Land Rover is planning a bigger Range Rover Evoque, fuelled in part by the success of the smaller car and the continuing growth being enjoyed by the brand.
The firm’s expansion involves proposals that would take it into new niches, finding favour over similar projects at sister brand Jaguar because the potential sales and profits are greater, according to insiders.
Growing sales of the BMW X and Audi Q models are also encouraging Land Rover to broaden its Range Rover sub-brand by developing a model to sit between the recently launched Evoque and the Range Rover Sport.
That gap is expected to widen as both the Range Rover Sport and the flagship Range Rover shift further upmarket with their upcoming renewal. Today’s most expensive Evoque costs £45,000, the least expensive Range Rover Sport £55,000. Land Rover’s planners are thought to be considering a price range of £35,000 to £55,000 for a Grand Evoque.
The vehicle itself is likely to be based on the same LR-MS architecture as the existing Evoque, which was developed from the Ford EU-CD platform that provides the foundation of the Freelander. The inherent packaging efficiency of this architecture is likely to yield a decently scaled cabin, particularly for rear-seat passengers.
In terms of a design theme, the starting point for the new model is believed to be a ‘Grand Evoque’, although Land Rover will be anxious to give the car a distinctive visual and functional character of its own, not least to limit sales cannibalisation from other models.
An underbody stretch of around 300mm would provide some of the increased accommodation, half the extra length let in between the axles, the rest allocated to the rear overhang and an enlarged boot. Land Rover might consider a third row of seats as an option, which could usefully widen the appeal of this mid-market Range Rover and provide a particular reason to buy it.
The powertrain line-up would most likely come from the new range of four-cylinder engines that Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is to develop for production at a new site in Wolverhampton. These are thought to include a 1.8-litre turbo petrol unit producing as much as 170bhp per litre, and diesels capable of punching out 133bhp per litre.
JLR’s hybrid development programme should also allow a twin-motor version of the Grand Evoque. Expect a higher percentage of lightweight materials in this car as JLR explores mixed structures as part of a weight-saving campaign that will play a vital part in satisfying tightening fuel economy requirements.
Due for launch by 2015, the Grand Evoque is likely to be built at Halewood alongside the regular Evoque, Freelander and new small Jaguar saloon, all of them built on variations of the same architecture. Deriving four models from this platform will potentially yield JLR profitable economies of scale that it has never before achieved, and will make this smaller family of cars a cornerstone of its business.