Velvet gold mine Looks like the work of futurologists, is available in 2017. Meet this year’s hottest off-roader. By Ray Leathern Connoisseurs will recognise at once that this is no ordinary Range Rover, as if there ever was such a thing. Low, swept-back and beautifully sculpted, the Velar (named after the 1969 Range Rover prototype) may represent a pragmatic machine carefully slotted between the Evoque and Sport, but that hasn’t stopped JLR bringing all its finest assets to the party. It oozes desirability with exquisite touches like lean LED headlights and pop-out door handles – but being a Range Rover, on-road dynamics and off-road capability are of vital importance. That dictates a lightweight aluminium chassis, four-corner air suspension, eight-speed ZF gearbox and all-wheel drive on all models. Power units range from four-cylinder Ingenium variants (132 kW/177 kW/184 kW) all the way to the rip-snorting 280 kW supercharged V6 petrol that’s quickly become a JLR signature, although, as is so often the case, our pick is the 221 kW V6 diesel with its effortless 700 Nm of torque. Ease-of-travel and sublime comfort is augmented by the fact it’s the slipperiest Range Rover ever put into production, with a cabin that sets new standards for luxury. Tailored like a fine suit, time spent inside is as much a treat as ogling its svelte metal from the outside. JLR design boss, Gerry McGovern, calls it ‘reductive’, lit as it is by a large panoramic sunroof, plush leather seats and a dash utilising two 10-inch touchscreens and elegant camera-lens-inspired rotary knobs. First deliveries take place as soon as the October 2017 but the Range Rover Velar will be attracting admiration for several years to come, rest assured. For more information on the Range Rover Velar visit landrover.co.za.