Here’s a treat for Range Rover enthusiasts, on the day that the amazing Mk4 is unveiled. This is the experimental V12-engined Mk2 Range Rover, originally intended to be launched in 1999 by then-owners BMW. It was, perhaps, the first attempt to exploit the Range Rover as a proper luxury model.
The brand’s various owners have considered the Range Rover’s potential as a full-on luxury car for over 20 years. Arguably, there had been great resistance to taking the car away from its rural roots. The original Range Rover remained relatively spartan and it took 15 years before the factory even built a five-door version.
By the late 1980s, however, Land Rover was beginning to understand the potential for Range Rover as luxury car. The second-generation model - the 38A - had a much more luxurious interior and it rode on air-suspension. But it was BMW (which bought Rover Group less than a year before the 38A was launched) who really wanted to push the car even further upmarket.
BMW’s engineering chief Wolfgang Reitzle wanted to see further improvements to the car’s interior and commissioned work on a version of the 38A fitted with a V12 BMW 7-series engine. The bigger engine demanded a much longer (around six inches) front overhang which could have compromised the car’s off-road ability. This exclusive picture shows the tightness of the fit.