This is one of the early engineering mules for the new 2012 Range Rover. Land Rover is concentrating on making the new Rangie lighter and cleaner – and it will be one of the first hybrid vehicles to emerge from the Jaguar Land Rover stable.
We'll see the new Range Rover in autumn 2012, most likely almost exactly two years from now at the Paris motor show. So what'll the new 2012 Range Rover look like?
Ignore the cut 'n' shut cutabout of this engineering mule; the new Range Rover will look markedly different from this hard-worked prototype. Gerry McGovern told CAR that the new Range Rover has been signed off already.
'We want these cars to be more proud, more important, more jewel-like,' he told us. 'Range Rovers will appeal to more people in future.'
Land Rover plans to put more clear water between Land Rover and Range Rover design. 'With Range Rover we are well on the way – we've in fact already designed the next Range Rover. Land Rover is just starting the next stage of its journey. When I arrived [as design boss in 2006], there was a design bible, and a lot of our design cues had functional reasoning: breakover angles, clamshell bonnets and such like. I wanted to be respectful of that but at the same time envisage the future. It's a changing world out there.'What is the new technology due on the L405?
L405? That's the codename for the new 2012 Range Rover. The big news is the adoption of Jaguar-spec aluminium construction to shave the kilos despite a growth spurt that sees the Rangie stretch to 5m long in the interests of passenger space, notably for rear-seat occupants.
How much lighter could an aluminium Range Rover be? Today's model tips the scales at a podgy 2500kg and it's likely that half a tonne will be wiped from that thanks to the aluminium chassis, alloy bodyshell and even sparing use of composite materials in some areas of the platform.Range Rover engines: it's going electric
The next Range Rover Sport and Range Rover are likely to be the first hybrid models from the famous 4x4 manufacturer and the first has been confirmed for launch in 2013. Jaguar Land Rover is developing petrol and diesel hybrid models mated to a V6 turbodiesel for Europe. In such spec, a hybrid Range Rover is tipped to produce just 170g/km of CO2.
Hybridisation is enabled by a new ZF eight-speed automatic, which is exactly the same size as a regular auto 'box. It adds 110kg to the kerb weight, however, as the bulky batteries bring extra heft. Because it's contained within the transmission, the hybrid module can essentially be added to petrol or diesel models depending on market.A hybrid Range Rover? That sounds good...
The dream in Gaydon is of a huge hulking luxury 4x4 that could whisper into town producing no emissions, doing plenty to appease the anti SUV brigade. A plug-in hybrid is scheduled for around 2015 and chief engineer of hybrids at Jaguar Land Rover, Peter Richings, said: 'It means you can drive a Range Rover for at least 20 miles on full electric power around town, emissions of less than 100g/km and speeds of up to 70mph in EV mode.'
The initial hybrids are likely to carry a price premium of some £10,000; that's why Land Rover will also offer 3.0-litre TDV6 and TDV8 diesels, and a 5.0-litre V8 for America and other petrol-dominated markets.