Over the course of the past few years, I’ve opined that a return of Rover could be made to work if it were managed well, and the longship was attached to the right product. The funny thing is that, while I’ve not thought about it for a long time (especially since the marque effectively died in 2005 with the closure of MGR), it’s clear that someone’s been busy imagining Rover’s return.
Russian industrial designer Igor Krasnov has rendered these images of how we could imagine a saloon extension of the Range Rover brand working. Okay, it’s a long way from the small entry-level product to wear a Viking longship that many of us have dreamed about over the years (don’t believe me, type ‘AROnline Rover’s return‘ into Google to see what I mean), you have to say that his re-imagining of a saloon version of the Range Rover (without a hint of it being called a ‘Rover’ or a ‘Road Rover’) has something about it.
You can see more of Igor’s renderings of this design on his Instagram page, but I’ve pulled out these ones in particular because they show the Range Rover saloon the most clearly. The car comes across as a rather imposing rival to cars such as the Audi A8, Lexus LS and Mercedes-Benz S-Class, with its long wheelbase and overhangs and very traditional three-box shape. You could argue that the Jaguar XJ sat in that market sector successfully, but now as it’s about to become a fully-fledged EV big brother to the Jaguar I-Pace, and rival to the Tesla Model S could this be the thing we need to ferry about our ministers in?
Aside from the rather heavy-handed treatment of its roof around the rear three-quarters, this design works rather well. And, although I’m not sure Igor is that conversant with Rover history, it’s interesting that what he’s produced looks quite reminiscent of the ill-fated Rover P8, with a little of the last and, sadly, short-lived Saab 9-5 thrown in for good measure, a sort of latter-day Rover P5B. It might lack the elegance of the Rover 75 or the modernity of the Range Rover Evoque (which in my book would make a great modern-day Rover hatchback if lowered and turned into a car), but it’s brutally impressive and looks just about the most ‘British’ design I’ve seen in a long time.
Of course, Jaguar Land Rover has already flatly denied that it’s going to oversee the return of Rover. I do have it on good authority that every so often the idea is taken off the shelf, dusted off and looked at again with a view to its viability. But the result is always the same – Jaguar is Jaguar and Land Rover is doing very well with its Defender, Discovery and Range Rover lines. Adding to that is simply not needed in a world that’s turning its back on saloons and hatchbacks.
And, although I might not like that, I can see why. However, Jaguar land Rover has far from ruled out an extension of the Land Rover gene pool into the world of non-SUVs via its Range Rover brand. We shall see. Meanwhile, I do like this one (yeah, I’m a traditionalist at heart and love a good saloon) and can see this being rather adept at being pushed into ministerial duties instead of a rather rakish Jaguar or boxy Range Rover SUV – yes, I do like to dream, and the thought of something genuinely new like this would be genuinely exciting.
What do you think?