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The Range Rover has always been marketed as a premium product over its 40-year history, but never has it been truly accepted into the upper echelons of the luxury car market. Until now that is, with the fourth-generation Range Rover, codenamed L405. Lavishly appointed and beautifully finished inside and out, it’s a properly super premium SUV, this, with prices to match too.

Launched in Malaysia within six months of its international debut in Paris last year, the new Range Rover is available with two engine choices: either an SDV8 diesel or a V8 Supercharged petrol. The former goes for RM949,888 while the top of the range model breaks the seven figure barrier at RM1,089,888 (on the road prices, excluding insurance). The base 3.0 litre V6 turbodiesel engine is unavailable at launch.

Before you cry foul of the considerable price hikes – the third-gen Range Rover TDV8 and 5.0 V8 Supercharged were priced at RM730,000 and RM798,888 respectively – remember that in its home market, the latest model carries a significant 15% price premium over its predecessor. Factor in the compound tax increase and higher standard kit and it starts to look less exorbitant.

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The SDV8 model uses an updated 4.4 litre twin-turbo V8 diesel with 339 hp (26 more than before) at 3,500 rpm and 700 Nm of torque at 1,750-3,000 rpm. 0-100 km/h sprint takes 6.9 seconds (previously 7.8), on to a top speed of 218 km/h. Fuel economy is rated at a respectable 11.5 km per litre, an improvement of 9% over the outgoing TDV8.

Get the 5.0 litre supercharged V8 petrol and you’ll have 510 hp at your disposal from 6,000 to 6,500 rpm, with 625 Nm at 2,500-5,500 rpm. The century sprint is over in 5.4 seconds, 0.8 seconds quicker than before, with a top speed of 225 km/h or 250 km/h when specified with 22-inch wheels. A litre of petrol only returns 7.4 km, which is also 9% better than its predecessor. Range is never an issue with a 105 litre fuel tank.

Both engines are mated to the same eight-speed automatic transmission with steering mounted paddle shifters, a first for a V8 Supercharged Range Rover. The Jaguar-sourced rotary gear selector is retained here, while the just-unveiled new Range Rover Sport gets a traditional gear lever (but in turn loses out on paddle shifts).

Improvements in both performance and efficiency owe very little to the minor mechanical updates, but more to the new all-aluminium monocoque chassis – a world-first in an SUV. It’s 39% lighter than the steel item it replaces, and contributes to the massive 350 kg model-for-model weight saving.

It wouldn’t be a proper Range Rover without real go-anywhere ability, and this latest model wears its name with pride. In off-road mode, it has a ground clearance of 295.5 mm, maximum wading depth of 900 mm (200 mm deeper now), plus enhanced and highly capable approach, ramp and departure angles.

Both local models are kitted in Vogue trim – the lowest of three lines available elsewhere. They’re far from being spartan however – there’s no such thing as a poverty-spec Range Rover – and the options and customisation levels available are only limited by your wallet depth.

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Active air suspension (with variable ride height) and a host of driver aids (roll stability, traction, hill descent, cornering brake and dynamic stability controls all inclusive) are standard across the range. The petrol variant gets the latest Terrain Response 2 system with an Auto mode, an option on the TR1-equipped TDV8. An active rear differential lock is optional for both models.

Included in the extensive standard equipment list are xenons, LED DRLs and rear lamps, 20-inch wheels (21s pictured here), cruise control (adaptive feature is an option), surround camera system, three-zone climate control, touchscreen GPS, voice control, Bluetooth connectivity and oxford leather upholstery. A panoply of airbags are present too, as are keyless entry, vacuum doors and powered split tailgate for the 909 litre boot.

A four-seat configuration, rear seat entertainment system, dual view screen, panoramic roof, adaptive headlamps with high beam assist, towbar and a full size spare wheel are all cost options. Other extras include auto park, wade sensing feature and a 825W Meridian surround audio system that replaces the standard 380W item.

The new Range Rover is more capable on and off the road, uses less fuel, looks more modern than ever and is oh so sumptuous inside. So what do you think – this, or an S-Class?