Land Rover vows its proposed LRX coupé will beat Europe’s tough CO2 emissions targets, thanks to a diesel hybrid powertrain announced today. The company unveiled the LRX concept car, and confirmed that the firm is working on a 2.0-litre diesel hybrid for the LRX and Freelander. The hybrid LRX is claimed to emit 120g/km of CO2, meeting the European Union’s proposed CO2 target. Drivers could expect to get an economical 55mpg, too.
Land Rover boss Phil Popham told CAR Online: ‘The LRX is desirable and it’s got to be sustainable – this could be an environmental breakthrough for an SUV.’
LRX: here in 2010
The LRX hybrid is up to four years away, assuming the concept car gets the green light by Land Rover’s new owners, set to be India’s Tata Group. The regular LRX is likely to be in production earlier, around 2010, with diesel, petrol and high-performance versions planned. Popham stressed that the 4x4 is a plausible ‘concept’ rather than a flight-of-fancy ‘show car’, and the car is based on consumer research and has already faced potential customers.
The LRX might be shorter and less tall than a Freelander, but it would not have a smaller price tag. ‘We believe the LRX would appeal to a young, affluent audience. It’s a premium flagship for the brand – think of it as doing for Land Rover what the TT did for Audi.’
What’s under the skin?
The LRX would share components with the Freelander. To reduce carbon emissions, the 4x4 concept car runs solely on electric power at up to 20mph, and an integrated starter generator shuts down the engine when idle. The hybrid system also improves the LRX’s off-road credentials, by providing an instant slug of torque from standstill to maintain momentum in taxing conditions.
Land Rover got the short straw at Detroit, landing Sunday’s final press conference slot at 5.50pm. But a decent crowd stuck around to watch the LRX unveiled before a bus-sized flat-screen TV – a testament to the lure of the Land Rover brand, and the desirability of this wedgy 4x4.
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CAR rating: 5/5