On the eve of the Paris Motorshow (Sept 29-Oct 14), the new Range Rover has been grabbing most of the headlines.
This is the car that’s been dragging Land Rover steadily upmarket for the past 42 years and it seems there remains some distance to go. Land Rover’s hope is that the new car will attract not only those who have traditionally chosen Range Rovers, but an entirely new clientele of ultra-rich customers happy to pay well over £100,000 for an SUV.
It’s a market soon to be swamped with choices from the likes of Bentley, Lamborghini, Maserati and even Aston Martin, possibly using the Lagonda brand name.
Can a Range Rover possibly command such a stage? As part of the run-out for the previous model, but also to test the water, Land
Rover produced an ‘Autobiography Ultimate Edition’ and put it on the market at £125,000, the first time any Land Rover had sold for six figures. As Land Rover boss John Edwards now freely admits, he was nervous, but without any need. Every one was snapped up, almost at once.
The new car is built around an all-new aluminium monocoque so light it’s reported as being a mere 12kg heavier than the shell of a MINI Countryman. No wonder the new car weighs up to 420kg less than the outgoing model.
The car, says Land Rover, will be more luxurious, quiet and refined yet paradoxically, a far more capable off-roader, with greater ground clearance, wading ability, more wheel travel and more sophisticated electronics. Engines will include modified versions of the V8 petrol and diesels seen in the previous car, but the big seller is likely to be a new V6 diesel providing the same performance as the old V8, but with drastically lower fuel consumption thanks to the reduced weight.