It looks like a minor model year facelift for Land Rover's range-topper, the Range Rover, but this 2010 iteration is claimed to boast 1420 new tooled parts on the car. And that doesn't include the powertrain, of which there's a clever-clogs new supercharged V8.
The new Range Rover heads up a trio of renewed Land Rovers – and it'll arrive in August 2009, a few weeks before the similarly refreshed Discovery 4 and Range Rover Sport. All three are being unveiled today at the New York auto show.
How on earth do you make the Range Rover more luxurious?
Engineers claim they've reduced wind and powertrain noise, thanks to new soundproofing, improved mechanical refinement and new materials (that optional full hide interior and headlining must be pretty noise-absorbing).
Sean Henstridge, lead exterior designer for the Range Rover, told CAR they'd tried to 'refine' the design of the regal Rangey. 'We've made the bumpers smoother and moved the foglamps lower down and put them in accented bezels,' he said. 'And the new grille has the three-bar graphic, which is repeated in the indicators.
'One of the more noticeable changes is the new headlamps – they're more three-dimensional, with a double interlocking design and surrounded by a ring of LEDs.'
Inside the new Range Rover 2010
Clamber inside the new Range Rover and you'll be struck by the quality of materials: there are six classy woods available, fresh colour schemes and twin-needling on the leather stitching. There's a new thin film transistor (TFT) LCD screen that's claimed to be the biggest automotive application yet at a bragging-rights 12 inches. These are the black-screen, more reflection-proof digital screens we've begun to see in luxury cars such as top-end BMWs and Mercs.
That's all very nerdy, but what it means in practice is the arrival of digital dials like on the S-class. They're deeply cool, and allow the designers to reconfigure the instruments depending on whether you're cruising on a motorway or plugging across a meadow to your horsebox or driving a night (there's a Saab-style nighttime setting).
There's also what's claimed to be the first split-screen centre console; it lets the driver watch the sat-nav while a passenger could be watching a DVD from the same screen.
The new engine
Two engines are available in the UK market: a new supercharged 503bhp V8 petrol (that Jag XFR unit) or the effective 3.6 TDV8 with which we're already familiar. The V8 petrol hits 60mph in 5.9sec and averages 19mpg/348g/km (both 7% better than before). Key figures on the TDV8 are 8.6sec/25mpg/294g/km.
Engineers told us there's around 85% commonality between the Jag and Land Rover V8s – most of the new parts, such as deeper sumps, designed to accommodate the off-roading ability compulsory on all Solihull products. That means the ability to climb 45deg slopes, and tip from side to side by 35deg.
Ride and handling are tweaked, too, with the adoption of adaptive Bilstein dampers, while off-roading hardware is upgraded with the latest Terrain Response and stability systems to keep the wheels in contact with whatever's underfoot.
Who buys the Range Rover?
A bit of a success story, this one. While sales of other Land Rovers have dropped off a cliff in recent months, the RR has been performing well. Until the final quarter of 2008, the biggest market – the US – was hitting record sales. This is true luxury car territory; it's not unknown for buyers to buy several Range Rovers at once, one for their city house and one for the country retreat.
It's clearly a premium market position Land Rover will try and emulate on a smaller scale with the LRX, recently confirmed as a Range Rover product after the concept car was badged as an LR. Bosses are set to press the green light this autumn, meaning the baby Rangey would arrive in showrooms in 2011.