The straight-six diesel powering the Range Rover is one of the Ingenium family of modular engines, which includes petrol variants, and are hybrid-capable, aided here by a 48V mild system. It replaces the old V6 and V8 diesels, trumping them for both power and economy while weighing less and being much, much more efficient. Producing 350PS (257kW) and 700Nm (516lb ft) the new engine will accelerate the 2.3-tonne Range Rover to 62mph in 7.1 seconds, close to a second quicker than the V8 while also improving consumption from the low 20s to the low 30s.
The straight-six also offers great improvements in refinement over the SDV8, which was originally developed for use in Ford pick-up trucks and although never used in those applications always retained some of their rough and ready origins. The Ingenium engine is barely heard on start-up and when idling along in traffic – only heavy throttle application betray it as an oil burner. Shifting almost imperceptibly through the eight-speed ZF automatic, progress is unruffled at all times with road, wind and tyre noise fading to a faint whispering susurrus. The feeling is enhanced by the Range Rover’s incredible ride quality courtesy of the air suspension which simply makes most road imperceptions disappear, with just a few sharper edges getting through because of the large wheels. It is genuinely exemplary beating a Rolls-Royce Ghost we had on test a few weeks later for both ride quality and body control.
Clearly, nothing weighing that much and sitting so far off the ground is ever going to be ‘sporty’ and indeed the Sports mode actually just sets up some irritating corkscrewing while not perceptibly improving anything behind the wheel. However, the combination of the serene ride, light but accurate steering and a solid wall of torque means surprisingly swift progress can be made along any road that will accept the Range Rover’s bulk.