Behind the Wheel

2020 Land Rover Velar Review: The top-tier trim is fit, and priced, for royalty

The 2020 Land Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition is a modern luxury SUV, through and trough.

Photo courtesy of Land Rover

Land Rovers are traditionally tough, über capable, and fit for both royals and stars of the silver screen. They also are traditionally sturdy, an effect that inspires confidence while driving but also limits the dynamic ability of the model.

Enter: 2020 Land Rover Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition. Yes, that's a mouthful. What it isn't is a lane full. The Velar is the most easy-to-drive Land Rover on the road today, making daily driving a cushy, relaxed experience. Steering, thanks to the "Dynamic" part of the SUV's name, is connected and engaging though the Velar makes its case to not be considered sporty.

2020 Land Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition The Velar sports typical Land Rover Range Rover looks.Photo courtesy of Land Rover

As tested, the model is powered by a thirsty 5.0-liter V8 that delivers a wonderful 550 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque. It has a maximum speed of 170 mph and can get from zero to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. The SUV goes through gasoline at a rate of 15 mpg in the city, 20 mpg on the highway, and 17 mpg combined. That's not ideal, but it's the trade-off for the V8.

Land Rover offers the grade in 25 different paint colors, allowing buyers to choose something other than the white bottom/black roof and black-on-black combinations that are so prominently on Land Rovers in carpools lines across the country.

There are those in my household that extol the greatness of the latest Range Rover Evoque, which was redesigned for the 2020 model year. Those are not me. Sure, the Evoque has a lot to like, but the Velar takes the Evoque's good sides and moves it up a notch.

With Velar, Land Rover allows a driver to feel secure, but not boxed in. The car appears to be built like it can take a slow speed rollover while off-roading without a second thought. Unlike the Audis and BMWs of its segment, the Land Rover doesn't give off a sense of lightweight modernity, which is, perhaps what makes it so appealing.

2020 Land Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition The Velar is the smallest Range Rover in the company's lineup.Photo courtesy of Land Rover

That's not to say that the Velar isn't modern. It is. As tested, the interior of the car features the highest level appointments and technology that Land Rover offers in its Velar lineup. Twenty-way heated and cooled front seats seats with memory and massage functionality, aluminum trim finishers, a soft grain leather steering wheel, quad-zone climate control, metal pedals, and a 17-speaker Meridian Surround Sound System are all included. The SUV also comes standard with what Land Rover calls a "full leather upgrade" to the upholstery that includes contrast stitching.

It also has an infotainment system with navigation, SiriusXM, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a 360-degree parking aid, along with a lengthy list of safety features including blind spot assist and lane keep assist. The steering wheel controls are Land Rover's finest piano black and offer sophistocated touch functionality and the mostly touch-screen climate, drive, and comfort controls are

The Velar has a starting price of $56,300, which seems about right for a capable and comfortable two-row daily driver in the luxury segment. Four-wheel drive is standard so that drives the base price up some.

The 2020 Land Rover Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition has a starting price of $90,790. If you currently have your head tilted like a dog that's wondering if he just heard the word "treat" correctly, you've assumed the correct position.

2020 Land Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition Land Rover's Pivi Pro operating system is responsive and displays attractive graphics.Photo courtesy of Land Rover

There's something to be understood about the Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition that probably escapes people who go into car shopping with a budget. This particular model isn't for them. It's for an elite customer that can go into a Land Rover dealership and say, "I'll take that one," without having to worry about financing. It's for a parent giving their child a vehicle they'll look cool in and be secure in. It's for a single gal who doesn't need money man to get her what she wants - and she wants horsepower, handling, comfort, and capability, equally.

2020 Land Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition The Velar handles the road better than the Evoque.Photo courtesy of Land Rover

Though expensive, the Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition is excellent. It's one I'd have in my driveway.

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The new Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is coming soon to a LEGO store near you.

Photo courtesy of LEGO

The Jeep Wrangler has fans the world over. For those fans whose extracurricular activities include LEGO building along with Jeeping, there's a new LEGO Technic model they'll want to take a look at. The LEGO Technic Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is the first LEGO model of a Jeep SUV.

Ask any Jeep Wrangler owner and they'll tell you that their vehicle is just a bigger version of this new LEGO set," said Mark Allen, Head of Jeep Design. "The design of the Jeep Wrangler allows them to take it apart, top off, doors off, reconfigure it, add new pieces from our Mopar team, and then put it back together again. This LEGO Technic Jeep Wrangler should bring a new level of joy to our Jeep enthusiasts and help inspire future designers to the brand."

LEGO Technic Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

Photo courtesy of LEGO

The 665-piece model features all the classic Jeep hallmarks - a performance 4x4 system, rugged tires, fold-down rear seats, and a seven-slot grille. It features a button operated front steering system and axle-articulation suspension. It has a yellow-and-black color scheme.

"The Jeep Wrangler is an icon in the off-road world" says Lars Thygesen, Designer, LEGO Technic. "The Rubicon has a lot of the iconic details loved by 4x4 fans the world over, so it was important to me to pack as many of the authentic, powerful features of the real vehicle into the LEGO Technic replica. I hope LEGO fans and vehicle lovers enjoy all aspects including the suspension, winch and open air design that we developed alongside the talented Jeep design team."

The LEGO Technic Jeep Wrangler is designed for Jeep and LEGO fans alike, aged 9 and above. It will be available from January 1st 2021 from LEGO.com, LEGO stores and other retailers globally, priced at [49.99€/49.99$/£44.99].

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Audi is only making the car for U.S. customers.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The 2021 Audi R8 Panther special edition is one of the rarer gifts you can get for your garage this holiday season. With a limited run of 30 coupes in the works, the R8 Panther edition models are the first available units in the R8 rear-wheel-drive model line and available only for U.S. customers.

If the name sounds familiar to you, that's because it should. The R8 Panther edition joins the 2019 RS 5 Panther edition, which was also a limited run and featured the same paint color and interior upholstery.

2021 Audi R8 Panther The hallmarks of the model include its black paint job and red-edged wheels.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The unique 2021 R8 Panther comes covered in an Audi-exclusive Panther Black crystal effect paint job with carbon exterior mirror housings. Its badging has been coated in black. The model rides on 20-inch five-double-spoke dynamic design wheels that have been milled cut, finished in matte black with red trim, and wrapped in summer performance tires.

Your neighbors will hear you leaving the cul-de-sac thanks to the car's sport exhaust system, which amplifies the sound of the V10 engine. LED headlights and LED taillights, with dynamic turn signals will help their eyes follow your path on the way out as they peer out their windows.

The R8 Panther is powered by a naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V1 engine that produces 532 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque, and sprints from zero to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. It has a top track speed of 201 mph.

The chassis of the R8 Panther edition has been specifically adapted for rear-wheel drive, including using solid rear axles as opposed to hollow, a stiffer front anti-roll bar, and an increase in rear negative camber.

2021 Audi R8 Panther

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The model has a full black leather interior with Crimson red stitching. Its racing shells seats are covered in red Nappa leather and have power height and manual fore/art seat adjustment. The car's gear selector and parcel shelf are covered in Alcantara, and the headliner features a diamond-stitched Alcantara. Audi has given the model a brand-exclusive steering wheel with leather/Alcantara and 12 o'clock marker as well as exclusive R8 floor mats with Crimson red leather edging.

Audi virtual cockpit, Audi smartphone interface, Audi phone box with signal booster, navigation, a 13-speaker Bang & Olufson sound system, and illuminated door sill inlays are included.

A carbon exterior package adds carbon fiber to the engine compartment and carbon sigma sideblades while the carbon interior package adds carbon fiber high-gloss surrounds for both the virtual cockpit and the air vents, as well as the center console.

The 2021 R8 Panther edition will be available in select dealerships this month with an MSRP of $183,300. There is an additional $1,495 destination charge, $1,700 gas guzzler tax, sales taxes, title, options, and dealer charges.

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