So, the darling of the UK motor industry, Land Rover, has finally revealed full details of its flagship, the fourth generation Range Rover. As expected, the latest Rangie majors on luxury, now being thought of in terms as a credible all-round rival to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Audi A8. As well as, of course, the Jaguar XJ. The 2013 car may look similar to the brilliant 2001 L322, but it’s a revolution on the road – without compromising off it.
The biggest news is that the 2013 Range Rover benefits from its all-aluminium chassis, to lose 420kg. Despite being lighter, the bonded and riveted chassis and bodyframe are significantly stiffer than before, with all the benefits that come from improved torsional rigidity. Efficiency from the drivetrains adds to the mix, too – the Range Rover’s engines are smaller, but the biggest news is that Land Rover has confirmed that a hybrid variant is definitely on the way.
The parallel hybrid is based on the new 3.0-litre diesel V6, and the diesel-electric relies on a ZF eight-speed automatic (as does the rest of the range), but its transmission integrates an electric motor. The 1.7-kWh battery pack low is mounted low in the chassis, but it’s protected by a boron steel cradle, so no damage to lithium-ion cells when green-laning. Wading depth is also unaffected by the hybrid powertrain. Land Rover claims the system is good for 333bhp and the 0-60mph is under seven seconds.
The 5.0-litre V8 will be available in both naturally aspirated and supercharged forms – the standard car produces 375bhp, with the supercharged car upping that to 510bhp – enough for a 5.1-second 0-60mph dash. But in the UK and Europe, it’s the diesels that will sell in the majority. The new 3.0-litre V6 diesel pushes out 254bhp and 442lb ft, while the 4.4-litre develops 334bhp and 516lb ft.
The 2013’s cabin is cleanly-styled and is claimed to have 50% less switchgear, along with a new panoramic sunroof for an airier interior. It’s roomier too with 4in of more rear legroom, as well as much lower levels of noise when driving at speed. Still, if you want to drown out all that silence, you can enjoy the 29-speaker, 1700-watt Meridian sound system.
The Range Rover can still off-road with the best of them – even if most owners will choose not to take advantage of this. Its wading depth is up 20 percent to over 35in thanks to specially conceived ‘labyrinth’ air intake vents hidden under the clamshell bonnet, and the suspension system has an off-road ride height of 11.9in.
But it’s still the weight loss that is the biggest news – and it’s through this that so much new ability is brought to the Range Rover. Is it the best all-rounder produced by the British car industry? As a money-no-object purchase, we don’t doubt it. Now it’s up to Jaguar to build an even more desirable luxury all-rounder…