When we did have battery power, however, the driving experience was out of this world. With the suspension in its softest setting cruising up Highway One was a bit like hovering silently into the future. Pulling away, the P400e uses its high-torque motor, which saves the petrol engine, but once on the move it isn't man enough and the engine is required quite a lot of the time, especially if you want to get a move on. For the most part, that's OK, but this four-pot is quite vocal and even the new insulation can't keep its growling grind entirely out of the cabin.
In addition, the clutches, which control the electric motor's contribution, were abrupt in operation and driveline was jerky as a result. A later drive in the Range Rover Sport which is further along its development path showed that this will be mostly cured. Likewise, the brakes, which are a big issue in hybrid vehicles as they have to combine regeneration and friction braking, aren't terrific, with a set of distinct steps in retardation from high speed and a strange coasting that starts at walking pace when the regen braking switches off. Again the Range Rover Sport PHEV was better. Towing weight, incidentally, is 2.5 tonnes.
Speed up and you start to acutely feel this car's weight (it's a quarter of a tonne heavier than the V8 diesel version). Body control is remarkable, just short of amazing in fact, but the 21-inch Continental tyres crack and snap over expansion joints and the rear suspension crashes into potholes. You have to keep your steering and throttle inputs smooth, but you can still make pretty good progress in a Range Rover, especially with the air suspension in dynamic mode.
It's a remarkable thing, Range Rover, with a unique ability to be a luxury car, but also scale mountains. This version has flaws, but it ticks all the boxes of the current tax and allowances-based environmentalism. I'm not entirely convinced you'd actually choose it over a conventional combustion engine. But Land Rover has to offer it and has made a pretty good fist of it.
Engine: 1,997cc, four-cyl, turbo petrol
Transmission: eight-speed torque converter automatic, four-wheel drive with low ratio transfer box
Bhp/lb ft: Engine 296bhp @ 5,500rpm, 295lb ft @ 1,500rpm
Electric motor 114bhp
Total system output 398bhp/472lb ft
Top speed: 137mph
Price as tested: £105,865