As only the fourth model in the past 42 years, the introduction of a new Range Rover can’t be taken lightly. In fact, Land Rover has been working for the past five years to get this right and they seem to have nailed it.
We hope to drive it soon but, in the meantime, we wanted to bring you the highlights of this remarkable new machine.
Codenamed D7u it boasts 3500 new parts. The biggest change is to an all-aluminum body structure – first used on the original Land Rovers back in 1947. This one is 39% lighter (400 lb) than the previous model. Combined with other measures, they’ve saved up to 926 lb in some markets – 700 lb in total off the US V8 model.
The body shares much of Jaguar’s aluminum expertise but advances it with items such as the single-piece side pressings (the largest ever attempted). The entire structure weighs about the same as a BMW 3 Series bodyshell yet still meets crash standards and NVH targets.
Up to 50% of the aluminum in the vehicle is obtained from recycled stock, and 69 lb of recycled plastics are utilized. In total it requires 75% less power to build each car because rivets and bonding replace traditional welding. And with up to 90% of the vehicle recoverable when it’s scrapped, the sustainability is impressive.
It also has aluminum multilink suspension all round, including a one-piece, hollow rear subframe. All models will use a new airbag suspension system in concert with adaptive dampers and Dynamic Response active lean control on V8 models. However, the sway bars can be isolated when off-road to allow greater wheel articulation.
The lightweight construction means the US supercharged V8 model will reach 60mph in 5.1sec and can hit 155mph with an optional upgrade. Strangely, fuel consumption is only 9% better than the previous T5 platform but it’s predicted you will see better numbers than the official figures thanks to the overall weight reduction.
Even the brakes are considered lightweight, featuring aluminum Brembo monoblock six-piston calipers up front with 15" rotors.
Sadly, we won’t get the more frugal 3.0 TDV6 nor 4.4 SDV8 diesel motors just yet. Neither will we see the world’s first all-terrain turbo-diesel hybrid that returns 37mpg (combined), thanks to its TDV6 assisted by a 36kW electric motor for either low-speed electric motion or high-speed combined acceleration.
The electric motor sits inside the same ZF eight-speed trans used by BMW and offered standard in the 2013 Range Rover. It’s able to either store power when coasting or provide power to drive the wheels. The battery pack is mounted low to help handling but can be immersed in water, and its cradle is strong enough to support the car if it gets beached on a rock.
This hybrid version meets EU5 emissions standards but won’t pass the stricter California regulations, so we must wait for the next generation Range Rover hybrid before we see anything stateside.
Of course, every Range Rover has to excel off-road and the permanent 4WD system sees to that with its 50\50 torque split center diff, low-range option, etc. It also has Terrain Response 2; an enhanced version of LR’s traction system with individual settings for grass, snow, mud, sand, etc but now has an auto mode that senses the conditions and opts for the best of the five settings.
The system will also recommend when to select low range or adjust the suspension height, which can be raised a total of 5.7". Even more impressive is it’s new wading depth, increased to 35" thanks to a new air intake system that breathes through channels in the clamshell hood aperture. A series of labyrinths help remove moisture in the air before it reaches the motor, removing the need for a snorkel on most off-road applications.
While it looks considerably bigger than the outgoing T5, the new D7u is only 1" longer. The lower roofline and 1.6" longer wheelbase may explain the optical illusion, while inside the tricks continue with 4.7" more legroom and 2" more knee room.
The Range Rover maintains many of its 42- year-old features, such as the floating roof (now available in silver, black or body color), clamshell hood and split tailgate made from composite and with both sections powered. However, it gets funky new light systems, including headlight units that resemble a camera lens, complete with appropriate lettering.
The previous fender vents are no longer necessary so they’ve become a stylized graphic element on the doors. It provides a strong upright design cue that’s contrasted by the sweeping lines through the shoulder and along the bottom of the car to emphasize the length.
There are a total of 37 paint colors to choose from as well as two roof colors, eight wheel designs, a new panoramic roof (70% of Evoque customers specify this, it can hold three times the vehicle’s weight in a rollover), 17 interior color themes, three wood veneers and three headliner colors. This gives customers 18000 options for exterior and interior color and finish, meaning no two cars should be the same.
The new interior is significantly improved but retains the strong vertical and horizontal elements of the original. It has 50% less control buttons and switches, with pop-up rotary controllers for the gearshift and Terrain Response. There are also some interesting controls on the steering wheel, and paddle shifters behind it. You can even specify three rear seats or two individual ones divided by a center console.
To keep pace with the latest entertainment there are three levels of Meridian Audio including “Ultimate 3D” which features 29 speakers and 1700 watts of power.
To be honest, we’re only brushing the surface of the 52-page information document we received, so we’ll try to add more detail and impressions when we drive the car next month.