At a millimetre under 5m long, the new car benefits from much improved rear cabin space. The wheelbase is 40mm longer and the rear door aperture wider for easier access. Legroom is claimed to have increased by 118mm. It has been benchmarked against luxury cars such as the Bentley Flying Spur and Mercedes S-Class for ride quality and tyre and wind noise.
Under the skin, the new car gets a ‘5th generation’ air-suspension system. A clean-sheet design, its uses aluminium subframes and aluminium double-wishbones at the front and a multi-link design at the back. The subframes are hollow aluminium castings, weighing just 15kg and 14kg and the subframe mounting points are machined with an accuracy of 1/1000mm. A new air-compressor increases performance allowing better control of the pressure in the air springs.
The stiffness of the body attachment points is said to be 30 percent greater than on the old car, which should greatly improve the ability to finesse the ride and handling. The lower wishbones have ribs moulded on the lower surface which will show evidence of serious rock-strikes.
Off-road, ground clearance has been improved by 18mm, to 296mm front, 310mm rear and the 597mm of wheel travel easily bests the Mercedes GL’s 480mm. The car’s wading depth has increased by 200mm to 900mm, with the car now ‘breathing’ via gap between bonnet and wing. The new-generation Terrain Response 2 system now includes an ‘auto’ setting, which analyses the terrain and can switch automatically between the five off-road settings.
The permanent all-wheel drive works through a new 8-speed ZF automatic gearbox, which has a wider ratio spread and only uses the torque convertor for launch, before locking up for maximum efficiency. Brembo six-pot callipers and 380mm discs are fitted to the front wheels and it gets a new electric power steering system. The Mk4 also has a 3500kg trailer capacity.
Due in late 2013, and pitched as the ‘world’s most capable Hybrid’ with capacity to wade, the V6 diesel engine (286bhp, 412lb ft) is coupled to a eight-speed ZF auto with an integrated permanent magnet AC synchronous motor (47bhp, 125lbft) and 1.7 kWh Li-ion battery. It can run as engine only, electric motor only and both motors together for a claimed 333bhp combined, 0-62mph in 7.4secs and 169g/km CO2.
V6 Diesel, 2993cc, twin-turbo, 24-valve 255bhp@4000rpm 442lb ft @2000rpm 37.8mpg, 196g/km
V8 Diesel, 4367cc, twin-turbo, 24-valve 335bhp @3500rpm 516lbft@1750-3000rpm 32.5mpg, 229g/km
V8 Supercharged Petrol, 32-valve 504bhp@6000-6500rpm 461lbft@2500-5500rpm 21mpg, 322g/km