JLR has introduced the first of its all-new inline six-cylinder Ingenium powertrains to the world with the Range Rover Sport HST. The 3.0-litre petrol-burning unit is built in Wolverhampton and is equipped with both an electric supercharger and the 48V architecture needed to power it. The engine produces 400hp, and, just as importantly, is said to offer much smoother performance than the venerable Ford-sourced V6 it replaces. In time, it will be rolled out across much of the JLR range - but for now, it's exclusive to the HST.
The new Ingenium-branded six-pot - which delivers a rather healthy 406lb ft of torque - also qualifies as a mild hybrid thanks to its pairing with an electric motor, which is capable of assisting when pulling away from a standing start. Charge for the motor is delivered by the larger battery, which itself harvests energy from regenerative braking. This all reduces the workload of the eight-speed automatic and is said to make progress all the more effortless.
As you'll have deduced from that headline advancement, JLR's new engine is at least as concerned with efficiency as it is with outright power - meaning that direct comparisons with the 3.0-litre inline-six just introduced with the latest BMW X3 M and X4 M are somewhat redundant. Still, the HST has enough grunt to accelerate from zero to 62mph in 6.2 seconds and onto a top speed of 140mph should you request it. More importantly for this sector, it's claimed to offer 30.5mpg economy and emits 213g/km of CO2. Impressive for a car of its size.
The rest of the technical list is as you'd expect because it's unchanged from the non-electrified car. There are air springs with active dampers to control the body and the full breadth of Land Rover's off-road tech armoury, meaning the HST ought to be no worse on the rough stuff than its more conventional brethren. In fact, it's feasible that all that instantaneous torque might give it an advantage.
There are a few bespoke additions to set the new model apart from the rest of the range, but, aside from the badges, you'd have to be a real Range Rover Sport boffin to notice that the carbon trim on the bonnet is new and the upholstery pattern inside is changed. Still, it's all lovely stuff, and JLR's latest dual-screen infotainment and digital instrument cluster certainly don't want for pizzazz.
All in, the new HST costs £81,250, which puts it in the upper realms of the Sport line-up. However, since JLR has ambitions of electrifying its whole range in coming years, expect the electrified tech featured here to slowly work its way down to other models - including, we should add, the hot stuff, where the electric gubbins will be there to specifically enhance performance.
For now, the roll-out of JLR's in-house developed Ingenium engines ought to come as a welcome relief from reporting declining global sales. As diesel demand continues to slow, electrified powertrains will certainly be crucial to turning the ship - and with that in mind, don't expect to have to wait too long before the next model receives its own iteration of the same tech...