These are the first spy photographs of the production compact Range Rover – the LRX concept made real. At last we can see just how close to the slammed show car the LRX will be.
Our scoop photos were taken at a UK proving ground as Land Rover engineers finalise the prototypes ahead of an unveiling later in summer 2010. The show debut is pencilled in for Paris 2010 and showrooms will sell the first compact Rangies in May 2011. What the hell's that disguise on the new Range Rover LRX?
Yes, engineers are coming up with ever more weird camouflage on their new prototypes; this one appears more suited to an Athena poster on a student's bedsit wall and does little to cover up the distinctively edgy lines of the compact Range Rover.
It has stayed remarkably true to the original Land Rover LRX concept car. The snout is dominated by very slimline headlights and a bijou, simple grille. The front bumpers segue into bulging wheelarches, while the side profile is shaped by strong wedge – rising hiplines and a remarkably shallow glasshouse.
The LRX appears to be riding high in these shots. Although it has the same footprint as a Golf class contender, it is clearly much taller.The new compact Range Rover: the engineering story
The LRX, or whatever it's called, will use the Freelander drivetrain and will become the first Land Rover group product available with front-wheel drive. Why? Because in Europe 2wd SUV sales have jumped from 14% of the market in 2008 to 22% in 2009.
Naturally 4wd is available, but marketing bods expect many buyers to plump for the FWD Range Rover, which will emit less than 130g/km and average more than 50mpg.
Those eye-grabbing figures (for a 4x4) will be achieved with the company's PSA-sourced 2.2-litre turbodiesel, although a 2.0-litre petrol will be offered too. The same engines will appear in the facelifted 2011 model year Freelander scooped yesterday.It doesn't look very roomy, does it?
Nope. We expect the emphasis to be firmly on posing over practicality in the compact Range Rover. Prices are tipped to start at £33,000 – meaning it's only for very well heeled Golf converts. Expect the LRX to become the best-selling Range Rover, beating the 45,000 units a year of the Range Sport. It'll be built at Halewood.