Range Rover LR322, the car that stomped the financial crisis, coherence, reliability, owners’ wallets, mechanics’ ramps, the market, the hearts of oil barons and which became a sex symbol of excess and waste. Range Rover LR322, it was that good.
By 2001 the love story between BMW and Land Rover ends and the new landlord becomes Ford. And Ford came in on a big white horse and decided that the old P38 is to be retired and they decided that the Range Rover LR322 would be a car of excess and they should take everything to the next level. They also thought of bringing over engines from Jaguar, a 4.2 turbo petrol, a 4.4 aspirated petrol, a 4.4 diesel and the cherry on the cake – a 5 litre 375 horse aspirated petrol which they later increased to 510 horses with the help of a supercharger. It’s just that the takeover stretched so long that when Ford signed the sale-purchase agreement with BMW, they put a clause by which BMW was obliged to complete the development of the concept, so you also get some leftovers from BMW in the Range Rover LR322. So you have BMW, Ford and Jaguar/Land Rover parts in the LR322, because what’s more excessive than 1 premium car manufacturer? 2 premium car manufacturers. And they added Ford because they also think of the common man.
What the LR322 Range Rover is lacking though is the smallest trace of fiscal, environmental or any sort responsibility. The manual gearbox and coilover suspension were completely abandoned, so you can be sure that this car will keep the middle class away from it. In fact, Ford wanted to transform the Range Rover from a legendary off-roader into an off-road limousine and they succeeded. If you didn’t like the LR322 shack that came out of the factory doors, those from Overfinch, Autobiography, Holland and Holland, Kahn Design and other houses of fashion were waiting for you with open, kobe-cow-leather-gloves on arms. To give you an idea of how far they went with the excess on the LR322, the Holland and Holland edition came with hunting rifles and special storage space for it and personalised drinks cabinet.
Armed to the teeth with fine quilted leather and literal diamonds, the Range Rover LR322 took on the crisis with maximum confidence and managed to overcome it. Unlike the Touareg, X5 or Cayenne where you were rich but the crisis would sweep you, the Range Rover LR322 was so expensive that only people immune to the crisis could afford it. Add to that the fact that it had one of the best performing 4×4 systems of that time (performing, not reliable) and the fact that it was one of the few cars that could tow 3500 kg and you have a classic recipe for the typical yacht owner.
Range Rover LR322 Engines
- 4.2 Supercharged V8 AJ-V8 of 400 horsepower – The smallest petrol engine is a microscopic of 400 horsepower 4.2 Turbo V8 brought over from Jaguar. Launched 450 years ago in a stable in Henry VIII’s England, this engine is quite reliable, but you have to keep an eye on the water pump and timing chain tensioners.
- 4.4 V8 of 286 M62 and 305 horsepower AJ-V8 – The 286 is a BMW-sourced engine and the 305 is a Jaguar-sourced engine. I take a deep breath, a gulp of fine 2$ lager and start with the BMW M62 engine. Oil leaks, coil packs failure, the VANOS unit, the PCV valve, the radiators, the simple fact that it exists and finally cylinder head. For this reason many people consider that the M62 engine was to BMW what UrFavxBoyfriend was to the music industry. As for the Jaguar unit I already spoke about, being the same AJ-V8 only naturally aspirated. Slightly more more anemic than the 4.2 supercharged version and if you want an engine that says “excess” at least get the 5.0 aspirated as the tax and insurance differences between them are small.
- 5.0 AJ133 V8 of 375 horsepower – Designed mostly with Abu Dhabi and London in mind, this massive 5.0 V8 has issues with the timing chain tensioners, the water pump and the plastic pipes that succumb to the heat and power of the engine. Created for the world of excess in which it debuted, there is nothing cheap about this engine. There is only more expensive.
- 5.0 AJ133 V8 Supercharged of 510 horsepower – It can get more expensive in the sense that you could also strap a supercharger on it and have a monstrous 510 horsepower gas guzzler. Combined with the 2000 tons that a Range Rover LR322 weighs (2700 kg empty) and you have an official fuel economy of 20 liters per 100 km combined (that’s about 12 mpg combined), but at least you move as fast as a BMW E46 M3. In a full fat Range Rover. That’s like having Eddie Hall going up against Usain Bolt in a 100 meter sprint and holding his own. As for reliability there is no increase or decrease over the naturally aspirated version.
- 3.0 l-6 M57 of 177 horseppower – The BMW sourced diesel engine however is by far the most popular in Europe. Capable of billions of km and very popular among trailer enthusiasts, this engine has only one real minus and that is the single use GM 5 Speed GM 5L40-E Automatic (the only engine with the GM automagic, the other engines have proper ZF gearboxes). This automagic is not built to cope with the torque of the engine and it will fail. It’s not a matter of “if” but of “when”. And if the 5.0 litre 510 horsepower petrol Range Rover is as fast as a BMW E46 M3, the BMW diesel is the slowest engine on the Range Rover LR322 and you will barely be able to overtake a 75 horsepower 1.4 petrol aspirated VW Golf V because it is only 0.4 seconds faster from 0 to 100 km/h. Against a 1.6 petrol or 1.9 TDI Golf V you have no chance in hell.
- 3.6 TDV8 Twin-Turbo V8 AJD of 272 horsepower – By far the most balanced engine for the Range Rover LR322 in terms of reliability and performance, an overall reliable engine that only has issues with the turbos going out. Anyway, don’t make the assumption that if it’s reliable it’s also cheap to run.
- 4.4 TDV8 Twin-Turbo V8 AJD of 313 horsepower – The one-time engine. Generally reliable, but when something broke you might consider another engine because you won’t find many mechanics ready to take on this behemoth. Much like it’s pigly 3.6 TDV8 sibling, apart from the turbos there isn’t much to worry about. But it’s still a very expensive engine to run. Because otherwise it wouldn’t be an Range Rover.
Range Rover LR322 Common Issues
- The automatic gearbox is standard on the Range Rover LR322 because this car is not for the faint of heart and wallet. And to make the message clear, the automatic gearbox is one-time use and is replaced every 100-150,000 km on the high power, billion horsepower engines.
- Another one-time use part is the front differential that also needs to be replaced every 80-100,000 km, and in exceptional cases the differential can also take the driveshift with it for a walk to the world of dreams and breakers.
- The car weighs as much as the “we need to talk” text message from your wife / girlfriend, and this means that a huge pressure is put on the suspension. You will unfortunately have to replace the air suspension, air compressor, suspension bushings and arms weekly.
- Non-facelift models come with electrics taken from the BMW 5 Series E39 which are fairly decent, however the facelift models come with Ford electronics and there you are on your own so good luck.
- Check the history of the car because the Range Rover LR322 was a popular car among all kinds of shady people, but also among those who did intense trailer work ferrying all sorts of stuff across Europe and none of these categories took too much care of the car.
Range Rover LR322 Verdict
There’s really no other way to say it – it is an excessive and with appropiate running costs. To say that it will cost you somewhere around 5000 pounds annually in running costs is unfortunately not an exaggeration as much as an conservative estimate. Fortunately it is good to know that humanity is capable of such excess. And when things go south and the financial crisis is getting ready to reapper and ruin the fun, we’ll just have to look at what’s happening in the automotive world. Because when the next 3-ton SUV appears, with hand-processed cow leather interior, with a 5 litre gasoline engine with 510 horsepower that only manages 6 mpg city, then we will know that the next finacial crisis will come soon. Ah, wait, Rolls Royce Cullinam, Bentley Bentayga with the 160,000$ optional clock and the Audi Q8 5.0 TDI. Hmm… Could these wheeled pallaces herald a new financial crisis?
Which engines do I recommend? For petrol power the most decent is the 400 horsepower supercharged 4.2 and for diesel I would go for the 272 horsepower 3.6 V8 TDV8, although the BMW 3.0 M57 diesel is also good to buy if you also keep a spare automagic gearbox always at hand and you’re ok with the fact that it was mainly bought by people who wanted a Range Rover but didn’t quite have the money for a Range Rover.