LAND ROVER has revealed its fifth-generation Range Rover, with a refreshed exterior design, ultra-luxury non-leather interiors, new technology including headrest speakers, upgraded air suspension, all-wheel steering, up to seven seats and an all-new platform designed to take petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid and pure-electric powertrains.
Regarded by many as the benchmark luxury SUV, the Range Rover has been around for 50 years and the new one is claimed to raise its game in every area.
Priced from £94,400 for the D300 diesel, it’s built on the company’s ‘MLA Flex’ platform that has been created to cater for electrification. The full battery-electric version won’t be available from launch, however; it is expected to arrive in 2024.
For now, there will be regular petrol and diesel versions, plus plug-in hybrids with emissions as low as 30g/km and the ability to travel up to 62 miles in electric-only mode — a significant increase on the cirac-25 miles offered by the current Range Rover PHEV and Range Rover Sport PHEV, as well as the updated-for-2021 Bentley Bentayga, which offers 31 miles of electric power.
There is a big change to the flagship V8 model, too, as Land Rover will use BMW’s twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre engine for the first time. Nick Rogers, director of engineering at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), confirmed that the two companies worked together to develop the engine so that it would suit a number of JLR models, including the new Range Rover.
Available in short- or long wheelbase configurations, the new generation is the first to be available with up to seven seats, and also for the first time the long-wheelbase version will be available as a five-seater.
As with the current Range Rover, there is also the option of a luxury four-seat LWB version. The Signature Suite in the SV model will offer a business class experience for passengers, including a full-length centre console containing a table that emerges at the touch of a button.
The 1,600w Meridian sound system is used for “next-generation” noise-cancelling to reduce engine, wind and tyre noise inside the cabin, while integrated headrest speakers in the four main seats improves audio clarity.
A wider choice of materials and finishes are available for the interior, including innovative non-leather wool-blend textiles and “Ultrafabrics” that are lighter and generate only a quarter of the CO2 of traditional leather during production.
Buyers can also order new tailgate ‘event seating’ that allows them to sit on the rear deck at school rugby games, for example.
The back of the Range Rover features a significant piece of technology, including a number of the 125 patents that have been registered for the new model. That tech is the rear lighting that is hidden behind a completely dark panel when not needed. The engineers have created a system where LEDs face into the car towards a series of mirrors that then reflect the light with enough intensity to shine through a plastic panel sufficiently to meet legal standards.
It’s all part of a design that JLR’s design director Massimo Frascella says conveys four key elements: modernism, integrity, purpose and desirability.
The overriding theme was to “remove the noise”, part of a reductionist strategy to make the design of JLR vehicles look clean and modern. That’s true inside too where Frascella says it is all too easy these days to just throw technology at things.
Instead, the surfaces are uncluttered with fewer lines and buttons, partly because many controls are in the cureved 13.1in Pivi Pro infotainment screen that is now also integrated with Amazon’s Alexa.
Not surprisingly, Frascella says that design is a key factor in why people will want the new Range Rover, even going as far as to say that people these days want a Range Rover not because of what it is capable of (particularly off-road), but simply because they see it and just have to have it.
The engineers might disagree because they have worked on ensuring the Range Rover’s capability is enhanced. The body structure is made from 80% aluminium and is 50% stiffer than the previous generation’s.
The wheelbase of all models is 70mm longer, it has 295mm ground clearance and the air suspension can rise up by 145mm to climb over obstacles. It also features four-wheel steering for improved manoeuvrability at low speed and stability at high speed.
It can wade through water 900mm deep and takes the Terrain Response 2 System from the current Land Rover Defender.
It also has Integrated Chassis Control, which uses live data to predict conditions almost two miles down the road and set the car up accordingly.
Whether it’s for the design, capability or just because people have to have it, expect to see lots of new Range Rovers on the road when deliveries begin in Spring 2022.
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