Incredible performance and superb comfort

Mabuyane Kekana

Mabuyane Kekana

When Land Rover launched its top-of-the-range SUV, the Range Rover TDV8, they poignantly declared: "Even greatness can be improved on."

Indeed, the 200kW turbo-diesel is a clear improvement on the Discovery TDV6, which was itself a successful car.

The TDV8 does the 0-100kmh sprint in 9,2 seconds, which is quite remarkable for a car that big and fuelled by diesel nogal, but its top speed is electronically limited to 200kmh.

And all that performance comes without compromising on comfort - so much so that the manufacturers claim it is "one of the world's smoothest and quietest diesels, in addition to being one of the most powerful".

"In fact, the engine is so smooth and quiet there is a very real danger of it being mistaken for a petrol unit," they said.

To avoid the risk of mistakenly filling up with petrol, Land Rover has developed a patented device so that the tank filler neck can only work with diesel pumps.

Bad news for rivals in the same league is that the TDV8, which retails at R998000, has an impressive fuel consumption of 11,3litres for 100km, which is difficult to match, let alone beat, at that level. The tank capacity is 104,5litres.

The vehicle is capable of driving up 45-degree gradients and through water 500mm deep.

"So, for the Range Rover TDV8, fording rivers, coping with thick dust and negotiating mud and steep slopes is all part of a day's work," said Land Rover.

"But these stringent off-roading standards required some innovative solutions to potential problems. An example of this is a new vacuum lubrication system that ensures full oil flow to the critical turbos at all times, even on the most severe slopes."

The TDV8 is fitted with electronic park brakes and the engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission gearbox incorporating CommandShift technology, which also allows for manual operation.