Where I live, Range Rovers fall into two distinct categories, the school run tank or the mud splattered, somewhat-more-luxurious-than-the-usual-workhorse utility vehicle driven by farmers dressed head to foot in olive green, which may be rather ironic considering it’s standing as a ‘green’ vehicle.
I’ve always been mildly staggered by the price and ceasing to believe it, always end up doing a bit of a double take. I can’t argue with the credentials of a vehicle that has essentially remained in production, albeit with many changes, for around 42 years though. It serves a purpose.
The Range Rover is unique in the modern car world as having not spent too much time in a wind tunnel. It could never be argued that this vehicle was designed for speed over comfort, although with 516lb foot of torque and a top speed of 140mph it is no slouch either. Of course, all that torque goes mostly into propelling this beast from standing to actual forward movement – this car weighs a little shy of 3,000kg after all.
From a design perspective, you cannot argue that Land Rover has achieved its aim of making a rather un-aerodynamic vehicle look modern and sleek. So where do they go from here?
The sporty front grille and matching side grille of the latest incarnation might be a hint of things to come, if pictures of the latest soon-to-be all new Range Rover are anything to go by.
Let’s look at the good news first then; the use of a lightweight, aluminium monocoque body will decrease the massive weight of this beast by around 420kg, and the updated air suspension will, according to Land Rover, give greater cornering confidence. Too much body-roll while cornering is of course something many 4x4s inherently suffer from. The purported extra length will give 118mm more legroom for the rear occupants too.
The British designed and engineered new Range Rover will be built in a new factory in Solihull, which is of course, the best news of all.
Land Rover also say the new Range Rover will offer a “transformation in fuel economy and CO2 emissions” – although I doubt this piece of spin will push the panic buttons of many other manufacturers.
But it’s not all leaping in the air and clicking your heels together. Let’s put aside any misgivings you might have about such a hulking beast even existing for the time being and take a long hard look at it. The side view does look a bit like it’s been designed with the use of a set-square. If you buy one of these, you will forever have to glance down at some fish gills each time you open your door while catching the Evoque-like headlamps creeping around the side of the car out of the corner of your eye.
While there’s no price as yet, it’s pretty clear that with such a revamped design from the wheels up and an even more luxurious interior, the price will undoubtedly be hiked accordingly. And with the rumoured extra length, it does ask the question who and where is this vehicle for?
I can’t see many of these appearing in the narrow streets of our increasingly non-car friendly cities, so maybe Land Rover are actually targeting the increasing export market. After all, Land Rover already export to over 160 markets around the world.
Maybe that’s it; Land Rover are aiming this vehicle specifically at the kind of market that would have delivered the stars, chauffeur driven, to the closing ceremony at the London 2012 Olympics – after all, if you book George Michael, you wouldn’t want to let him drive himself to the arena, would you?
Full specifications will be released in September 2012 while customer deliveries will commence from early 2013.
Images from http://newsroom.jaguarlandrover.com