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Range Rover (2012) - project L405 sheds its disguise

By Tim Pollard

Spy shots

23 February 2012 15:18

The countdown to the launch of the new 2012 Range Rover is definitely on - and the disguise is steadily peeling away from the prototypes testing across the UK, and indeed the world.

The new Range Rover is surely the most scooped car of the moment, with sightings on an almost daily basis by readers and professional spies alike. Still, it's been a few weeks since we last posted spyshots of the new Rangie, and these ones are definitely in more production-ready form.

Click here to see the new 2012 Range Rover spy video.

Range Rover (2012): the disguise falls away

We take these new scoop photos as proof that the new Range Rover will not merely be a squashed Range Rover Evoque, as others predicted.

Some of the jewellery and details may be redolent of the Evoque, once that disguise is fully removed for sure, but the new 2012 Range Rover will retain all its regal status, according to those in the know.

In fact, managing editor Greg Fountain saw these photos and mused how silly it was that Land Rover even bother to add the look-at-me disguise. 'If this didn't have zebra stripe on it, I'm not sure I'd even notice it was the new Range Rover,' he said this afternoon.

Which just goes to show how closely the designers are following the spirit of the Range Rover family, if not the detail. The details will surely be all-new, design director Gerry McGovern telling us to expect a high degree of luxury touches.

Gerry McGovern on the new 2012 Range Rover

In an earlier interview with CAR, McGovern told us: 'When it comes to sustainability, people talk about weight and technology, but when they see a big vehicle they instantly think that's bad. What I'm looking at is how you can pare the visual robustness down to get the right visual balance, to the point where it doesn't look overtly large, but it doesn't look anorexic either.

'One of the things we have said we're looking at from an engineering and packaging perspective with the next Range Rover is optimising the package to get better legroom in the back. The natural thing to do is grow the H points [where the occupants' bum sits] and grow what goes round it. And then actually wouldn't it be nice with a longer tail? Well then you start to get a much bigger vehicle. We ain't going there, we don't want our vehicles to be any bigger.'

So expect the new 2012 Range Rover to be less bulky - helped no end by the new aluminium architecture which underpins it, and future big Land Rover products. Weight is said to tumble from around 2.8 tonnes to nearer two.

Naturally, the Range Rover will remain four-wheel drive - this is no Freelander - but the engine tech will be considerably cleverer. Hybrids are coming by 2013-14, but the majority of engines will be V6 and V8 petrol and diesel.

It's not all downsizing, either. We hear an increased capacity V8 is being investigated at the R&D base in the Midlands for power-crazed countries where fuel prices matter less.