The name Land Rover inspires visions of steely-eyed adventurers sojourning across desert wastes or conquering wind-scored peaks. From Highland bogs to Himalayan rapids, Land Rovers forge on where other SUVs fear to tread. Land Rover earned its reputation for go-anywhere bull-doggedness by constantly refining the off-road dynamics of its vehicles through more than 60 years of production. Less lionized perhaps is Land Rover’s devotion in equal measure to providing its buyers with bespoke luxury. The 2011 Land Rover LR4 HSE is a shining example of the storied brand’s ability to pair unrivaled ruggedness with unmatched refinement.
Last year, the LR4 replaced the award-winning LR3 following a wheels-up redesign that further sharpened the focus of Land Rover’s most versatile SUV. From styling to power to safety and onto driving dynamics, every aspect of the vehicle enjoyed the attention of the polisher’s wheel. Comfort, amenities and personalization options were also honed to new heights, and nowhere are the results better showcased than on the 2011 LR4 HSE model (MSRP $52,750).
Here’s a lesson is global trekking: Power is the prime ingredient in getting you where you want to go. The power behind the LR4 HSE is a 5.0-liter V8 engine making 375 hp and 375 lb/ft of torque. Advancements like direct fuel injection and Variable Camshaft Phasing help to optimize torque delivery throughout the rev range while boosting fuel efficiency and lowering emissions; the 5,617-pound LR4 HSE meets Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle II regulations.
Another prime contributor to powertrain efficiency is the smooth-shifting six-speed ZF active automatic transmission with Commandshift®, which lets you choose between three shift modes: Manual, Normal and Sport.
Maximizing versatility meant modifying the LR4’s ABS brakes, electronic steering and four-corner air suspension for perfect handling dynamics on-road or off. The brain center in charge of that dynamic perfection is Land Rover’s acclaimed Terrain Response system, which offers a choice of five surface settings available at a simple spin of a dial. Terrain Response configures a spectrum of parameters – ranging from ride height to traction control and brake and suspension response – to guarantee an optimal ride no matter the landscape.
The LR4 HSE’s rugged performance also benefits from a two-speed electronically controlled transfer box and front/rear split and lockable center differentials. This year, the Terrain Response system gains Hill Descent Control with Gradient Release Control, which provides smooth, assured ascents and descents on steep inclines. Choosing the optional Heavy Duty Package brings an active locking rear differential plus a full-size spare tire and alloy wheel.
Regardless of the topography you mean to cross, in the LR4 HSE, you’ll experience your adventure in the lap of handcrafted luxury. Stitched leather surfaces contribute to the sumptuous environment, as do brushed aluminum trim and a choice of real wood veneers. The HSE also delivers a wide array of standard convenience and infotainment amenities.
Open the integrated sun blinds in the Alpine roof, (which includes a power tilt-and-slide front sunroof) and you’ll shed light on standards such as Bluetooth connectivity, a hard-drive-based Premium Navigation System, a five-inch Thin Film Transistor (TFT) Instrument Panel, dual-zone climate control and a 240-watt sound audio system from harman/kardon®
. You’ll also find a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, a heated rear windscreen, rain-sensing windshield wipers, an upgraded Satellite Digital Audio Receiver system, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, a rearview camera and Rear Park Distance Control.
Halogen headlights with LED signature lighting make the list, as do 19-inch, seven split-spoke alloy wheels. Twenty-inch, 10 split-spoke alloys are optional. The available Seven-Seat Comfort Package offers second- and third-row fold-flat seating and second-row A/C and heating controls, plus two headliner vents and two vents mounted in the C pillars. Folding those second- and third-row seats opens up 90.3 cubic feet of cargo space.
You can also opt for a 480-watt harman/kardon® LOGIC7 CD sound system with 14 speakers and a portable audio interface. Selecting the Rear Seat Entertainment System nets you dual video display screens and a six-disc DVD changer. There’s also a wired headphone and remote control, along with input jacks for MP3 players and video games.
The Vision Assist Pack offers Adaptive Front Lighting with Xenon Headlamps, Automatic High Beam Assist, Tow Hitch Assist, Tow Assist and a Surround Camera System that gives you a 360-degree view around the vehicle. The Climate Comfort Package features heated front- and second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, a heated front windshield and heated windshield washer jets.
It should come as no surprise that the LR4 HSE boasts a maximum towing capacity of 7,716 pounds, a 27.9-degree break over angle and a maximum wading depth of 27.56 inches – after all, it’s a Land Rover. That the same vehicle surrounds you in a level of luxury you’d expect to find in a premium executive sedan is nothing short of alchemy. Come experience the magic for yourself with a test drive in the new 2011 Land Rover LR4 HSE.