For its fifth generation, the Range Rover finds itself in a fortunate position. Once the trend-setter for luxury SUVs and enjoying the market it invented pretty much to itself, Land Rover’s flagship is now surrounded by blue-chip rivals from the likes of Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini, Aston Martin and, soon, even Ferrari.
All charge significantly more for their SUVs, giving Land Rover the opportunity to up its prices – and double-down on luxury.
The pinnacle of luxury in the new Range Rover is unlocked by selecting the long-wheelbase chassis, then opening the SV catalogue and opting for the Signature Suite.
This is a four-seat layout that prioritises the comfort of rear-seat passengers, who are treated to extra legroom, attractive ambient mood lighting, crystal glassware with a drinks cooler, and a deployable ‘Clubhouse’ table. A new hot stone massage function is offered by the fully-adjustable, heated and cooled seats, and there’s a touchscreen between them for controlling everything from the radio to the window blinds.
Buyers can opt for traditional Windsor leather, or leather-free Ultrafabric which has the look and feel of a comfortable sofa. It may go against the grain, but the material makes you question if leather – often too warm or too cold – is really the best approach, quite apart from the ethical and environmental implications.
What really sets the Signature Suite apart is the full-length centre console, with a veneer top and integrated ambient lighting that manages to stay the right side of tasteful – although can of course be configured via the touchscreen to look anything but. Refined lounge with soft yellow lighting, or vodka bar decorated in neon blue. Choose carefully.
Many of the Signature Suite’s features are deployed electronically. From the illuminated cup holders to the fridge door and central table, everything is operated by the touchscreen and motors. It’s enough to keep anyone familiar with Range Rover’s patchy reliability record up at night, but wonderful when all working correctly. The cynic in me wonders what repairing or replacing any of this might cost years down the road, but for now, it makes for a stunning passenger experience.
From the gloss white ceramic details on touchpoints like the gear selector and temperature controls, to the mosaic embossing in the seats and beautiful marquetry in the wood panelling, there’s a sense that real thought has been put into every detail. It’s a calm place to be.
There’s an airiness in here too, thanks to the pale open grain wood, cream fabrics and brushed metalwork. Bathed in light from the panoramic roof, or tucked away into shadow with the window blinds drawn, I can imagine spending some serious time here without ever being uncomfortable – or bored, thanks to the dual 13.1-inch television screens and noise-cancelling headphones in the door pockets.
It may look an awful lot like its predecessor, but this fifth-generation Range Rover really is all-new, from its chassis and drivetrain, to the electrical architecture and of course the interior. The minimalist, reductionist approach applied to the exterior is mirrored on the inside, while the cabin is quieter than ever.
The overriding sense is one of refinement, and while rivals may try to impress with supercar levels of performance, crackling exhausts, or bewildering amounts of technology, the Range Rover’s Signature Suite is a sanctuary of calm. The majority of buyers will likely stick to the usual five-seat layout, or even go for the new seven-seat option. But for those who want the ultimate in SUV luxury – without the gaudiness of a Rolls-Royce Cullinan and the brashness of a Lamborghini Urus – the new Range Rover with Signature Suite is the one to go for. It’s a triumph of interior design.
This article is part of The T3 Edit, a collaboration between T3 and Wallpaper* which explores the very best blends of design, craft, and technology. Wallpaper* magazine is the world’s leading authority on contemporary design and The T3 Edit is your essential guide to what’s new and what’s next.