Velare, the latin for veil. How inappropriate for a vehicle designed with such naked ambition. Launched to slot in between the Evoque and the Sport, this new mid-sized SUV from Range Rover is utterly ruthless in intent: to establish a new empire for Britain in the luxury market.
Resembling the full-sized Range Rover more than its other brethren, the Velar is sleek and low-slung. Fully recessed door handles give it a slippery urbanity, and narrow strips of LED lighting broadcast the brand's signature.
Inside is a quantum leap for Land Rover’s occasionally stodgy design department. The twin touchscreens are quick to react and bright to behold. The cabin is slick, modern and comfortable. No more muddy wellies and Border Collies, this is a Range Rover for wingtips or high heels.
Performance from the 380 hp supercharged V6 is plentiful, but I suggest the relaxed and torquey diesel. The Velar prefers to waft, rather than stomp, and while body roll is generally well-controlled, it is distinctly un-Germanic in behaviour. It is made to dispatch traffic with smooth-mannered courtesy.
Add in everyday practicality, and the Velar's polished image feels handmade for a city of glass towers and busy roads. A Veil? Range Rover's latest machine might just as well wear the laurels of a Roman emperor: Veni, vidi, Velar.