Bigger, more sophisticated Range Rover goes on sale early next year. Its all-aluminium chassis saves 420kg and prices are expected to start from £70k
Steve Cropley Autocar
15 August 2012

The latest version of Britain’s world-beating SUV, the fourth-generation Land Rover Range Rover, is revealed here: sleeker, more sophisticated and a little longer and lower than before. 

The 2013 Range Rover 4 is set to make its public debut at the Paris motor show in a month’s time before going on sale early next year. 

For the first time in 42 years, however, styling and dynamic ability are not the most important parts of the new Range Rover story. The bombshell news — perhaps the most significant change in the model’s 42-year history — is the adoption of a new all-aluminium monocoque body/chassis that carves up to 420kg off the current Range Rover’s kerb weight. This will bring unprecedented benefits in fuel economy, CO2 output, performance and agility. 

The new model becomes the world’s first aluminium monocoque SUV, utilising techniques already developed for the aluminium XK and XJ of sister brand Jaguar. In future, almost all of Jaguar Land Rover’s higher-value models are likely to be made this way. 

According to Land Rover, the new model’s performance improvement is much more than merely incremental. Global brand director John Edwards says that while it preserves the Range Rover’s “essential, unique character”, the new car’s clean-sheet design and lightweight construction will “transform the experience for luxury vehicle customers, with a step change in comfort, refinement and handling”.  

Edwards says the new Range Rover bodyshell is not only 39 per cent lighter than the outgoing steel structure but also stiffer in both torsion and bending, with new aluminium subframes front and rear that support newly designed, all-independent air suspension systems. The chassis has the latest generation of electronic ride and stability control equipment, and there’s a new, more responsive Terrain Response 2 Auto system that reads on-road and off-road conditions more quickly and configures the car better for the prevailing conditions.

The first official pictures of the new Range Rover show a wheelbase increase of about 100mm, and Autocar understands that there are similar increases in front and rear tracks. Together, these changes promise increased natural stability. Engineers talk of “transformed handling and agility” for the 2013 model, an impressive claim indeed given the high standards set by existing models. 

Every surface of the new model is new, but the team led by design chief Gerry McGovern has nevertheless been entirely true to the Range Rover ethos. McGovern speaks of “a fresh interpretation of Range Rover design cues” and the 2013 edition definitely displays a sleekness and sophistication that makes the outgoing ‘L322’ version seem old and rather upright.

All the important elements are there: the floating roof, the clamshell bonnet, the blacked-out pillars, the two-piece tailgate, the swage lines high on the sides and level with the door handles, and the prominent ‘Range Rover’ script on the bonnet. There are new wraparound headlights and the grille is stylishly raked as never before. The effect is of a sleeker, more dynamic shape. 

Engineers promise big changes on the move, too. The Range Rover’s all-new aluminium body has been “rigorously optimised” to work with the laminated screens and side glass to slash noise levels.

The new Range Rover is being offered with three engines. The diesels are a special version of the 3.0-litre V6 (which has been a staple in the Discovery for years) and the 4.4-litre V8 already on offer in the current Range Rover, albeit with updates. The petrol option will be Land Rover’s own version of the 5.0-litre supercharged ‘group’ V8 already offered. 

All engines will drive through an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. There will be no manual gearbox option. The Range Rover will come with an enhanced package of chassis electronics (anti-lock brakes and stability and traction control systems) as well as the improved Terrain Response 2 Auto facility.

“Designing the next-generation Range Rover, following 40 years of success, came with a huge responsibility to protect the DNA of such an icon,” said McGovern, who has overseen the creation of both Freelander generations and the extremely successful new Range Rover Evoque, but never the flagship until now. “Our design team worked hard to capture the elegant proportions and pure surfaces which have been a feature of the best Range Rover designs.”

The new cabin is influenced by the much-admired interior design of the current car. There’s a large binnacle ahead of the driver, with a TFT screen that offers tachometer and speedo functions (with ancillary functions in between), plus a well integrated eight-inch screen above the prominent console in the centre of the car. 

The designers have worked hard to simplify controls and switchgear without reducing the number of functions, in line with the new model’s theme of “serene isolation”. Because the wheelbase is longer, the rear cabin offers an impressive 120mm more kneeroom. 

Buyers will be offered a standard three-occupant rear bench seat, as before, or the option of a new two-seat ‘Executive’ layout that extends the centre console through the rear cabin “for ultimate luxury”. A Meridian surround-sound hi-fi will be offered. The two doors of the traditional, horizontally split tailgate (improved to reduce the ‘stretch’ needed to load the boot) are electrically assisted.

As you read this, Land Rover engineers are concluding an 18-month Range Rover test programme over millions of miles in more than 20 countries, including the hottest and coldest in the world.   

Manufacture of the all-aluminium Range Rover will begin at the end of the summer in a new Solihull facility equipped especially for low-energy construction. Deliveries to dealers should begin before the end of the year and the first customers should have their cars very early in 2013. 

Land Rover bosses are tight-lipped about pricing, but the new Range Rover is expected to start at around £70,000, with the plushest models costing upwards of £120,000. Earliest deliveries will be in the UK, but the Range Rover will ultimately be sold in more than 160 markets.

Our Verdict

The fourth-generation Range Rover is here to be judged as a luxury car as much as it is a 4x4

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Comments
43

15 August 2012

What on earth have they done to those front doors???

Otherwise its ok, but I wonder if the Range Rover Sport might be the more attractive of the two new Range Rovers and will have a design aimed more at European audiences, while this is aimed more towards China, Russia and the Middle East?

I also wonder if the more Evoque like alternative design also hinted at in other articles would have been better, and built on that cars success......

15 August 2012

As an owner of the current model. I like the new interior. However, I have to say that the new exterior looks like a bit of a mess and a bit of a mish mash of styles. I don't like the gills on the side door. Nor the vents under the front lights, nor the tail lights, nor the tailgate design, nor the mirrors. In fact the rear of the car looks completely unfinished. I am surprised they have done such a bad job of the redesign as Land Rover appeared to be on a Roll. I much prefer the look of the current model.

Having said that, as mentionned, I am an owner of the current model, and that alone is enough to make me not want to own another Land Rover product again. Its bad enough that so many little things keep going wrong with it. Worse that the dealers seem to lack and sort of technical knowledge or ability.

15 August 2012

3 questions

Does it still do off road well? Does anyone care? Will in break down less?

Having said that I hope it's a runaway success for all those whose jobs depend on it. I'm sure it will be. 

Another question- how ghastly will the over finch version be?

15 August 2012

It looks a bit saggy in the middle, like a labrador that has just given birth.  Also it has too much of the glitz and glitter of the Evoque for my liking.  It is a shame they lost the design team who came up with the last Range Rover and the Discovery.

Still, people do seem to like the Evoque, even if it not the kind of car country people would buy.  I wish them luck with the launch.  A+ for the engineering, B- for the design.  TBA for the construction, fingers crossed they won't fall apart.

15 August 2012

Will an HGV licence be needed to drive it?

15 August 2012

Lots of mention here of weight saving, lightweight construction and the actual weight loss compared with its predecessor. But I guess the press pack failed to mention the actual figure?

Reports elsewhere still indicate that a US model is likely to tip the scales at around 2300kg, which in my book is still obese.  And I doubt that any fuel saving will be too spectacular when a 5 litre supercharged V8 lurks under the bonnet.

I guess the question remains, does the world really need such leviathans clogging up already congested highways? If it does, then Land Rover is still on the right track!

15 August 2012

Looks ok, but not as good or as regal as the original version of the Mk3. You can see the longer wheelbase which Land Rover have struggled to hide while the wraparound rear lights were unecessary and look contrived. The front is very much Freelander-ish with its curves and looks which makes it look less imposing and distinctive which is a shame, but the worst thing are the faux vertical vents in the front doors. I know they're there to try and disguise the longer wheelbase and front door, but they look awful!

R32

15 August 2012

The front end looks quite nice but the back end is not so good.  I dont like the back lights in particular.  I wonder if the fact the front and rear lights wraparound the car's bodywork in an integrated fashion so they can be seen side-on,  is intended to prevent seperate lights being fitted for the US market.  I've seen many good looking cars had their looks spoiled with seperate lights fitted into the side of the car's bodywork just to meet US regulations.  What Land Rover have done may mean these US regulations are already met without the addition of extra lights being fitted.

I do think the interior looks particularly attractive and I prefer this interior to the Bentley Falcon's.  Overall however I think the car will end up not being bought by country-dwellers who have any degree of taste but by "new money" who don't understand the meaning of the word "restraint".

15 August 2012

I run a 322. It's a truly great car and for all the obvious reasons, it is however, sometimes obviously too heavy. It is also a pain to park because it's too big for many spaces (I use it for groceries, not just shooting, fishing, etc); the width is a pain but manageable, the real problem is length, it just doesn't fit in a single marked bay.

The new car addresses the weight problem but I can barely believe they've made it even longer! For that reason alone I won't be buying the new one.

15 August 2012

Bearing in mind the increased width which is not matched by parking spaces in urban environments - making the centre console flat is a very practical touch for the frequent occasions when the driver will have to enter the vehicle from the passenger side and cross over to the driver's side without trapping their belt on a gear lever.

I guess it will lead to increased bad manners by owners who will simply occupy 2 parking bays.

However like many others I hope that it is a success so that it helps keep many people gainfully employed.

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