Two Freelander scoops in two days! First we brought you spy pictures of the disguised Freelander in an M42 car park. Now we've gone one better by revealing the 2011 model year Land Rover Freelander in an Italian brochure. Many thanks to CAR reader JoeMax for sending us these photos.
Plus our photographers have caught a clutch of Freelanders being loaded onto a transporter, showing the rear of the 4x4 in more detail. There's an intriguing SD4 HSE badge on one car, suggesting that the new higher-powered diesel model will wear a new SD4 badge as opposed to today's TD4 name.
It looks the same as the current Freelander. What's new on the 2011 model?
Got your microscope ready? The face of the new 2011 Freelander is subtly different to the outgoing 4x4. The new car's grille is the typical Land Rover mesh affair but now raised up in line with the headlamps in one continuous horizontal band. It's a much neater integration.
The foglamps and front air intakes are new, too, and one change mud-pluggers will like is the addition of underbody protection creeping under the bumper as if to protect the sump below.
Elsewhere, the changes are harder to spot. The side profile is identical to the outgoing Freelander's, but there's further change at the rear: the boot handle trim now extends the full width of the car, not just the numberplate.
Sounds like a nerdy facelift. Are there any other changes to the 2011 Freelander?
The full story will emerge at the Moscow motor show in August 2010, but we hear there will be a range of minor engineering upgrades to the new Freelander 2.
The Ford/PSA-derived 2.2-litre turbodiesel is likely to be upgraded and the popular start-stop model will continue; one in two Land Rovers sold in Europe has stop-start already. It will be extended to auto models from 2011.
Jaguar Land Rover is pumping £800m into environmental R&D, so expect further developments in the longer run. Could the Freelander adopt the front-drive running gear of the Range Rover Evoque? Very possibly. Land Rover MD Phil Popham recently told CAR that demand for 2wd SUVs had jumped from 14% of the market in 2008 to 22% last year. It's a trend they surely can't ignore.
Don't go expecting any hybrid Freelanders, however. JLR is developing its part-electric models for the more expensive, range-topping Range Rovers and Discoverys first.