This heavily modified engineering prototype is thought to be a Range Rover Sport testbed for the upcoming petrol V6 engine. This motor, first previewed in supercharged form in the Jaguar CX-16 concept, is crucial to sales success outside Europe, especially in China which puts significant taxes on the import of V8-engined cars.
Indeed, Land Rover's sister firm Jaguar recently launched a lower-powered 3.0-litre V6 petrol version of the XJ for sale in China only. Jaguar Land Rover China’s sales chief, Bruce Robertson, said before the model was launched that the current Jaguar range "isn't right for China", as the market demands big cars with small engines.
The C-X16's supercharged 3.0-litre V6 that's destined for the Range Rover Sport among other JLR cars develops 375bhp and 332lb ft of torque. The engine is a modular development of Jaguar’s current AJ-V8, using the same block architecture and quad-cam, four-valve-per-cylinder head design made of recycled aluminium.
This EU6-compliant engine features second-generation direct injection, a higher 10.5:1 compression ratio and a sixth-generation Rootes-type supercharger. The upshot is an impressive specific output of 127bhp per litre. The engine gets Jaguar’s new Twin Solenoid Starter stop-start system and is hooked up to a new version of the familiar ZF eight-speed auto gearbox with an integrated electric motor.
With the new, aluminium, Range Rover is due at the end of 2012, it seems likely that the Range Rover Sport will be given a complimentary facelift and the new V6 engine around the same time. An all-new Sport could be three years away.