This chopped-about test hack is a prototype of the all-new Mk4 Range Rover, which is expected to be publicly unveiled in late 2012.
The new model — codenamed L405 — is based on Jaguar Land Rover’s new all-aluminium, bonded and riveted platform, which will also underpin the next-generation Range Rover Sport and the next Jaguar XJ.
Not only will the new Range Rover be lower and feature much-improved rear passenger room, but it is also expected to be nearly half a tonne lighter than the current car. Sources have told Autocar that a switch to all-alloy construction should shave around 450kg off the weight of today’s BMW-engineered, all-steel structure.
The car will get a 260bhp TDV6 engine and eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox. Engineers are hoping to reduce the CO2 emissions of the entry-level L405 to just under 200g/km. Around half of the weight saving comes from the bare bodyshell, with the rest coming from re-engineered subframes and lighter suspension systems and interior components. The overall length of the new Range Rover creeps up by 25cm, making it over five metres long. But sources say rear legroom could receive a much-needed boost, gaining as much as 125mm over today’s car.
Considering the Range Rover’s status as a de facto luxury vehicle, the difficulty of accessing the rear cabin and the lack of legroom are among the biggest complaints about the current model.
As part of the firmly upmarket direction for the new Range Rover, sources say the interior quality will take another leap, with the kind of lavish materials and design typified by Bentley. The exterior styling will be clearly related to today’s model, but sources hint that L405 will be rather more wedge-shaped and modern than today’s rather bluff and upright appearance.