10 January 2005

Land Rover’s flagship model, the Range Rover, is getting an assertive new look, two new V8 petrol engines, a boost in refinement and an array of new technology. Due to be unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show next week, the 2006 model-year cars go on sale in the UK in May. The revisions to the Range Rover come as Land Rover further distances itself from one-time owner BMW, which developed the previous car. With alternatives having been developed in-house for the new Discovery, continuing to use expensive BMW engines in the Range Rover made no sense.

Pictured here is the all-new £70,000 supercharged Range Rover that will succeed the less powerful £61k Vogue model as the range-topper. Power is by a supercharged 4.2-litre V8 from Jaguar’s XJ saloon, but modified to produce more torque at lower revs and work in rigorous off-road conditions. With 390bhp it will propel the two-and-a-half-tonne giant to 62mph in 7.7sec – a second faster than the current 4.4-litre model – and on to a governed 135mph maximum. The hottest Rangie’s unique styling trades some of the old car’s clean-lined style for more eye-catching detail. Redrawn headlights and a new front bumper border the supercharged version’s most noticeable revision – a metallic, double-louvered mesh grille surrounded by glossy brightwork. The quickest variant also gets mesh sections in the wing vents, new rear light clusters, retuned dampers, Brembo front brakes and 20-inch alloy wheels.

Below the supercharged version will be a naturally aspirated 4.2-litre model with a toned-down grille similar to the one on the current car, plus the new rear lamps. With 302bhp, this should also trump the current 282bhp 4.4-litre model for pace. Prices are expected to start at around £55k.

The 3.0-litre TD6 turbodiesel will share the tweaked appearance, continuing otherwise unchanged for at least another 18 months. The new Discovery’s 2.7-litre TDV6 engine will not be offered in the Range Rover; a V8 diesel is, however, under development, but 18 months away.

Increased refinement is also promised with less wind noise from sleeker A-pillars and laminated side windows (which will also boost security) and better engine-bay insulation. There will also be plenty of new technology on the options list, including a reversing camera, swivelling headlights and a new rear-seat entertainment system, complete with two 6.5in screens in the front headrests and a six-disc DVD player.

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