2003 Range Rover Model Year Details
2003 Range Rover

Chassis & Suspension
Special Editions

More Information

Photo: 2003 Range Rover (Official press photo)

Special thanks to Kevin Kelly  for the information on these pages


The all-new Range Rover that had long been known to be under development under the tutelage of Land Rover's BMW owners was released in mid 2002, shortly after the company was taken over by Ford. The Ford takeover came too late to affect the design or the mechanicals, so the Range Rover III hit the market with the  BMW-derived 4.4 litre V8 engine which was a modified version of that used in the BMW 7-series sedans.

Like the original Range Rover, the new design was a radical departure with tradition, with independent air suspension and a monocoque body with integrated chassis. The third-generation design captured a lot more of the original Range Rover panache than the second attempt (1995-2002), creating a really good-looking vehicle that was amazingly capable on and off road. Importantly, off-road performance in particular was greatly improved to keep ahead of the competition, and a side-by-side off-road comparison test with the Land Rover Defender saw the new Range Rover victorious.

In accordance with US tradition, the new model was sold in the US as a 2003 model. According to the official press release, MSRP was $69,995, including free scheduled maintenance during the 50,000 mile - 4 year warranty period. (Warranty period varied by market; for example in the UK and Europe it was 3 years, unlimited miles, and in Australia it was 3 years/100,000 km).

However Kevin found the actual list price was $71,200, plus a transportation charge at $665 bringing the total to $71,865. It was easy to get the price over $80K before sales tax with just the cost of options like the Luxury seat package, factory 20" rims, brush bars, mud flaps and roof racks (California sales tax at 8.25% on $80,000 adds $6,600).

For more information including Body, Mechanical Design, On-Road Performance, Off-Road Performance, Major Model Update (2006 Model Year), Road Test ReportsBuild Quality, Owner Experiences, Buying Information etc, see the main Range Rover III page. For technical specifications, see the RRIII technical specification page.

Range Rover 2003 EnginePowertrain

The all-aluminum, 4.4-litre V8 engine, manufactured for Land Rover by BMW, was thoroughly modified for the more rigorous demands of the Range Rover application, to provide safe operation at extreme off-road angles and in water wading, a wide torque band for off-road work and the cooling system and ruggedness required for extended periods of operation at maximum output such as in heavy-duty towing. The crankcase was also substantially strengthened for mounting the front differential. The free-revving, 32-valve V8 produced 282 horsepower at 5,400 rpm and generates 325 lbs-ft of torque at 3,600 rpm, substantial increases compared to the larger-displacement V8 it replaced.

Official press photo of 2003 model year engine compartment

The electrically shifted ZF five-speed transmission had both fully automatic and "CommandShift" (better known as BMW Tiptronic) manual operation, providing manual up and down sequential shifting in both high and low range by nudging the shift lever back and forth. A two-speed, electronically activated transfer gearbox provided the ability to shift from Low to High and High to Low ratio on the move -- not possible on earlier models. A new torque-sensing Torsen center differential continuously and automatically adjusted the torque bias between front and rear axles depending on available traction.

Chassis & Suspension

The all-new monocoque body with integrated chassis had greater torsional stiffness than earlier models, to benefit the vehicle's on- and off-road performance. Aluminum alloy panels were retained for the hood, quarter panels and doors.

The new model's greatly enhanced on- and off-road handling and ride was achieved by the totally new subframe-mounted fully independent air suspension. The system featured staggering levels of wheel travel (10.75 inches in the front and 13 inches in the rear), and innovative cross-coupling valves (AUTOMATICALLY activated when off road) allowing air to flow freely between the left and right air springs for improved ride and traction.

The chassis also featured not only the Electronic Traction Control first pioneered in the 1993 Range Rover, but also Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and the Land Rover–pioneered Hill Descent Control (HDC). Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) supplement the standard anti-lock brakes (ABS).


The exterior design of the new model included many iconic Range Rover features such as the clamshell hood with its castellations, the split tailgate, the upright front and the "floating" roof. Less iconic and more jazzy were the fashionable headlights, round tail lamps, and "mainly for show" side air louvers.

Longer and taller than the previous model, the new Range Rover had correspondingly more interior space. Greater ground clearance, approach and departure angles resulted in higher off-road limits than its hugely capable forebear.

The standard exterior colors were Java Black, Giverny Green, Zambezi Silver, Chawton White, Adriatic Blue, Epsom Green, Alveston Red, Maya Gold and Bonnati Grey.

The 2003 Range Rover was the first Land Rover with actual badges on the hood and tailgate since spelling out RANGE ROVER since 1979.  Land Rover made the switch to stick-on plastic decals to spell out RANGE ROVER on the hood and tailgate in 1980 due a rust problem caused by the many holes required to hold the old style metal letters on (the new 2003 letters stick on).  The green and gold "Land Rover" logos on the 2003 grill and tailgate are exactly the same as the logos on the previous model.

2003 Range Rover InteriorInterior, Navigation and Entertainment
The interior was widely acknowledged to be elegant, and one of the best ever designs. The designers studied a wide variety of styling and texture cues—including elegant woods and leathers—from a diverse range of influences including Riva speedboats and high-precision running gear from ocean racing yachts.

Official press photo of 2003 Range Rover interior

As before, the new model incorporated as standard features virtually every comfort and convenience an owner could wish for. For example, eight standard airbags were included to protect both front and rear passengers. Park Distance Control (PDC) provided audible warning of the proximity of obstacles when parking. The GPS-based navigation system included the ability to place route-traceable geographic markers that facilitate the return trip when off pavement.

In fact, the only available options for 2003 were the Bi-Xenon headlights and the Heated Accessories Package. A summary of the new model's interior features appears  below.





2003 model year dash




Initially, the only options offered on US models were:

1. Heated Accessories/Cold Weather Package, consisting of heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and a ski hatch and bag integrated into the center rear armrest. Cost was $1,300.

2. Bi-Xenon Headlights -- a $750 option.

Later in the model year, the following additional options became available:

3. The Luxury Seat Package that came with 14 way driver and 12 way passenger seats, extra leather on seats, door pulls and dash heated seats (front and rear) cost an additional $5,000

4. Seven spoke Twenty (20) inch wheels were and extra cost option (19" six spoke wheels were stock).

Burled wood trim was a no cost option (may have been standard on the Oxford edition).


Factory accessories available for the new Range Rover included (from front to back):

Black A Frame brush bar, Black wrap around brush bar, Primed wrap around brush bar, Auxiliary Driving Light Kit (that fit inside the A Frame or brush bar)  Wind Deflectors for side windows, Running boards, big rubber door bump strips (Land Rover calls them "Side Protection Bars") mud flaps (actually molded mud guards) and unlike previous years most US Spec. Range Rovers were sold without mud flaps, Rear Lamp Guards and a selection of Range Rover logo license plate frames.  On top options were Roof Box, Integrated Roof-rail system, Sports Bars, Expedition Rack, Luggage Rack, & Ski, Snowboard, and Sailboard racks.  Inside Options were Rubber Loadspace mats, Loadspace area cargo nets (floor and sides) floor mats, dog guards and waterproof seat covers.

Special Editions
The traditional UK "Autobiography" edition was not offered in 2003, but the following special versions were made:

Oxford Edition:
Land Rover made 530 of the Oxford Editions in 2003 with 120 in black.  Ads said "The Oxford package adds new Contour 14-way driver seat adjustment. Land Rover said the seats were "Even more comfortable than standard seats, contour seats feature unique stitching pattern which includes finger-deep flutes for the highest level of comfort".  And driver and front passenger also have the added ability to electrically adjust the seatback head bolster height, the upper back rest and seatback angles.  Also "Windsor leather and Cambridge leather" and a Leather Dash, Leather Grab Handles.

G4 Challenge Range Rovers in the Australian DesertG4 Challenge Edition:
Land Rover made a total of 8 special US Spec. Range Rovers for the G4 Challenge that were all painted "Tangiers Orange" and came with the Land Rover "Heated Accessories/Cold Weather Package".   They had silver "Foundry Finish" trim from the European base models inside rather than the wood on other US Spec models, a special fire extinguisher under the drivers seat and the factory dog guard. None had tinted glass (so passengers could be photographed in competition).  The G4 model had the factory full length black heavy duty roof rack with spot lamps attached to the front of the roof rack and the factory rear ladder, and rear lamp guards.  Up front they had the OEM lamp guards and some kind of brush bar.  Some (but not all) had a front winch integrated in to the brush bar.

Right: Right Hand Drive G4 Challenge Range Rovers in the Australian desert (Official press photo)

Overfinch Edition: 
The “Overfinch Edition” was not an official model made by Land Rover or Land Rover North America, but some 2003 Range Rovers were sold new by LRNA with accessories from Overfinch.  http://www.overfinch.com/ Overfinch is a British company with a long history of upgrading Range Rovers.  The firm started making Range Rovers faster in the 70’s with bigger engines including the Jaguar V12, but got famous when they started putting Chevy Corvette engines in Range Rover Classics in the 80’s and Range Rover P38’s in the 90’s.  Due to the high cost of making any of the Overfinch high performance engines U.S. legal very few are in the U.S.   Most of the Overfinch Range Rovers sold by U.S. Land Rover Dealers had the full Overfinch styling package that included.  Huge 22” Overfinch Tiger alloy wheels w/ Pirelli P-Zero Scorpion 265/35/22 tires and Overfinch logo center caps, an aero rear under tow tray that went below the factory tow hitch, a front spoiler extender that lowered the front spoiler, bigger body colored side sills, a rear wing that attached to the top of the tailgate, a special exhaust system with huge chrome tail pipes, body color exterior mirrors, and Overfinch logo badging that include polished door sill plates that say Overfinch and oval Overfinch emblems that replace the oval Land Rover ovals on the steering wheel and tailgate.

Land Rover announced that the buyers of the 2003 Range Rover were younger and more affluent than the buyers of the previous-generation Range Rover. The average buyer was 42 years old, with buyer ages ranging from 24 to 71 years old.  More than 38% of Range Rover buyers were under 40. The average annual household income of all 2003 Range Rover buyers was $463,000, with more than a third of the owners reporting an annual household income of more than $500,000.


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Page revised February 10, 2012