I thought you said ‘new’ Land Rovers?
We did. It’s what under the bonnet that’s new. This development hack may look like a standard Vogue, but take a look at the exhaust arrangement. Instead of the usual twin pipe layout, this Rangie gets a four-brancher. And that’s because it’s powered by a new 5.0-litre supercharged V8, a more powerful flagship engine that will spearhead a revitalised Range Rover line-up – including a new smaller three-door Land Rover that will debut in concept guise at the Detroit motorshow early next year.
Tell me about the Range Rover first
Our spy snappers caught this test car pounding around the Nürburgring, racking up to 15 laps a day last week before disappearing into Jaguar’s garages close to the circuit perimeter. The new supercharged engine – a heavily revised bored and stroked version of the current 4.2-litre unit – should push out at least 475bhp, an 80bhp power hike that puts it much closer to key rivals like the Mercedes ML63 AMG (510bhp) and the Porsche Cayenne Turbo (500bhp). Expect the same engine to make its way into the hot R-version of the upcoming XF. To mark the new engine upgrade, the Rangie is expected to undergo a minor exterior restyle and a major update for its nautical-inspired cabin. No specifics on the makoever, but we anticipate something generic and progressive rather than a radical design shift.
And what about this baby Freelander?
It’s all shrouded in secrecy at the moment, but our sources have confirmed that Land Rover will pull the covers off a concept version of a new sub-Freelander sports utility vehicle at Detroit. Based on the Freelander, the Sport will sit on its shortened wheelbase and share much of its chassis architecture and componentry including four-cylinder diesel and (primarily for the American market) six-cylinder petrol. Like the Range Rover Sport, this smaller three-door only version, will be a stand-alone model rather than a Freelander derivative.
Styled in-house, our sources say the Sport takes the Freelander’s chunky styling, shrinks it and then throws in a much more rakish windscreen, higher shoulders and bolder wheelarches. The production model will be some way off - our sources say a debut at the Geneva motorshow in 2010 is the earliest it will arrive. Despite being smaller, it'll be priced alongside Freelander, with an anticipated £22,000 kick off price.