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Fourth-generation Range Rover unveiled

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The world's foremost luxury SUV has donned new clothes. The fourth-generation Range Rover bowed to the world press yesterday in a glittering ceremony at the The Royal Ballet School in Richmond, London that had Mark Knopfler regalling the crowd.

What seems to be the first all-aluminium SUV in the world, the Range Rover has shed some serious flab, while improving in other areas as well. Built in Solihull's plant in what's being termed as the world's largest aluminium body shop, the Range Rover will be sold in 170 markets as Land Rover hope to recreate the same kind of success that it's outgoing predecessor enjoyed.

Like its predecessor, the new Range Rover has a rather bold design that is designed to take the car even more upmarket. Measuring just under 5 metres, the Range Rover combines space with practicality in a luxurious package that has made it such a success for over 40 years. With lots of chrome, wood and high quality hide on the inside, the Range Rover hopes to extend the benchmark even further with its appointments, quality and features.

Weighing in some 350 kg less and being considerably stiffer, the all-aluminium body is the first for a Land Rover product as well. Taking a leaf from sister-concern Jaguar, the weight savings have been spread across the body, driveline and other major components. This has resulted in dramatic improvements in performance and reduction in CO2 figures. A new 255 bhp 3.0-litre TDV6 for instance performs just as well as the outgoing version's 4.4 TDV8 diesel with a weight saving of nearly 420 kg in this case. It means that the new RR TDV6 is 22 per cent more fuel efficient and produces just as less CO2 figures, bringing that number to 196 g/km. Other engine options include a 335 bhp SDV8 and a 505 bhp Supercharged V8 petrol for the moment. A diesel hybrid is also under development and will be launched next year and boasts of a CO2 figure that's a snip under 170 g/km.

A new generation Terrain Response System is also now part of the roster. With a two-speed transfer box and an intelligent 4WD system, the Range Rover continues to excel off-road while pampering its occupants some more. The wading depth for instance has improved by 200 mm to 900 mm while it can tow up to 3.5 tons without breaking into a sweat.

On the inside, occupants will now find a new 8-inch touch screen with better resolution and enhanced graphics, four-zone climate control, keyless entry, a Meridan sound system, mood LED lighting, soft-touch doors, powered upper and lower tailgates, surround camera system and lots, lots more.

Pricing for the new Range Rover is expected to climb by as much as 20 per cent as Land Rover intend to take the product to a new level as rivals from Maserati, Bentley and Aston Martin are already under development. The new Range Rover Sport will arrive by the second-half of 2013 and will be based on this very platform, extracting itself from the Discovery lineage. The Sport is expected to close the gap that will be left behind by the Range Rover.