RE: The Brave Pill: Range Rover Supercharged

RE: The Brave Pill: Range Rover Supercharged

Saturday 13th April

The Brave Pill: Range Rover Supercharged

It's perhaps the very bravest pill of them all, but could this week's choice be just a little too hard to swallow?



Quantifying courage has always been a difficult task. Only limited parallels can be drawn between elderly bork-prone motors and the hierarchy of military decorations, but if the L322 Range Rover was a medal it would definitely be one of the ones that gets pinned on by a member of the royal family and gets other service personnel jealous.

Yet despite its reputation as a cash pit, the previous-gen Range Rover never seems to have any shortage of willing victims, largely as the market keeps offering them up at such enticing prices. A good friend bought a diesel-fired TDV8 of similar vintage to this week's pill for a similarly modest outlay and ran it for a year. It was 12 months of warning lights, failure messages and frequent exposure to the sucked teeth sound that mechanics make before dropping really bad news, but he loved almost every moment of it. The trance only wore off when, in an uncharacteristically rational moment, he worked out that what he was spending on maintenance and repairs was pretty much the lease for a brand new V90, so got one of those instead.


For all the tales of wallet-shredding mechanical catastrophe, there remains a faithful group of owners who insist that a well-maintained L322 need to be no more expensive than any other middle-aged luxury car. Digging deeper often reveals some fairly substantial caveats to such statements - "I've never had any problems, apart from ..." - but there's no doubting the depth of loyalty that a Range Rover can engender; similar to that of an elderly pet that has started to run up increasingly substantial vet's bills.

Because, when in fettle, the L322 remains a spectacularly nice place to spend time. Never more so than in the guise of this week's pill; fitted with the supercharged V8 that, while relatively rare and with a thirst for unleaded that blurs the line between comedy and tragedy, is definitely the engine that suits the car best.

It took a while to arrive. BMW spent a humungous amount of money developing the L322 - £1.6bn in 1990s cash - but had already sold Land Rover to Ford by the time the car was launched in 2002. That was a large part of the reason for the very limited choice of engines at kick-off: BMW's 4.4-litre petrol V8 for those with fuel cards or private means and also the brand's 3.0-litre straight-six diesel. The oiler was a fine engine in smaller cars - responsible for Jenson Button's then record-breaking 143mph speeding ticket in a 330d - but was pretty much overwhelmed by the Rangie's two tonne bulk with a grindingly slow 13.6-sec 0-62mph time.


Replacing these BMW-sourced engines was a priority, with Ford paying to develop the much more bristly 3.6-litre 'Lion' diesel V8. But Uncle Henry also fitted Jaguar's existing AJ-V8 for those parts of the world that didn't want compression ignition. The base 4.4-litre naturally aspirated unit produced 302hp, while the supercharged 4.2-litre - as seen in the XJR and S-Type R - made an altogether more interesting 395hp.

This was definitely the Range-topper, the most powerful Rangie to that point, and had a startling turn of pace for something so large and stately. The official 7.1-second 0-62mph time was pretty much half that of the early TD6, and the reality felt even quicker than that number suggested, thanks to the Rangie's combination of an altitudinous driving position and softish air suspension. While the Range Rover Sport was meant to chase the Cayenne, the 'proper' car was never given the over-hard settings that tend to blight performance SUVs. Fully unleashed, the Supercharged will raise its nose like a racing speedboat and, on a long enough straight, keep bellowing until a 130mph speed limiter calls time.

More impressive still is its capacity for wafting. There's a big, soft velvet glove around the engine's mighty iron fist and the V8 feels properly effortless when asked to deal with the real world, accompanying progress with a hushed but distinctive big-cube burble as it does so, a much more listenable sound than the one made by the TDV8. Way before the Bentayga was even a glint in a product planner's eye, the Supercharged was the Bentley of SUVs. Regardless of budget, you'd have to look long and hard to find a car better able to shrink and de-stress long journeys.


Not that any supercharged Rangie is going to be anything other than a high risk investment. Values of L322s must be close to bottoming out - they now overlap with those of its much cruder P38A predecessor - and there are cheaper ones than this out there for those who prefer their meat both red and still attached to a living, vicious animal. But for £7,100 and "open to reasonable offers" this one looks fairly priced given evidence of both respectful ownership from a former JLR employee and copious recent spend; for reference it's also £103,000 less than a brand new supercharged Range Rover Autobiography. The vendor reports over £2k of care-and-maintenance expenditure in the last 18 months which - on anecdotal evidence - counts as getting off lightly.

On the plus side the supercharged 'eight is reckoned to be tougher than the diesel and, beyond cosmetic bubbling, rust is rarely an issue. Electrical problems are common and can be hard to trace, while many owners suspect that the L322'ss air suspension system is actually lubricated with £50 notes - the seller of this one has paid for two new struts. The MOT history throws up one anomaly: the DVLA seems to think that this is a Range Rover Sport rather than a regular Range Rover. Given there's no difference in the tax rates between the two cars that looks like a bureaucratic mix-up rather than any grand conspiracy - it would be interesting to see what the V5 says.

On a longer horizon, cars like these are likely to die out, either taxed into oblivion or banned for environmental hatecrime. If you've got a dream to experience something as gloriously un-PC as this, then, don't leave it too long.

See the original ad here.

Author
Discussion

HIAO

Original Poster:

54 posts

33 months

Saturday 13th April
quotequote all
That's a big pill!

Very nice.

Sandpit Steve

136 posts

14 months

Saturday 13th April
quotequote all
A properly brave pill this week.

Buy two, and retain your own private mechanic, if you want to have any chance of keeping it serviceable for more than a few weeks at a time!

Arsecati

149 posts

57 months

Saturday 13th April
quotequote all
Yep, without doubt the biggest, bravest pill yet. Whoever does buy it - if their on PH, they should start a 'readers thread' on it, just to keep us posted on how he/she gets on! wink

Water Fairy

2,804 posts

95 months

Saturday 13th April
quotequote all
Not in a million years

chasethesun

43 posts

48 months

Saturday 13th April
quotequote all
Wonderful car.

Owned one from 4 years and 55k miles to 10 years and 110k miles.

The pros:
Effortless V8 supercharged engine with supercharger whine - 400hp!!
Soft leather compared to the later face-lifted cars and more comfortable seats
All the toys (heated steering wheel, Rear seat entertainment and heated seats as standard on supercharged)
No issues with engine in the time that I owned it.
Air suspension combined with the weight of the car leads to a comfortable ride.
Great visibility
Car tax of the first ones- £260 approx pa
Insurance quite reasonable
If you leave the brakes on on your trailer you won’t notice-wall of torque

Cons:
12 mpg average over the time that I owned it. Not a misprint.
Fuel gage kept breaking- ran out of fuel twice.
You don’t drive past many petrol stations.
Filling a 100 litre fuel tank hurts.
Air suspension air bags broke twice. Not too expensive to repair.
Gearbox went at 100k - £1800 to replace
Rust around rear wheel arches
Rust around bottom of top leaf of tailgate.

Would I own one again?

In a heartbeat. The best car I’ve owned.

However, it is not a cheap car to run- ensure you can cover the petrol costs and have some in reserve for maintenance.
Secondly, they are getting a bit old now. Hence issues such as rust and general wear and tear becoming more common. Caveat emptor!
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chasethesun

43 posts

48 months

Saturday 13th April
quotequote all
Forgot to mention:
The weight of it means that it chews through tires, discs and pads. And they are not cheap!

Augustus Windsock

1,629 posts

95 months

Saturday 13th April
quotequote all
Around 5 years ago my then-neighbour, a self employed builder, had one
It always had one problem or another, often electrical, and every time it went to a specialist for a diagnosis/fix it was £1000 or more
Always remember him stood talking to me with his wife hovering, and explaining what a great tow vehicle it was for their twin-axle caravan
“It does 22mpg when pulling that!” he exclaimed proudly
When wife retreated I said
“fk off Ken, it wouldn’t do 22mpg if the engine was idling as you let it trundle down the longest hill in Britain!”
“Yeah I know but if I told her it was single figures mph she’d be wearing my plums as earrings..” came the reply
Potentially as ruinous as they come although I’m sure that could be mitigated by purchasing one that has had proper maintenance (and by that I mean a specialist rather than the crap service they provide at my local LR main stealer...)
I’d always make sure I’d got a vital organ or two that are in good nick though, just in case you need to stump up for the next (unexpected) bill....

chasethesun

43 posts

48 months

Saturday 13th April
quotequote all
Edit:

I created a spreadsheet of my ownership costs (Bills, plus fuel) over the time that I owned it.

Note that this does not include road tax and insurance:

Car cost: 22000
Sold value: 7000
Depreciation: 15000

Bills: £10617.19

Total costs:
Depreciation + Bills £25617.19
Miles driven 51000
Years owned 7
Approx fuel cost £15,300


Cost per mile (Exc. fuel) 53p
Cost per mile total 83p

Cost per year (exc fuel) £2134.77
Cost per year total £3409.77

Cost per month (exc. fuel) £177.90
Cost per month total £284.15

The Prof

146 posts

214 months

Saturday 13th April
quotequote all

I’ve had 2 of these in the past with over 100k miles travelled in total. Averaged 18mpg and a little less with winter tyres fitted.

Superb, wouldn’t hesitate again - had an l405 and to be honest preferred the l322

Look out for Rust in rear arches and tailgate and the usual wear and tear suspension items and leaky airbags.

Find a good Indy to keep it maintained and you won’t regret it - or you could be unlucky and end up with a Friday afternoon car and you’ll be sobbing into your wallet




Walter Sobchak

4,498 posts

164 months

Saturday 13th April
quotequote all
I’ve had two, a 4.4 and a TD6, never had the Supercharged, never really had huge issues with either to be honest, then I got a Sport that was nothing but trouble, over £4K spent in a year on problems, unfortunately has put me off the brand now.
Definitely think the L322 is a better car than the mk1 Sport, interior feels much nicer and ride is nicer, the handling on the Sport is slightly better but much firmer, plus having had a drive of a 4.2 Supercharged Sport and previously owning an early Cayenne Turbo, the Sport wouldn’t see which way it went, much better to enjoy the luxuary and nice ride of the FF.

crispian22

677 posts

132 months

Saturday 13th April
quotequote all
Ran an 07 facelift one of these for just over a year,granted it was a low ish miles and pampered example,apart from a new battery which threw up all sorts of faults which were rectified once the new one was fitted,it was faultless and probably the most complete car I've owned.

Ok,they don't do corners very well,and if you buy a leggy dog it will spank you financially,but a low mileage,cared for example is one of the best automotive experiences to ever grace the tarmac.

Ace-T

6,652 posts

195 months

Saturday 13th April
quotequote all
Pah, call that a brave pill? You youngsters don't know what you are on about. Come tell me about the size of your pills when you have had one of these PLUS a BMW 750, a Bentley Turbo R and a TVR Chimaera at the same time,

This was our sensible daily snotter hehe

It was awesome!

Trevor555

934 posts

24 months

Saturday 13th April
quotequote all
Ace-T said:
Pah, call that a brave pill? You youngsters don't know what you are on about. Come tell me about the size of your pills when you have had one of these PLUS a BMW 750, a Bentley Turbo R and a TVR Chimaera at the same time,

This was our sensible daily snotter hehe

It was awesome!
Oh my lordy.

Don't think I dare ask what the annual cost was keeping all those on the road.

All memorable cars though, hat off to you.

saboteur

5 posts

121 months

Saturday 13th April
quotequote all
OMG - I just bought a 4.2 Supercharged 2 weeks ago. It's already in the garage as we speak getting a new starter motor.... *sigh*
Great car though LOL smile

Ace-T

6,652 posts

195 months

Saturday 13th April
quotequote all
Trevor555 said:
Oh my lordy.

Don't think I dare ask what the annual cost was keeping all those on the road.

All memorable cars though, hat off to you.
Thank you kind sir. smile

Re the cost, well sticking ones fingers in ones ears and shouting Lalala very loudly seemed to work. hehe

All gone now except the Chimaera. We swapped really daft cars for a fairly daft house. biggrin

Walter Sobchak

4,498 posts

164 months

Saturday 13th April
quotequote all
The Prof said:
I’ve had 2 of these in the past with over 100k miles travelled in total. Averaged 18mpg and a little less with winter tyres fitted.

Superb, wouldn’t hesitate again - had an l405 and to be honest preferred the l322

Look out for Rust in rear arches and tailgate and the usual wear and tear suspension items and leaky airbags.

Find a good Indy to keep it maintained and you won’t regret it - or you could be unlucky and end up with a Friday afternoon car and you’ll be sobbing into your wallet
Out of interest what didn’t you like about the L405?, I’ve still not driven one yet, the interiors of them look amazing!.

quavey

173 posts

92 months

Saturday 13th April
quotequote all
The 07 onwards interior is a big improvement. That one also appears to have sport wheels rather than its proper style.

Anyway, I had mine for just over a year. Only did around 6k miles but it would do 22mpg on a run and averaged about 18mpg for me. Two faults in that time were the pcv valve failing £37 from Land Rover. And the electric glove box release switch failed, new was about £100 I went used as it was a very unusual fault for about £50.

Other than that all I did is service the engine and the gearbox to make sure all was healthy and it was a reliable car. I even made a profit on it when I sold it!

richinlondon

95 posts

62 months

Saturday 13th April
quotequote all
It’s such a shame that range rovers are always so bl00dy unreliable, relative of mine has year old disco sport with paint pealing off the roof and a snotty dealer. Pass, sadly...

mac96

1,387 posts

83 months

Saturday 13th April
quotequote all
You can be lucky. Mate of mine bought one about 5 years ago, for £11k. He doesn't do a huge mileage, but it's his only car and has been reliable and free from any large unexpected bills.

Perhaps he got the only good one!

only1ian

562 posts

134 months

Saturday 13th April
quotequote all
I had a 2006 manufactured one I ran for 18 months. Nothing went wrong except the CD player wouldnt read discs. A later 2010 model I also owned had the same issue. I sold the first car for a £3k profit and the second for a £2k loss. So I think either i was lucky or they aren’t as bad as people say!