extraordinary transformation of Land Rover’s design department from being trouser-makers for tractor drivers to the nearest thing the car business has to Apple’s R&D department.
Land Rover’s punchy design director Gerry McGovern (he will pick a fight with anyone, Victoria Beckham just one recent opponent) has long-extolled the principle of ‘less is more’. But so what; so do 99 per cent of designers in any field? The difference is McGovern means it, lives it and breathes it.
Last year’s Range Rover Velar was the start; the next all-new Range Rover (not due for a couple of years) is the destination for what Land Rover’s advertising agency calls ‘reductive’ design. The Range Rover SV Coupe, then, is a stop off along the way and a chance for McGovern’s team to riff on the idea and to have some fun with it at Bentley’s expense.
The Bentayga is one hell of a motor car but there is no getting away from the fact that its looks are an issue. McGovern and the team have achieved more with one or two witty lines than Bentley managed with the entire dictionary of Baroque-and-Roll design references. It is just a three-door Range Rover, but my… it’s beautiful.
And this car needs to be. Land Rover is asking £240,000 minimum for the right to enter this 999-members only club. (And don’t forget, compared with the Bentley the mechanical stuff you can’t see is decidedly 20th century.)
It then expects you to go to town on the options – there is nothing not on the table if sir or madam has the money – although the ‘basic’ spec you can see in the photographs is hardly lacking for statement touches.
Can I steer you towards the vertical vane that runs up and down from the wing and then the length of the car? Or the new badge, handcrafted in Birmingham’s jewellery quarter, or the new 23ins wheels? Or perhaps the flowing and dynamic ‘Nautica’ veneer insides?
They’re a combination of walnut and sycamore, and then there are the semi-aniline hides that are ‘single tannery’ sourced. I didn’t even know ‘single tannery’ was a thing.
But then sadly I’m not in the market to out-Range-Rover all other Range Rover drivers. Those who are, I am told, are already spending on average £340,000 on their SV Coupes. That’s some £100,000 above the base price. For some it seems, more will always remain more.
Source: The Telegraph