Land Rover has revealed our first official glimpse at the new Range Rover, its first all-new iteration in nearly eight years. The importance of the new model cannot be overstated, as while Defender sales are doing very well for the brand, its fiscal stability relies on the Range Rover, and its sales in markets like the USA and China.
Given the current generation’s success it’s unlikely that Range Rover will take the new one far from its comfort zone aesthetically, focusing on changes under the skin. This will start with its powertrains, as the new model’s development has had to branch out in two directions that appeal to different customers from very different markets.
Hybridisation is to be one of these, bringing down the on-paper emissions for markets that have already seen marked changes in buying behaviours around sustainability and efficiency. Range Rover already offers a plug-in hybrid variant in the current generation, so we expect this powertrain to be updated significantly, joining an array of mild-hybrid options using JLR’s new Ingenium straight-six petrol and diesel.
At the other end of the spectrum, customers wanting more performance will also need to be catered for, which is where rumours of a BMW engine deal could eventually be substantiated. We expect that the charismatic, but ancient AJ V8, will be replaced with BMW’s far more high-tech 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged unit. As well as producing more power while using less fuel in standard form, the engine’s hot-V layout and future applications of its own hybrid assistance will give Land Rover more options in future applications, especially as emissions regulations get squeezed further over the next decade or so.
To facilitate this new powertrain tech, Land Rover will build its new Range Rover on an new aluminium-intensive platform called MLA that will go on to underpin a variety of models across the Land Rover and Jaguar portfolio. Defined by a longitudinal engine layout, yet with the ability to support a full EV powertrain too, the new platform has been designed to reduce weight as much as possible, while being easier and more cost-effective to modularise between a wider variety of models.
Land Rover’s teaser itself is little more than a blurry image of the new car’s side profile, but from what we can see it looks unlikely the design will undergo a big transformation, with Land Rover design director Gerry McGovern also alluding to the aesthetic being more measured and evolutionary in its approach. This can be seen in the familiar silhouette and floating roof that has been reinterpreted once again for this next generation. Where we do expect to see updates are the details, with slimmed LED lighting, flush door handles and a focus on reducing visual clutter.
Another take-away from the teaser image, and the prototypes that have been spotted over the last 18 months, is that the Range Rover will also feature a longer wheelbase and shorter rear overhang. This will have multiple benefits, unlocking more rear seat space and improving departure angles when off-roading. A long-wheelbase variant will also join the range.
The interior will see more of a marked change, with Land Rover’s next-generation tech integrated into an all-new interior design. Interior space should grow – although the current generation model is hardly lacking in occupant accomodation – and also expect Land Rover’s colour and trim departments to move the game further too, introducing new materials and textures that will push a reinterpretation of traditional British luxury.
The good news is that we won’t have to wait long to see the final product up close, with the model set to be revealed next week, and sales commencing sometime early next year. Being a key element of Land Rover’s fiscal performance, we suspect that it’ll waste no time getting the Range Rover to customers, with the smaller Range Rover Sport only a few months behind.