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Wednesday 15th August 2012


NEW RANGE ROVER - OFFICIAL PICS

All-new fourth-gen Range Rover breaks cover ahead of official Paris debut


Off the back of news that Evoque-inspired demand has now got the Halewood plant working 24-hour shifts to keep up with demand official pictures of the all-new Range Rover have been released. This, at least, should put an end to all those 'cripes, just seen a disguised new Range Rover!' tweets. You and the rest of Warwickshire, my man.

Proportions are familiar, if stretched
Proportions are familiar, if stretched
With sales soaring and nearly 80 per cent of production exported overseas the folks at Land Rover must be feeling pretty pleased with themselves already. Will their grins be even bigger now the disguises can come off and, as of early next year, this new beast goes on sale?

Well, it's certainly supersized. And suitably imposing, an Evoque-esque front end treatment melding into more traditional Range Rover proportions, albeit stretched and teased in seemingly every direction. The trademark floating roof, a prominent belt-line and even more prominent side gills complete the look, the new fourth-gen Rangie making a decided move to new-money bling distinct from the outgoing L322's more stolid, blocky conservatism.

Choice of terrain for this picture speaks volumes
Choice of terrain for this picture speaks volumes
Signs of what was coming were obvious in the last facelift for the long-running L322, now more than a decade old but still going strong and pulling in the sales. A 'Sport style grille treatment gave the old stager a bit of a freshen up but it's clear the all-new Range Rover was going to move the game on considerably and so it does.

Biggest news is a wholesale adoption of aluminium and corresponding 420kg weight saving over the outgoing car. There's no information in the initial teaser release about the overall dimensions but even so it's obvious from these pictures that the new Rangie is much longer. Indeed, we'd take a punt on the boast of an additional 118mm of legroom corresponding with an equivalent stretch in wheelbase, this extra length freeing up space for a variety of different rear seating arrangements ranging from a confirmed two-seat 'Executive Class' configuration to, we'd assume, school run friendly seven-seater set-up. If you're going to use it as a school bus it may as well be as big as one...

Evoque inspired front end the biggest departure
Evoque inspired front end the biggest departure
Familiar JLR engines - supercharged V8 petrol and V6 and V8 diesels driving through, you'd assume, the latest eight-speed auto - aside it's an all-new platform. Which you'd have to expect, given how long they've had to come up with it. There's new suspension architecture front and back, air sprung again, delivering what Land Rover describes as "flatter, more confident cornering, with natural and intuitive steering feel" and combining improved comfort with increased agility. It'll do the off-road thing too of course, assisted by a new Terrain Response 2 Auto.

Who are they trying to kid though. With prices likely to be knocking on the door of six figures for higher-spec models it's clear the Range Rover has taken a decided move upmarket, with aspirations to mix it more in the Bentley Flying Spur and Rolls-Royce Ghost circles rather than the hoi polloi of Q7s, Cayennes and fancier X-series BMWs. Only the refreshed Mercedes GL really threatens on size and stature but, even then, the Range Rover appears to be staking a claim on a new class of uber SUV, ahead of Bentley's arrival in the not too distant.

Big step up in space and quality inside
Big step up in space and quality inside
No surprise there either. British designed and British built it may be but the Range Rover is clearly less suited to our roads than it is those of cash-rich markets with an appetite for British-built luxury motors and unabashed bigger/blingier is better sensibilities. In short, if you're offended just think of the balance of payments, jobs for the boys in Solihull at the new aluminium production plant and other positives. And pray you don't meet one coming the other way on a crowded suburban street.

Orders open next month, deliveries start in early 2013 and further details will follow closer to the official debut at Paris at the end of September.

Author: Dan Trent
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