Second only to the long-wheelbase Range Rover SVAutobiography in terms of size and price (and exceeding it in absurd names), the short-wheelbase Dynamic shares the longer automobile’s rorty supercharged 550-hp V-8 engine but adds a specially tuned performance suspension for those who would rather have a whiff of driver involvement in their leather-lined transfer.
The procedure for teaching this heavyweight to hustle is straightforward: Lower the ride height by 0.3 inch; rework the geometry and calibration of the steering knuckles, springs, links, and dampers for livelier reaction; and quicken the steering ratio by simply swapping in a unit similar to the Range Rover Sport’s with 3.0 turns lock-to-lock. Land Rover’s Dynamic Response system chips in to decrease body roll during cornering, and the Adaptive Dynamics system monitors vehicle movements up to 500 times per second and adjusts the dampers to maintain a balanced and composed ride.
The supercharged V-8 in the Dynamic is calibrated to make 550 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque, the same as in the non-Dynamic SVAutobiography and the Range Rover Sport SVR. Gear swaps come by means of a ZF-supplied eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. An open stretch of street and at least partial assurance that we had escaped the eye of the U.K.’s ever-present speed cameras gave us confidence to explore the full journey of the accelerator pedal, which revealed the same smooth, low-end supercharged attraction that we’ve come to appreciate in the Range Rover Sport. The company quotes a zero-to-60-mph jaunt of 5.1 moments, but we guess that our own test drivers will have the ability to shave off a couple of tenths. Either way, the feeling is nothing short of a rocket-propelled cabin cruiser, one that plows through wakes instead of bouncing them off. Give it complete boot along with the corresponding soundtrack from the bright-silver quad exhaust pipes is melodious, nevertheless engine noises nearly disappear under light throttle, allowing the operator to masquerade as a responsible adult.
Land Rover, which seems to have perfected the art of adapting existing versions to fill tiny markets, today has an entrance in the emerging but restricted market section of megabuck SUVs that move like muscle cars and adhere in corners like, well, really massive clubrooms balanced on spectacularly engineered suspensions. With an MSRP of $171,990, it undercuts the least expensive Bentley Bentayga by greater than $60K (the $200,945 non-Dynamic, LWB Range Rover SVAutobiography put next to the Bentayga at a recent comparison test), while it is itself almost $50K more than the $125,025 Mercedes-AMG GLS63. Land Rover is betting its heritage as the torchbearer for understated style and course will appeal to those who fall between those endposts with this rarefied spectrum.