Six weeks before it’s officially unveiled in Paris, Range Rover has lifted the wraps on its all-new model.
Set to enter UK showrooms early next year, with prices starting around £70,000 — and rising to £120k — the new Range Rover will be available with the choice of three engines.
The diesels include a special version of the 3.0-litre V6 (which has been a core powerplant in Discovery for years) and the 4.4-litre V8, which is already in the current Range Rover. The latter diesel will receive a number of updates.
The petrol option will be Land Rover’s own version of the 5.0-litre supercharged ‘group’ V8 already offered.
No manual gearbox option will be available, and all engines will drive through an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission.
But without question, the biggest headline is the fact the new model — which is sleeker, more sophisticated and a little longer and lower than before — has a new all-aluminium monocoque body/chassis.
The major benefit of this first change for 42 years is it has resulted in 420kg being carved from the car’s weight. That, by natural progression, will see significant improvements in fuel economy, CO2 output, performance and agility.
And not only is the new Range Rover 39% lighter than the outgoing steel model, but it’s also stiffer in both torsion and bending. There’s also new aluminium subframes front and rear which support newly designed, all-independent air suspension systems.
As you would expect, the new car is loaded with all the latest electronic wizardry in terms of ride and stability control equipment.
Plus there’s a new, more responsive Terrain Response 2 Auto system. This reads on-road and off-road conditions more quickly and configures the car better for the prevailing conditions.
The interior carries on the excellent standards achieved by the current Range Rover.
There’s a large binnacle ahead of the driver, with a TFT screen which offers tachometer and speedo functions (with ancillary functions in between), plus a well integrated eight-inch screen above the prominent console in the centre of the car.
The designers set themselves a tough test of simplifying controls and switchgear without reducing the number of functions: they have cleverly achieved it, in line with the new model’s theme of “serene isolation”.
The wheelbase is ‘around’ 100mm longer, resulting in the rear cabin offering an impressive 120mm more kneeroom.
While a three-occupant rear bench seat will be offered as standard — as is the case in the current model — the option of a new two-seat ‘Executive’ layout that extends the centre console through the rear cabin “for ultimate luxury” will be available as an option.
The two doors of the traditional, horizontally split tailgate (improved to reduce the ‘stretch’ needed to load the boot) are electrically assisted.
Dealers should begin receiving first deliveries before the end of the year, with the first customers having their cars very early in 2013.