Unlike many of its rivals, the Range Rover is an enduring myth, not a wandering myth. This, it owes to its very successful concept and its exceptionally successful design, revealed in 1970. Insensitive to the outrage of years, it only underwent a partial redesign in 1994 (the P38 series, technically close to the original model ), before brilliantly reinventing itself in 2001. Land Rover owner since 1994, BMW allows the brand to develop a new generation of Range since a blank sheet in 1995. The famous English 4×4 will have to move upmarket, in order to be sold more expensive and generate more profit. The English and German design teams clash, and in 1997 it was the proposal of the former that won, designed by Phil Simmons, under the direction of Don Wyatt. It is finalized just before the change of year, Technically, this Range Rover, coded L322, must recover technical elements from BMW, such as the V8 engines, or even the electrical system: we imagine first of all attributing that of the Series 7 E38, before opting for that of the more modern Series 5 E39.
Above all, and these are firsts on a Range, it benefits from a unibody structure as well as a fully independent suspension. At the front it is made up of McPherson legs and at the rear double wishbones, all complemented by pilot air cushions. A very modern set!
Also, when it was presented at the end of 2001, the Range L322 aroused enthusiasm. And it doesn't matter whether the brand came under Ford control in 2000. The public appreciates the aesthetics of the 4×4, skilfully transposing the stylistic elements of its 1970 ancestor into a visual language adapted to the 21st century. That said, it is still inside that it capsizes the most hearts. Inspired by the world of architecture, the dashboard is a pure jewel, making wood an apparently structural use without going into retro. J Mays, boss of Ford design, will say of this painting that it is the most beautiful of the world production.
Under the hood, BMW engines were initially offered, coupled only to a 5-speed ZF automatic transmission, a 4.4-liter petrol V8 of 285 hp and a 6-cylinder in-line diesel common-rail with 177 hp. While respectable powers, the Range has lengthened by 23 cm and considerably heavier, weighing more than 2.4 tonnes. The increase is also evident in terms of prices, which start at € 59,500 (€ 75,200 today) for diesel and € 74,000 (€ 93,400 today) for gasoline, to peak at € 85,900 (€ 108,500 today). Three finishes are available: SE, HSE and Premiere Edition. All include the (at least partially) electrically adjustable leather seats like the steering wheel, a Hill Descent Control device that automatically manages the vehicle in an off-road downhill, dual-zone air conditioning and CD radio. The HSE adds the wooden elements, the parking radars or the hifi. As for the Premiere Edition, it completes the whole with a GPS-TV combo, an electric sunroof as well as seats and a heated steering wheel, in particular. Luxury what.
Sales are taking off very well, thank you, but the takeover by Ford involves major technical changes which took place in 2005. Exit BMW blocks, place Jaguar gasoline, a V8 type AJ-V8 4.4 l of 305 hp and 4, 2 l compressor, overpowered with its 395 hp! For its part, the box wins a 6th report. Externally, the headlamps and shields are redesigned, while internally, an enlarged touchscreen infotainment / GPS system makes its appearance, as well as a very chic Vogue version.
In 2006, the Bavarian diesel was advantageously replaced by a Ford unit, the TDV8 3.6 l of 272 hp, allowing much better performance. Suspensions and brakes are improved, while a Terrain Response system appears, which allows the Range to be adapted to various driving situations (snow, mud, etc.). The seats, modified, can be refrigerated and the handbrake becomes electric.
In 2009, another round of modifications: revised headlamps, redesigned bumpers, while in the passenger compartment, the central multifunction screen was enriched. For example, it can simultaneously display GPS for the driver and TV for the passenger! Multiple cameras are installed, allowing the pilot to see on screen the Range from above and its obstacles. The luxurious version of Vogue is crowned by the Autobiography, downright prestigious and above all, customizable to the envy. The V8 goes to 5.0 l (375 hp in atmo and 510 hp with the compressor), while in 2010 the diesel increases its displacement to 4.4 l and its cavalry to 313 hp, while the box now counts 8 speeds. The Range Rover L322 left the scene in 2012, replaced by the aluminum L405.
How much does it cost ?
Despite its qualities and its luxury, the Range L322 fell like crazy. Prices start at € 4,500 for a TD6 (BMW diesel engine therefore) in good condition. Obviously, the mileage will be substantial, exceeding the figure of 250,000. For € 1,000 more, you get a 4.4 l gasoline, also German mechanics.
In phase II, it is more expensive. A TD V8 will charge a minimum of € 8,500, but the petrol versions, which are much less common, charge for their rarity… And their Crit’air 2 sticker, which opens up many city centers! A 4.4 l AJ-V8 will not fall below 10,000 €, while a Supercharged, compressor therefore, will cost 15,000 € minimum.
As for the Phase III Range, the most successful and recent, there is nothing in 4.4-liter diesel for less than 17,000 €, while in gasoline, the offer consists almost exclusively of Supercharged. And there, it is necessary to count on 30 000 €.
Which version to choose?
Between gasoline engines, very greedy, and the rather sluggish BMW diesel, the TD V8 achieves a good compromise between performance, pleasure and consumption. To be preferred in its most upscale variations (HSE or Vogue), which does not generate significant additional costs since they are the most widespread.
These are the copies obviously in perfect condition, equipped with a gasoline engine, the richest possible equipment (Vogue and especially Autobiography) and above all, with very low mileage: less than 80,000 km. Very hard to find gear!
What to watch?
As much as the Range P38 caused a lot of trouble with its air suspension, so did the L322… too! But to a lesser extent. We will therefore check that at start-up, it "rises" normally and then offers good comfort. Another source of trouble is the front differential, sometimes at low mileage (60,000 km), so it may have been changed under warranty, which initially lasted 3 years or 100,000 km.
Finally, to stay on the mechanics, the box sometimes returns the soul around 150,000 km, unless it has been emptied at 100,000 km, a tedious but essential operation for good longevity.
Electronics are also a source of trouble, often mild but annoying, so make sure all functions are active.
A luxury vehicle requires, the Range must benefit from regular and expensive maintenance. Under this condition, it can last a very long time, the copies having passed the 300,000 km being numerous on the market.
I was able to test a superb Range Rover TD6 HSE in its time. On board, the dashboard is pure pleasure, both to the eye and to the touch. Even now, it remains, by its aesthetics, a model of its kind. The seats are lined with very soft leather, while pleasantly preserving the most fragile backs. In short, the interior, what am I saying, the panoramic lounge is a place that one never tires of, especially as space abounds.
When starting up, the BMW 6-cylinder makes no secret of the fact that it burns fuel oil but, strangely, its sound is pleasant. The steering is effortless, of course, and the gearbox acts soft without slipping into slowness. However, with its 2.4 tons and its cavalry limited to 177 hp, the machine is content with peaceful acceleration: no particular pleasure to be found in that area. We wouldn't care if the comfort was perfect, but while it allows for significant body roll, the suspension does not perfectly filter out irregularities: a Volvo XC90 pampers its passengers better!
Let's be clear, the Range remains quite restful, and above all, in addition to guaranteeing flawless dynamic safety, behaves remarkably well off-road thanks to its short speeds and its very well-managed Torsen center differential. This versatility is a big advantage over the German competition, not always comfortable in these conditions.
Finally, weight requires, consumption is rather high, around 11 l / 100 km.
The youngtimer alternative
Range Rover Classic (1970-1994)
After the Land, the Range is Rover's second all-terrain stroke of genius. Beautifully designed by Spen King and Gordon Bashford, David Bache fine-tuning the details, it offers unheard-of comfort among European 4x4s, like its relatively sought-after finish and its performance, the engine being the 3.5 l V8 from original Buick. Above all, it turns out to be masterful off-piste! Also, despite its dissuasive price and consumption, it was a great success, while the oil crisis broke out. So much the better because the British Leyland, owner of Land Rover, did not have a penny to upgrade it (it simply acquired power steering in 1973), so that the first major modifications await 1981 (4 doors ) and 1982 (automatic transmission). The 5-speed transmission arrived in 1983 and the leather upholstery in 1984: the Range became a luxury vehicle! Trend confirmed in 1988 with the introduction of the very chic Vogue finish. In 1986, injection replaced the carburetor, lowering fuel consumption while the V8 increased to 3.9 l at the end of 1989, when a diesel version with a VM engine was introduced. In 1992, a pneumatic suspension and a lengthened body appear in the catalog, the diesel passes to direct injection (variation 200 TDI) then the Range currently known as Classic is replaced by the P38 in 1994, after having been manufactured in approximately 325,000 units. . All the same ! From € 8,000 in good condition. Be careful, the first copies sometimes exceed 70,000 €!
Range Rover L322 TD6 (2004), technical sheet
- Engine: 6-cylinder in-line, 2,926 cc, turbo
- Power supply: common rail diesel injection
- Suspension: McPherson struts, controlled air spring triangulation, anti-roll bar (AV); double wishbones, pilot operated air springs, anti-roll bar (AR)
- Transmission: 5 automatic transmission, four-wheel drive
- Power: 177 hp at 4,000 rpm
- Torque: 390 Nm at 2,000 rpm
- Weight: 2,440 kg
- Maximum speed: 179 km / h (manufacturer data)
- 0 to 100 km / h: 13.6 s (manufacturer data)
> To find Range Rover L322 advertisements, visit the La Centrale website.