However, the new architecture has allowed the rear wheels to be pushed further towards the back of the car. The upshot is that rear legroom has improved by as much as 125mm, allowing the rear cabin to compete against the most upmarket luxury cars. Longer rear doors will improve cabin access, too.
The new car has a more steeply raked windscreen and more of a sloping roofline than even today’s Range Rover Sport. The substantial headlamps and rear light clusters that are such a significant part of today’s car will be much slimmer and less obtrusive. Even the vent in the front wing is now dramatically slanted, reflecting the angle of the windscreen.
Although the interior design of today’s Range Rover is highly regarded, the new model is aiming even higher. Sources say the company wants to achieve “Bentley levels of craftsmanship and quality”, as befits a car that will cost over £100,000 in some guises. The luxurious interior of this year’s £130k Autobiography Ultimate Edition offers the best clues to the theme of the Mk4 model.
The car will have the same basic range of engines as today’s, including V6 and V8 diesels, and V8 and supercharged V8 petrols. However, some sources say that a petrol V6 and possibly a supercharged petrol V6 may also be offered. The new V6 made its debut in Jaguar’s C-X16 sports car concept at the Frankfurt show last month. The only V6 petrol engine currently on offer in a JLR product is a Ford unit that recently made a comeback in the XJ for sale in China only.
The new petrol V6 might also be used in a plug-in hybrid version, previewed this year in the Range_e concept. It’s expected to use a 69kW electric motor (integrated into the eight-speed automatic gearbox) with a 14kWh battery, giving it the ability to cover about 20 miles on pure electric power. The Range_e proved that a diesel-electric hybrid is possible, but a petrol-electric version is likely to be favoured because of its popularity in the US and Asia and its lower cost and weight.
All versions of the Mk4 Range Rover will be notably more economical than the current model. The main reason is the switch to the pressed and riveted aluminium monocoque. This should save about 450kg, allowing the entry-level TDV6 model’s CO2 rating to creep below 200g/km.
The new car is expected to share a floor and crash structure with the next-gen Jaguar XJ, but with a unique bulkhead, suspension mounts, seating position and subframes. The Range Rover is also expected to share a new electrical architecture with the XJ.
Jaguar Land Rover is poised to invest tens of millions in re-equipping Land Rover’s Solihull factory to build the aluminium structure. This structure will also underpin the next-gen (and seven-seat) Range Rover Sport. It could also be used for a fourth Range Rover model that would sit between the top-end Evoque and the entry-level Sport.