HAVE you ever had the experience of feeling out of place, like when your hotel room gets upgraded to a luxury suite? That was my experience with the (take a deep breath) 2020 Range Rover Velar SV Autobiography Dynamic Edition (or Velar SVAD for short).
It’s a case of knowing you would never be able to afford something like the luxury suite, or this car for that matter, but it doesn’t stop you making the most of it. I felt like I was Dwayne Johnson in Ballers.
From the moment the Velar SVAD was presented to me, I was in awe of its presence. Our test car was provided to us in stunning Byron Blue satin finish with the optional 22-inch gloss dark grey alloy wheels, providing an instant statement of class and attitude.
When paired with the sliding panoramic roof with black contrast, the Range Rover SVAD demands attention.
Pressing the unlock button on the Range Rover key fob sees the door handles (normally flush with the bodywork), extend out to present themselves and provide an opening to you for the luxury awaiting inside.
The same result can be achieved with the key-less entry buttons on the door handles themselves. Open a door to the Velar SVAD however and you’ll feel like you should be dressed as well as Spencer Strasmore (that’s Dwayne Johnson’s character in Ballers).
The interior of the Velar SVAD is one of the nicest and most opulent we’ve seen, as you would expect from Range Rover. Contemporary in its design, it features a balanced mix of class, refinement, and sporting character. You’ll almost wish you were stuck in traffic.
Signature interior highlights include the rotary shifter and control dials, complete with a modern and stylish knurled finish to really stand out.
The rotary shifter rises from the centre console in the Range Rover once the start/stop button is pressed, and the 5.0-litre supercharged V8 crackles to life, but more on that later.
Diamond quilted perforated Windsor leather seats are plush and supportive, offering a duality which is a hallmark of the Velar SVAD. Offering 20-way movement, massage function, heating and cooling, you’ll never be left wanting sitting in the SVAD.
Our test car was optioned with the Ebony/Vintage tan colour combo which perfectly complimented the Byron Blue satin finish on the outside. The technology in the Velar SVAD is immensely impressive too.
It’s dominated by Range Rover’s Touch Pro Duo dual touchscreen system. Utilising two 10-inch HD touchscreens, it offers an intuitive and engaging experience whether you are in the driver or passenger seat.
Controlling all the systems such as vehicle settings, climate, navigation and media; it’s all just a touch away in the Range Rover. One small, annoying omission was the lack of a ‘home’ button or way to return to the main menu when in Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
Move across to the steering wheel and enhanced interactive driver display (Range Rover speak for digital dashboard), and the polished presentation of controls and information continues.
Sleek, hidden until lit switches on the steering wheel make it a dynamic tool for the driver controls, and accompanied by the highly customisable driver display system, you can personalise and tailor the Range Rover Velar SVAD however you desire.
You could write a small novel with the list of standard and optional features available for the Velar, so rest assured that all the typical mod-cons are covered; they’re just taken up a notch in true Range Rover fashion.
Four-zone climate control, Navigation Pro, 360-degree camera and adaptive cruise control to name a few. Move deeper into the options list however and you’ll find items like cabin air ionisation, wade sensing capability, and a solar attenuating windscreen.
You can add matrix laser LED headlights to that list as well. They’re items you’re not going to find on just any vehicle’s option list, but it’s all here on the Range Rover.
Now after all that, firing up the Velar SVAD is where it’s at. It will have heads turning whether you have the active sports exhaust engaged or not. Pushing the start button leads to a crackle and a bark from that 5.0-litre supercharged V8 we mentioned.
It’s a noise that will make sense once you hear the power and torque figures. Created by Range Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations division, it produces 405kw and 680nm. In an SUV. Oh yes please!
Let’s be honest here though, that V8 engine is the dominating factor in the Velar SVAD. Buyers would opt for an HSE variant if they purely wanted luxury and all the other trimmings in a Velar.
You buy the SVAD to have that engine, and the fact it’s the whole package wrapped into one. And what a package it is. Sprinting from 0-100km/h in 4.5 secs and on to a top speed of 274km/h, the Velar SVAD delivers a surge that feels like it will never let up.
Whichever way you stack it, those are impressive numbers for a sports car, let alone a luxury SUV. And the noise, oh the noise. It can only be described as guttural, vibrating through the entire car and the souls of pedestrians as you pass by.
Mercifully, all that power isn’t wasted thanks to massive 395mm front and rear brakes, clever sports suspension with adaptive dynamics and an electronic active differential with torque vectoring.
As a result, the Velar SVAD handles and stops remarkably well, is rewarding to drive and delivers a level of fun you wouldn’t expect from a car of its size.
Priced from $191,500 before adding in any options, the 2020 Range Rover Velar SV Autobiography Dynamic Edition certainly has a commanding price tag, but has the features and driving experience to back it up.
If you’re lucky enough to have this on your shopping list, you’ll more than likely be used to business class airline seats, luxury hotel suites and Michelin star restaurants. That said, the Velar SVAD will still turn heads and command attention wherever you are.
For yours truly, my free hotel room upgrade experience into the world of Spencer Strasmore and the Range Rover Velar SV Autobiography Dynamic Edition opened my eyes and ruined all other cars for me.
In no time soon will I experience that same level of comfort, refinement and performance that the Velar SVAD delivered, which makes me a little sad. Well done Range Rover, you have built one hell of a car.
Our test vehicle was provided by Jaguar Land Rover Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition, contact your local Range Rover dealer.