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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New luxury car

BMW sends its V12 engine off in style

BMW will build its final V12 engine this June.

BMW

Most automakers are focused on building EVs and extracting the best fuel economy from gas engines possible, so it’s not surprising to hear that BMW is pulling the plug on one of its biggest and most iconic engines. In June 2022, BMW will build its very last V12 engine for use in a super-limited-production special edition 7 Series model. The ultra-rare cars will carry a starting price of $200,995.

BMW 760i xDrive The last V12 will power a very special (and very expensive) 7 Series car.BMW

Only twelve lucky customers will have the option to nab a V12-powered BMW, which will be called the M760i xDrive. Displacing 6.6 liters, the twin-turbocharged beast produces a massive 601 horsepower. An eight-speed sport automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard. BMW says the powertrain is strong enough to push the hefty 7 Series car to 60 mph from a standstill in just 3.6 seconds.

The final-run cars will feature little more than a special “V12” badge at the rear to differentiate them from standard 7 Series models. Inside, the car features a serialized plaque with the car’s production number out of the 12 units planned. The engine itself features a nameplate with “The Final V12.”

Beyond the badges, BMW’s 12-cylinder last-hurrah will come standard with 20-inch M double-spoke wheels, a choice of any available BMW full Merino leather color, M Sport brakes with black or blue calipers, a panoramic LED roof, remote control parking, a Bowers & Wilkins surround-sound system, and adaptive LED headlights.

BMW 760i xDrive Only 12 of the cars will be built, with a starting price of more than $200,000.BMW

Though it hasn’t been BMW’s most popular engine over the years, the V12 has been a part of the automaker’s catalog for 35 years. The first 12-cylinder engine showed up in 1987, producing 295 horsepower in the original 750iL sedan.

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Electric vehicles

NHTSA looking into Tesla's in-car video games

Some owners have discovered that their car's video games work when the car is moving.

Tesla

Tesla's vehicles are among the most advanced and forward-thinking products of any kind, but serious innovation doesn't come with tradeoffs. The automaker has been in the news recently because of issues with how its advanced cruise control systems function, and now, Autoblog reports that the NHTSA is asking questions about Tesla giving drivers the ability to play video games and browse the internet while driving.

Tesla Arcade hands-on: the Model 3 is your video game console youtu.be

The feature is intended to be used while the car is parked, such as while charging, so the discovery that people can use them while driving is a serious one. Vince Patton, the person who filed the complaint with the NHTSA, tested his car and found that he could play Solitaire and a fairly involved action game while it was in motion. Internet browsing was also possible, meaning the driver could take their attention completely off the road ahead for extended periods of time.

Tesla Model 3 Tesla's screens offer advanced functions that many others do not. Tesla

Tesla was already under investigation over crashes involving its Autopilot feature. Several collisions have occurred between Teslas and emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road. Following the initiation of that investigation, the NHTSA raised other questions with the automaker over a buggy software update that was pushed out, retracted, fixed, and reissued outside of the normal recall process. Despite their names, it's important to clarify that neither the Autopilot nor Full Self-Driving features are capable of driving the cars without driver awareness and input.

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