Land Rover will launch its first ever two-wheel-drive car this autumn, an ultra-frugal version of its Range Rover ‘coupé SUV’, the LRX.
The new Golf-size coupé — whose interior is likely to focus on style instead of full-blown practicality — is due to make its public debut at the Paris show and enter production next year.
Land Rover had ruled out a front-drive variant, arguing that its brand values would be compromised by such a move. But now the firm says it “cannot ignore the growth of the two-wheel-drive SUV segment”.
The front-drive LRX will not be available at launch; it will follow “shortly after” the four-wheel-drive variant, say Land Rover sources.
All versions of the LRX are likely to use a version of the Freelander’s drivetrain, with a revised specification of that car’s PSA-sourced 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine producing around 185bhp.
They will also have a six-speed manual ’box as standard, making the LRX the first manual Range Rover since the second-generation model, replaced in 2002.
The front-drive model will emit less than 130g/km of CO2, says Land Rover; four-wheel-drive LRXs will emit around 140/gkm.
Although the car is widely known as the Range Rover LRX, Land Rover sources say it will be given a proper name instead of a code. Range Rover Compact is said to be one of five badges under consideration, although Autocar understands that it is not the favoured option.
Four-wheel-drive variants are likely to cost around £35k, with front-drive models priced at around £5000 less.