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Land Rover, the specialist four-wheel drive manufacturer, today
(Thursday September 29) announces the launch of an all-new luxury
Range Rover to be sold in all major markets around the world.
The new luxury flagship model not only surpasses the current Range
Rover's legendary off-road capability, but also has greatly improved
on-road ride and handling characteristics to compete with the world's
best luxury cars.
The original Range Rover, launched 1970, has gained a worldwide
reputation for its classic and elegant style. It is the only vehicle
in the world to have been exhibited in Le Louvre in Paris as a work of
In response to customers' wishes, the design team for the new Range
Rover have adopted an evolutionary approach, retaining many of the key
styling features of the classic model. The commanding driving
position, distinctive bonnet and front end, the large glass areas, and
the split tailgate, have all been retained for the new model.
The new Range Rover is slightly larger than the original with more
headroom, more legroom, a larger rear seat compartment, and 50 percent
more luggage space. Burr walnut and leather are included in the
interior to give refinement, comfort and luxury.
The new model is available with three new engines. Diesel versions
are powered by a derivative of BMW's widely acclaimed 2.5 litre turbo
charged and intercooled six cylinder power unit which has been
specially developed for Range Rover.
Land Rover's world-renowned V8 has been totally re-designed and
re-built. It is now available in the new Range Rover in a 4.0 litre
version or in a powerful 4.6 litre unit giving world-class
The 4.6 litre unit takes the new Range Rover from 0-60 mph in 9.3
seconds and a top speed of 125 mph. It produces 225 bhp and 280 lb ft
Land Rover engineers have designed a totally new ladder-frame chassis,
new front and rear suspension, and new beam axles to give the new
Range Rover outstanding on-road and off-road performance.
Automatic versions feature a revolutionary new H-gate system -
developed by Land Rover engineers - to enable the driver to operate
all high range and low range functions with one lever.
The new Range Rover has a host of features as standard including twin
airbags, side impact beams, electronic air suspension, advanced
anti-lock braking, and a remotely controlled anti-theft system.
There are three models in the range starting with 4.0 V8 or 2.5 diesel
versions, followed by SE derivatives in petrol or diesel, leading to
the flagship HSE model with the 4.6 V8 engine.
The new Range Rover, the result of a 300 million investment programme,
is aimed at not only traditional loyal customers, but also at people
who buy other luxury models and luxury performance cars.
Design and Development
In the late 1980's Land Rover designers were given a clean sheet of
paper on which to start the design of a brand new Range Rover. They
were faced with a dilemma - should the new Range Rover be a
revolutionary step forward in design like the old Range Rover, or
should it be an evolutionary design change in keeping with the
After a few concepts had been produced it became clear that in order
to develop a new Range Rover the designers would have to take a number
of styling cues from the original classic vehicle. They were very
conscious that Range Rover customers are an extremely loyal group, and
over the years market research has shown they would be reluctant to
accept major changes in exterior styling.
There were a number of key styling and design cues which had to be
followed from the original Range Rover to appeal to both existing
customers and new customers from the luxury car and sports car
Commanding Driving Position
One of the features regarded as important to customers is the
traditional commanding driving position. The design of the new
vehicle had to incorporate this sense of security.
The roof on the Range Rover appears to be floating because it is not
supported by body colour pillars but by distinctive, black pillars
which help give Range Rover its tough 4 x 4 appearance.
The deep glass area of the current Range Rover gives the vehicle a low
waist line and therefore exceptionally good visibility for both driver
and rear seat passengers. The glass area gives passengers a feeling
that they are sitting high up in the vehicle - rather than reclining
into the vehicle - and in particular gives the driver a feeling that
he or she is in a commanding driving position.
The wrap-over bonnet on the Range Rover and the castle features on the
front edge of the bonnet, developed on the original Range Rover to
give strength to retain the wing mirrors, give an aura of toughness to
the vehicle from the side view. The castle features also are useful
when manoeuvring because the front corners of the vehicle are clearly
The E Pillar on Range Rover is very distinctive and its angle
contributes to the unique appearance of the vehicle. It was clear to
the designers that they would have to retain the distinctiveness of
the E Pillar, particularly from the side elevation, to prevent the new
model looking like an estate car.
Two Piece Tailgate
It was essential to retain the two piece tailgate which customers feel
is an essential part of Range Rover's convenience and character. They
use it both as a viewing platform and for picnics.
Straight Feature Lines
The straight feature lines which run from the bonnet along the front
and rear doors to the tailgate give balance and a sense of proportion
to the existing Range Rover. Any attempt to introduce stepped feature
lines, or wedge lines, would detract from the classic Range Rover
appearance and make the new Range Rover look too much like a
Close Wheel Cuts
Some four wheel drive vehicles have wide apertures around the wheels
coupled with large wheel arches. Range Rover, even with its excellent
axle articulation, has very close wheel cuts giving the vehicle status
At the Land Rover Design Studio in Solihull, the overall approach was
to create a new Range Rover which would be instantly recognised as a
Range Rover but would also be more modern looking. Some of the edges
would be rounder to soften the square appearance of the classic model.
It was also vital to retain the elegance of the vehicle and at the
same time develop an exterior styling that would retain its appeal
into the next century.
The front of the new Range Rover follows the traditional Range Rover
with a black grille widening out to headlamps with directional
indicators on the outside. The spoiler houses the auxiliary lamps.
On the new Range Rover the traditional 7" round headlights appeared
too small. It was decided to select rectangular lights with
twin-pocket round reflectors copying Range Rover's round lamps and
strengthening the appearance of the vehicle. The introduction of new
unique chunky wiper arms on the square headlights added to the
strength of the appearance of the new Range Rover as well as being
The designers decided that a steeply raked front windscreen would have
been out of character with the traditional Range Rover. The new Range
Rover has a 54 degree rake which maintains the commanding driving
position and improves aerodynamic performance.
The aerodynamics are further enhanced by an increased tumblehome which
also gives the vehicle a more modern exterior shape. Its drag
co-efficient (Cd) has been measured at 0.38 and is believed to be the
best figure of any four-wheel drive off-road vehicle.
The design intent of the new Range Rover's interior was that it should
be a viable alternative to a luxury car. It was also important to
retain the benefits of the existing Range Rover interior which
primarily concern visibility from inside the vehicle and the height of
the seats and seat positions.
The fascia has been designed in ash grey to complement all trim levels
and to combine luxury car cues with a 4 x 4 toughness and
It had always been the intention to carry over the use of wood and
leather in the interior of the Range Rover and this has been
introduced extensively in top-of-the-range derivatives.
Another aim was to ensure that all the instrumentation was
ergonomically practical. The switchgear was divided into primary and
secondary categories with all the primary switchgear within easy reach
of the driver, and secondary switchgear positioned slightly further
The layout of the switchgear for the electric windows was positioned
in the centre console area by the handbrake to carry on the tradition
from the original Range Rover.
A four-spoke steering wheel incorporating cruise control and ICE
controls on some models, has been designed to include the driver's
airbag, and the rim section has been designed for comfortable use.
For example, it is easier for the driver to rest his thumbs on the
outside of the rim for comfortable off-road driving.
The front seats have further improved the traditional Range Rover
armchair comfort, and the extra width of the vehicle means that there
is more shoulder room for driver and front passenger.
The extra length of the vehicle compared to the classic Range Rover,
provides more leg room for rear seat passengers giving luxury and
comfort to the businessman who wants to be chauffeured. The rear seat
is no longer over the wheel arch so seating three passengers in the
rear is much more comfortable.
Luggage space is also improved, not only because of the extra length
and width of the new Range Rover, but also because the spare wheel has
been removed from the luggage area into a position under the load
Lower seat belt mounts are attached to the rear seat providing a clean
DEVELOPMENT AND TESTING
Range Rover's off-road capability and ability to operate in extreme
climatic conditions is legendary. The new Range Rover, equipped with
both V8 4.0 and 4.6 petrol, and 2.5 diesel engines was put through
some of the most punishing test procedures in the world to prove its
toughness and durability.
Petrol Range Rovers are designed to operate in temperatures up to 52
degrees Centigrade and down to minus 30 degrees Centigrade - standards
far more stringent than those for conventional cars.
Cold Environmental Testing (CET)
The main purpose is to ensure that all components operate in the most
severe winter conditions. In Alaska, for example, Range Rovers were
left overnight with their bonnets open in conditions of minus 40
degrees Centigrade to reduce coolant and oil temperatures. At dawn
Land Rover engineers then plugged in their recording equipment and
carried out cold start tests followed by extreme acceleration and
Engines on CET tests were run for 20,000 miles in sub-zero
temperatures to ensure the Range Rovers can operate continuously in
extreme winter conditions. Anti-lock brakes and electronic traction
control were tested on frozen lakes in Sweden.
Hot Environmental Testing (HET)
Range Rovers were driven at maximum speed in temperatures over 40
degrees Centigrade in the hot Arizona desert and in the Middle East to
ensure they could withstand the world's hottest conditions. The
vehicle's components and trim were also thoroughly tested. (For
example, the vehicles were subjected to hot desert sunlight to ensure
the trim was not affected by UV light and heat).
New Range Rovers were driven hour after hour in the Colorado mountains
at heights up to 14,000 feet on the world's highest roads. The Range
Rovers were tested pulling large one tonne trailers.
Some of the world's dustiest roads were used to test for ingress. For
mile after mile new Range Rovers closely followed other vehicles with
equipment designed to throw up a continuous cloud of dust.
Some of the most extreme off-road driving conditions exist in the
5,000 acres of the Eastnor Castle estates in Herefordshire, England.
Driving on rough, steep tracks results in mud plastering the
under-bonnet area of the vehicle with the result that the mud sets
like concrete around the engine.
New Range Rovers have been driven for thousands of hours around the
Eastnor estates to check the durability of the engines in extreme
conditions and in particular the operation of pulleys, belts and
The tests at Eastnor also involved wading tests to ensure that the new
Range Rover can be driven in water at depths of 20 inches with the new
BMW engine or the new V8 engines.
Other off-road testing included driving in sand in the Middle East and
driving on dirt roads and rocky river beds in North America.
Both V8 engines and the BMW diesel engine have been subjected to Land
Rover's unique off-road tilt test. No other manufacturer in the world
uses such an extreme test.
The objective of the test is to ensure that engines can operate in the
most extreme off-road conditions and that oil supply and pressure
operates correctly at extreme angles.
Engines are tested at varying angles of up to 45 degrees nose up and
nose down, with a tilt of up to 35 degrees either side.
The engines undergo tests for 25 hours at each of the four extremes at
maximum power and maximum torque.
Land Rover operates a 900 hour durability test where engines are run
on test beds at maximum power and torque.
The unique test specification cycle involves 25 minutes at maximum
power, followed by 5 minutes at idle speed, 25 minutes at maximum
torque, and 5 minutes at idle. It is then repeated.