We spent a day with the Range Rover SV, driving from Mumbai to Karjat, giving us a glimpse of how the 0.01 per cent spend their weekends
By Niraj Kakade
Love them or hate them, the 0.01 percent lead their lives hiding behind tinted luxury vehicles and Prada sunglasses, similar to an episode of HBO’s Succession. While on most days, commoners like us are reduced to being both real and reel spectators, there comes a rare window that offers a slice of the pie inside the ivory tower.
Ours was the Range Rover SV experience, which took us from BKC, Mumbai to Oleander Farms in Karjat, in a way that even Logan Roy would be proud of. Unlike most of my Sundays, this one began a couple of hours too early, made worse by an annoying hangover and Mumbai’s sauna-like summer in May. If this is how the uber-rich start their day, no wonder the Roys have a permanent scowl on their faces, I reckoned.
Soon, though, the grumpiness was washed away when the Range Rover SV drove in to pick us up. Without any exaggeration, the SV looks like it’s made out of a single piece of marble. The design is, of course, borrowed from the flagship Range Rover. It might be understated, but it is also neat and cleancut with sleek elements sprinkled across its bodywork. Despite being a behemoth, the luxury SUV doesn’t intimidate you like the Germans or the Italians but rather impresses you. It isn’t exactly flashy; it’s opulent, reminding you of the difference between old money versus new.
After a brief technical session, we were then redirected to the two executive seats inside, which I suspect have the superpower of immediately making you feel underdressed. The cabin immediately gives you the feeling of uber luxury, with soft-touch panels all around, highlighted further with leather upholstery (which can be swapped for vegan options). The seats are divided by an extended midsection, which houses the mini-fridge, a touchscreen to control the seat and cabin functionality, and a compartment to store your champagne glasses, in case you crack a deal for Waystar Royco.
If that isn’t enough entertainment, the seat itself can be reclined all the way down, making it comfortable enough to take a nap. Of course, being a once-in-alifetime opportunity, my focus here was to ditch the nap and explore as many bells and whistles as I could for the next two hours. So, strapped to the seat, with the seat ventilation and massage function on, we commenced our journey onwards.
While I was fiddling away with different knobs and switches, I almost didn’t notice the SV being pulled away from the parking. This particular unit we were in had seismic 23-inch wheels (which can be upgraded to 24-inch) and suspension set towards the softer end. Getting out of the city through a mix of gravel and cement road did feel a little bouncy, with a healthy amount of body roll while taking sharper turns. On the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, though, the whole thing transformed into Aladdin’s carpet, but with climate control. The SV rides smoothly, almost making you feel like you’re flying. But instead of clouds, what you see is people gawking at the car.
What’s more surprising is the SV’s ability to pack power with sophistication. During our chauffeur-driven experience, the speedometer often crossed the 100 km/h mark, but never did I hear any road noise seeping through the cabin, thanks to the noise-cancelling system Range Rover has installed inside the headrest itself. What you do feel, though, is the sheer grunt of the machine when pushed. I still remember the feeling of all the 530 PS of power waiting to be unfurled through its BMW-sourced 4.4-litre twinturbo V8 engine.
Despite my feeble attempts to spend the entire day inside the car, we were soon whisked away for a day of wine tasting and lunch. After sweating the same amount of wine we drank in the heat, coming back to the SV’s cabin and the massage seats was a welcome relief. On the way back, though, despite it being late in the evening, the gawking persisted and even peaked. Now, the Mumbai-Pune Expressway has seen its fair share of exotic beauties, but the attention the Range Rover SV got was not something I was expecting. I remember cars pulling close to us just to give us a thumbs-up and a head nod. At one point, a motorcycle with a young rider and a pillion slowed down next to us just to take in every inch of the car, reminding me of the days when I used to do the same on my motorcycle.
As mentioned earlier, the Range Rover SV can deliver the same luxury experience as any of its other competitors, but in a subtle way. As someone famous would say, it is, in fact, a serious car for serious people.
Reproduced with permission from Mansworldindia.com