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Most luxurious Range Rover introduced

A high-performance vehicle with two-tone paint may sound like something out of the 1960s U.S., an era of some wretched excess. The SVAutobiography featured at the 2015 New York Auto Show by Land Rover is a high-end Range Rover variant (about $200,000), and has a high-output V8. It's produced at the company's Special Vehicle Operations Technical Center in England.

However, it comes across as a quietly, stately model that is being described simply as the most luxurious Range Rover ever. The SVAutobiography supplants the Autobiography Black, and will go on sale in the Fall.

The exterior's top section is the conservative black—and the less ostentatious buyer can select a beltline-down color, such as gray-silver, although there's a choice of nine colors that befits a subdued image.

The interior is made with leather upholstery that includes precision stitching with monogram details and premium wood trim. In addition, there's an optional all-wood sliding panel floor for the cargo area, access of which is by proximity gesture control of the tailgate. The interior electronics include a 12.3-in TFT (thin film transistor) configurable instrument cluster display and a 10.2-in control-stack touch screen with pinch-to-expand.

Under the hood is a supercharged direct-injected 5.0-L V8 rated at 550 hp (410 kW) and 502 lb·ft (681 N·m). This compares with the standard Land Rover supercharged and direct injected V8 rated at 510 hp (380 kW) and 461 lb·ft (625 N·m). The transmission for both is the eight-speed ZF automatic, which features shift changes in just 200 ms, or the choice of manual gear changes with paddle shifters.

Retuning of the Bosch engine management system and recalibrating the bypass valve strategy on the Roots supercharger (increasing boost during high-performance driving) is what enabled Land Rover to increase V8 performance while maintaining current levels of fuel efficiency, the company said. So the U.S. EPA fuel economy should match that of the standard supercharged, direct-injected V8. The 2015 long wheelbase model with that standard supercharged V8 is rated at 14 mpg city, 19 mpg highway.

The long wheelbase, specified for the U.S. model, is 122.8 in (3119 mm), a stretch of 7.8 in (198 mm) from the standard wheelbase. This adds some 7.3 in (185 mm) of rear legroom to the 40 in (1016 mm) of the standard-wheelbase Range Rover. Long wheelbase rear seats can recline, and power-deployable tables and a beverage chiller are built into a center console. Overall length is 204.7 in (5199 mm).

The SVAutobiography has adaptive dampers with a response time of 500 adjustments per second, and they can be driver-configured. The air suspension includes a lowering strategy for passenger egress of up to 2.0 in (51 mm).

Like other models in the Land Rover line, the SVAutobiography will have the new InControl Apps smartphone-linked infotainment system using an onboard Intel Quad Core processor. Among the apps are a remote connection to the car, which reads fuel level and remaining vehicle range, tells if the doors are locked or not, and can show the parking location.

The app suite also can remote-start the vehicle and pre-heat or pre-cool the passenger compartment. In the car, the driver connects the smartphone by cable to the console. Optimized smartphone apps then are displayed on the control stack screen with their original look, where they can be touch-actuated by the driver.

Among the many compatible apps are JustDrive, which integrates Twitter, Yelp, and Spotify; Winston (an Apple iOS news reader); MobileDay (which can patch the driver into a teleconference), and Parkopedia, which locates nearby parking, including rates.

Although WiFi and a modem are available with Land Rover products in other countries, a system has not yet been incorporated on U.S. models.

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