Forty years on, the latest Range Rover is like a Bentley that can go anywhere! It has become much more luxurious inside, but offers a go-anywhere capability that other luxury sedans cannot even dream of. It is much more ecologically correct without losing out on the things that rich fat cats around the world are accustomed to. The new Rangie was unveiled in the UK in early September and India is scheduled to get it by the end of the year. With competition like the Mercedes-Benz GL, Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne, it was not easy for the last-gen Rangie. But this one? See for yourself.
1. Evolution not Evoqution
All the classic design cues are present and accounted for: the clamshell bonnet, the floating roof (with different colour options), split tailgate and the side vents – oh, but the latter now is just a design flourish on the door rather than functioning vents on the fender. But it’s clear that the design is an evolution – Land Rover has played it safe with its flagship SUV. If you want something funky, then there’s always the Evoque, right?
2. Let’s do lounge
It’s longer by 27 mm, but the wheelbase has gone up by 42 mm and leg room and knee room are up by 118 mm and 50 mm respectively. What, however, is important for us in India is that Land Rover is not denying the possibility of making a long wheelbase version of the new Rangie. For us backseat regulars (and, of course, the Chinese and the West Asians), this can be a good deal.
3. Switch off
Inside, the big story is that there are half as many switches as before. In keeping with Apple-like simplicity, the buttons and switches have been consolidated. Now that’s something no one can argue with. Of course, it reeks of British craftsmanship. And comes with a humongous choice of interior fitments.
4. Quite quiet
It’s all about being hush-hush inside. To cut down on noise levels, dual-isolated engine mounts on the diesels have been put into service. A special acoustic lamination has been applied on most of the glass surfaces while the aluminium body structure has been optimised to offer refinement. Plus, sound-absorbing foam ducts have been incorporated in the HVAC system instead of hard plastic, and the air suspension compressor has been mounted on the main vehicle battery, which ostensibly damps unwanted vibrations.
5. Taking it lightly
The new Rangie is the world’s first SUV with an all-aluminium monocoque body structure – which is lighter than the previous steel monocoque by a whopping 180 kilos. As an aside, Land Rover says that the smaller Audi Q5’s body structure is heavier by 85 kg while the new BMW 3 Series’ body is 23 kg heavier. Overall, the TDV6 version is lighter than its predecessor by a massive 420 kilos. All this, of course, means a host of benefits in terms of fuel efficiency, safety, comfort and dynamics. The structural stiffness has improved considerably and the joints are put together using aircraft-grade adhesive and self-piercing rivets. Land Rover says that its aluminium body manufacturing facility is the largest of its kind in the world. It also helps that Jaguars use aluminium extensively!
6. Suspended animation
Ah, but that’s not all when it comes to its aluminium bits. The front and rear subframes are aluminium – it’s a first for Land Rover. Double wishbones at the front and a multi-link setup at the rear and, of course, four-corner fifth-generation air suspension do duty in the new Rangie. Wheel travel is substantial – 260 mm at the front and 310 mm at the rear, as compared to the competition, which offers less than 200 mm, according to the company. The full-time intelligent 4WD system features a 50/50 torque split and a two-speed transfer box with low-range. An active rear locking differential is also available as an option on V8 versions.
7. Ready for taking on Mumbai roads!
Terrain Response 2 makes its debut. The regular operating modes are present, while over and above that an Auto Mode has been introduced. It takes into consideration factors like ambient temp, engine torque, transmission gear, suspension travel and altitude to determine where you’re going. Then it decides and tells everyone what to do – transfer case, tranny, torque delivery, ABS, traction control and you. Yes, it recommends what mode you should be in! Also, by repositioning the air intake system to the top of the front fenders, wading depth is now up from 200 mm to 900 mm. See, we told you.
8. Take it for grunted
An 8-speed ZF box is common to the engine variants. Top-of-the-line is the 503 bhp 5.0-litre supercharged V8 petrol with 63.7 kgm of torque. This does the 0-100 kph dash in 5.4 blistering seconds. The same normally aspirated version of this V8 offers 370 bhp and 52 kgm, and takes 6.8 seconds to attain the century mark. Two diesels are on offer. The 4.4-litre TDV8, with 334 bhp and a whopping 71.3 kgm takes 6.9 seconds to 100 kph, while the entry-level 3.0 TDV6, with 254 bhp and 61 kgm, does the same in 7.9 seconds. What’s important is that next year, the new Rangie will be the first Land Rover to come with a hybrid option. This parallel hybrid, which has a 67 hp Li-ion battery in conjunction with the TDV6, will offer around 333 bhp and will be able to do the 0-100 kph dash in under 7 seconds. Oh, it promises to offer 16 kpl. And will not lose any of the go-anywhere attributes of the RR.
9. Brains behind the brawn
The Adaptive Cruise Control has the perfect feature for Indian traffic – Queue Assist! Then of course there is Blind Spot Monitoring, Closing Vehicle Sensing and reversing cameras. Plus there is the Adjustable Speed Limiter Device, Surround Camera System with T-junction view, trailer reverse and trailer hitch guidance and Park Assist, which will be a hit with the women. Couldn’t resist that one.
10. Green brownie points
Sustainability is a big thing with LR. Over 50 per cent of the aluminium and 34 kg of the plastics used in the new car are recycled, while 85 per cent of the Range Rover can be recycled at the end of its life. Even the leather comes from a supplier famous for its sustainable manufacturing processes.