Land Rover LR4 Black Pack – review

How old? No way! You don’t look a day over three

By Shahzad Sheikh

Land Rover LR4 Black Edition

This Land Rover is nine-years old. Okay it got a significant refresh in 2009 and they even changed the name from LR3 to LR4 – though in some markets it remains the Discovery – but it’s essentially the same car.

And yet it’s aged very gracefully indeed. Stick some black 19-inch wheels on it, daub the grille, fend vents, mirrors, door handles, roof rails and, most striking of all, black ‘Land Rover’ script on the bonnet and ‘LR4’ badging, and it looks elegant, slick and imposing all at the same time.

Land Rover LR4 Black Edition

Nor does it look nearly a decade-old. It remains utterly fresh, and more importantly, incredibly competent.

As tested, it’s fitted with the familiar 5.0-litre V8 producing 375bhp mated to all the technical updates it received in its 2010 model refresh including improved terrain response and traction and stability systems designed to enhance its off-road ability from pretty awesome to ‘did we leave the Land Cruiser behind?’

Land Rover LR4 Black Edition

Now, on the inside, the original Discovery felt a very poor relation to its more moneyed relation, the Range Rover, but it’s certainly been upwardly mobile through its LR3 and LR4 regenerations, and is now positively brimming with class and prestige that sees it dining at the same table as a Vogue without so much as a harrumph from its well-to-do cousin.

Lashings of leather, Harman Kardon sound, and power seats see to that – not to mention performance and the rumble of its distinctive eight-pot.

Land Rover LR4 Black Edition

But the core values of practicality and functionality that sit so well its overriding ability to conquer all terrain remains as evident as ever, and putting it to the test, I stuff my wife and two kids, my brother, his wife and kid all into the most family-friend car to wear the oval badge and went cruising around the UAE.

The fold-out third row provide the two extra seats needed, still leaving just enough room to pack in sandwiches, water and other paraphernalia and not a complaint or moan was heard from my merry band of travellers throughout the weekend’s cruising.

Land Rover LR4 Black Edition

Okay, perhaps the audible silence of fear may have been apparent when I called upon all the potent horses and hurled it through the sequence of tightening curves tracing a path to the tunnel at the top of mountain range between Dubai and Kalba.

You see, whilst the all-new big daddy Range Rover and especially the new Range Rover Sport have both learnt a neat new trick of incredible composure and control under the duress of hard cornering and fierce direction changes, the relatively old-skool LR4 echoes the RR characteristic of yester-yore by leaning heavily, thanks to the long long travel suspension.

Land Rover LR4 Black Edition

Admittedly when you start to scratch the surface the venerable LR4 does begin to show its age, for example in the simplistic navigation.

However, it’s stuff that, I personally, like – like the traditional high-viewpoint armchair seating position where it feels just so natural to lean your elbow on the door sill; I also like the proper transmission shift level instead of the knob found in the more modern JLR cars and I revel in the tall glazing serving up great visibility.

Land Rover LR4 Black Edition

Plus there is another update to this car arriving soon, which will probably address the electronics and bejewel the lights with the latest fashion in LEDs. Rumours are that a completely new replacement will be seen in 2016.

Regardless of the, shall we call them ‘foibles’, this Landy remains one of my personal favourites, and I maintain that’s a great all-round family car that’ll go anywhere you need it to – the deepest wadi, the longest road or the poshest palace.

Land Rover LR4 Black Edition

2013 Land Rover LR4
Price: AED239k
Engine: 5.0-litre V8, 375bhp @ 6500rpm, 376lb ft @ 3500pm
Performance: 0-100kph 7.5s, top speed NA
Transmission: Six-speed auto, four-wheel drive
Weight: 2653kg

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