Land Rover has announced the launch of the all-new Range Rover, the world's most refined and capable SUV. The fourth generation of the iconic Land Rover Range Rover line, the new model has been developed from the ground up to provide the ultimate luxury SUV, following the innovative spirit of the original design from over 40 years ago.
The world's first SUV with a lightweight all-aluminium body, the new Range Rover takes the capabilities of the marque's flagship to a new level, with even greater luxury and refinement, enhanced performance and handling on all terrains, and significant advances in sustainability.
"Launching the all-new Range Rover represents a major milestone for Land Rover, being the first exciting output from an unprecedented investment in premium vehicle technologies," said John Edwards, Land Rover Global Brand Director.
"The new Range Rover preserves the essential, unique character of the vehicle - that special blend of luxury, performance and unmatched all-terrain capability. However, its clean sheet design and revolutionary lightweight construction have enabled us to transform the experience for luxury vehicle customers, with a step change in comfort, refinement and handling."
With sales scheduled to start in late 2012, the all-new Land Rover Range Rover will be introduced in 170 markets worldwide.
Designed and engineered at Land Rover's development centres in the UK, the new Range Rover will be produced in a state-of-the-art new low-energy manufacturing facility at Solihull, UK.
Command Driving Position enhances confidence and control
The Command Driving Position, which provides drivers with a supreme sense of confidence and control whatever the road conditions, is an essential part of the Range Rover DNA.
Like its predecessors, the new Range Rover places the driver in an elevated, upright seating position which offers a reassuring, almost imperious, view of the vehicle and its surroundings.
The sense of control offered by the elevated driving position is enhanced by the vehicle's outboard seating location with clear visibility to the side, and outstanding forward visibility over the characteristic sunken profile of the bonnet, all of which contribute to the unique Range Rover character.
Throughout the development process, meticulous optimisation of the vehicle design and interior package - much of it using the sophisticated 3D CAVE virtual simulator - ensured that the new model retained its class-leading all-round visibility, while overall roominess increased significantly.
In fact, upward vision for the front row occupants was improved, enhancing visibility in undulating terrain and improving the view of overhead signs and traffic lights.
Like all Range Rovers, the new model had headroom targets which included provision for off-road head movements. These targets were rigidly enforced, resulting in more generous headroom, and enhanced clearance during off-road excursions.
Intuitive controls with clear and elegant layout
To enhance the relaxing and confident driving experience encouraged by the Command Driving Position, the new Range Rover is distinguished by a carefully conceived system of controls and displays which combines a stylish, uncluttered layout with state-of-the-art functionality.
The control layout has been dramatically simplified, with 50% fewer switches, to deliver class-leading ease-of-use and intuitiveness, while also emphasising the clean, elegant lines of the cabin.
Developing the state-of-the-art display technology pioneered by the outgoing model, the new Range Rover features two primary high-resolution display screens - a 12.3-inch display for the main instrument pack, and an 8-inch touchscreen unit for infotainment and secondary functions, with optional Dual View.
The screen graphics on both displays are very elegant, having been meticulously designed to create the impression of 3D surfaces, beautifully lit with subtle chrome detailing. Each display is able to adapt its content according to the driving situation, eliminating unnecessary details and presenting the most important information in a clear and simple form.
The intuitive and elegant approach is reflected in the other major controls, such as the rotary Drive Select and Terrain ResponseÂ® controls on the centre console, the simplified Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning dials, and the twin five-way toggle switches and auxiliary functions on the steering wheel.
Optimised structure is lighter, stronger and more refined
The lightweight aluminium body structure has been subjected to the most extensive development and optimisation process ever undertaken by Land Rover. Unprecedented use of state-of-the-art computer simulation tools - demanding well over 1000 years of processor time - has resulted in an incredibly efficient structure.
Engineers used the latest 'multi-dimensional' CAE optimisation tools, which made it possible to minimise the weight, while simultaneously delivering outstanding stiffness and refinement together with excellent safety performance.
Incredibly powerful simulation tools more typically used to model crash events have also been exploited to analyse the punishing off-road load cases which form a key part of Land Rover engineering development, such as the crunching 'ditch drop' impact.
A key factor in the creation of such a weight-efficient body is the way different forms of aluminium components are employed within the structure: pressed panels, plus cast, extruded and rolled aluminium alloy parts, are combined in a rigorously optimised structure where the strength is concentrated precisely where the loads are greatest.
The resulting optimised structure protects occupants using an incredibly strong and stable safety cell, and provides a very stiff platform for superior NVH and vehicle dynamics.
Innovations to further reduce weight and enhance performance include the first automotive use of high strength AC300 aluminium within the crash structure. In another automotive first, the entire vehicle body side is pressed as a single aluminium panel - thus reducing the amount of joints, eliminating complex assemblies and improving structural integrity.
Lightweight technologies cut weight by up to 420kg
Land Rover engineers have combined the state-of-the-art lightweight structure with substantial weight reductions throughout the vehicle, to deliver total weight savings up to an incredible 420kg.
The enhanced efficiency of the new Range Rover is highlighted most effectively on diesel models, where the reduced weight of the vehicle has enabled the lighter TDV6 engine to be introduced, while delivering the same effortless performance as the outgoing TDV8 model. A total of 420kg lighter, the new TDV6 Range Rover achieves an overall reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of up to 22 per cent.
Range Rover engineers achieved the dramatic weight reduction through an incredibly rigorous development and optimisation process in which every possible weight saving opportunity was aggressively pursued. In addition to the lightweight aluminium body construction, the key weight-saving technologies in the vehicle include:
Downsized 3.0-litre TDV6 diesel powertrain available in place of 4.4-litre TDV8, with no loss in performance
Effortless Driving Experience
From the driver's seat, a Range Rover is confident and supremely composed, delivering effortless performance with a sense of power in reserve.
The new Range Rover has been engineered to provide exactly the same effortless driving experience, but its lightweight construction and all-new suspension architecture have enabled a significant leap in capability, offering the driver even greater reserves of performance, and handling which is more confident and agile.
Easy and intuitive controls are another key element of the Range Rover DNA, and the new model makes use of innovative technology which ensures that drivers benefit from seamless connectivity of their mobile devices from the moment they step into the vehicle.
Composed and agile handling
The new Range Rover's state-of-the-art chassis, with its all-new lightweight suspension architecture and advanced chassis technologies, has been developed to offer serene, confident progress in all conditions. With its class-leading suspension travel and upgraded four-corner air springs, the suspension system combines supreme poise and stability with exceptional ride isolation on all surfaces.
A key benefit of the advanced new suspension concept, however, with its wide-spaced double-wishbone design at the front and an advanced multi-link layout at the rear, is the ability to combine traditional Range Rover ride quality and refinement with more composed and balanced handling.
Thus, while the luxurious ride has been retained, the vehicle's handling and agility have been transformed. The new suspension architecture delivers flatter, more confident cornering, with natural and intuitive steering feel.
To achieve this enhanced blend of supple ride and more agile, confident handling, Land Rover engineers have focused on optimising the stiffness of the chassis systems and body structure, followed by meticulous tuning of the suspension components and steering system.
The latest chassis technologies have contributed to the new Range Rover's enhanced breadth of capability, including Adaptive Dynamics with continuously variable dampers, the perfectly tuned Electric Power Assisted Steering system, and the advanced Dynamic Response two-channel active lean control system which is standard on SDV8 and LR-V8 S/C models.
Virtuous circle of weight reduction enhances performance
The substantial weight saving delivered by the new Land Rover Range Rover's advanced lightweight body structure and chassis has a significant impact on the vehicle's environmental credentials, but it also has a dramatic impact on the performance on offer too.
Reduced body weight creates a virtuous circle of weight reduction elsewhere in the vehicle, as lighter driveline and chassis components can be adopted in line with the reduced loads.
Model for model, the new generation Range Rover SDV8 saves up to 350kg compared to the outgoing TDV8, leading to impressive performance improvements for the driver.
The 510PS LR-V8 Supercharged model can now surge from 0-60mph in just 5.1 seconds, a reduction of 0.8 seconds over the outgoing model.
As well as heightening the characteristic Range Rover sensation of effortless performance, with ample power in reserve, the reduced weight also brings advantages in vehicle dynamics, contributing to more agile and responsive handling both on and off road.
Taking the virtuous circle a step further, the new Range Rover's lighter structure has made it possible to introduce the sophisticated 3.0-litre TDV6 engine into the model line. This new engine delivers performance just as strong as the previous 4.4-litre TDV8 model, as demonstrated by its 0-60mph time of 7.4 seconds, 0.1 seconds quicker than its heavier predecessor.
The smaller engine takes the total weight saving up to 420kg over the outgoing TDV8 model, contributing to a dramatic reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of 22 per cent, equivalent to figures of 37.7mpg (7.5 lit/100km) and 196g/km.
Intuitive control and seamless connectivity
With the unique Command Driving Position and intuitive control systems, the new Range Rover reinforces driver confidence and provides a relaxing and comfortable driving environment.
The two main high-definition colour displays - the 12.3-inch display for the main instrument pack, and the 8-inch touchscreen in the centre console - are able to adapt their content according to the driving situation, ensuring that the most important information is clearly presented, and providing class-leading ease-of-use.
Mounted high on the centre console, the large 8-inch touchscreen display is the signature Range Rover control interface, and provides the primary control and display system for a wide range of infotainment features.
The display has been designed with fewer rows of information, improving usability with bigger buttons and greater separation. 'Secret until lit' hard keys on either side of the display provide short-cuts to the most commonly used screens, such as Home, Audio/Video, Nav and Phone.
To complement the display systems, the new Range Rover also offers a comprehensive connectivity package which includes:
Handsfree mobile phone via Bluetooth, enabling the phone to be controlled via the 8-inch touchscreen or steering wheel controls
The new model is the fourth generation of the classic Range Rover line, which has held an iconic position within the global motor industry for over four decades.
Developed to be the world's most versatile motor car, the Range Rover was the first fully-capable luxury 4x4 when it was launched in 1970, and a milestone in the evolution of the Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV).
Since that time, the popularity of the Range Rover concept has continued to grow around the world, and today it remains the ultimate choice for the luxury SUV customer.
"For everyone here at Land Rover, the Land Rover Range Rover is a very special product," said John Edwards, Land Rover Global Brand Director. "Originally launched over 40 years ago, the Range Rover holds a unique place in the history of motoring, and we are confident that this new model will continue that proud tradition."
Evolution of a motoring icon
The Range Rover is firmly established as one of the most significant vehicles in the history of motoring, and was the world's first vehicle as good on-road as off-road.
There have been three previous generations of Range Rover. The original, now known as the Classic, went on sale in 1970 and continued in production, with numerous upgrades and a multiplicity of variants, for just over 25 years.
The second-generation vehicle, known as the P38a, went on sale in 1994 and was replaced in 2001 by the current model. The continuing appeal of the unique Range Rover concept has ensured that this version has enjoyed higher annual sales than any previous models and continues to be popular around the world.
Sold in all key global markets, from London to Los Angeles, Sydney to Shanghai, Turin to Tokyo, the Range Rover remains the ultimate choice for the luxury SUV customer.
"The Range Rover is really four vehicles in one," says John Edwards. "It's a seven-days-a-week luxury motor car; a leisure vehicle that will range far and wide on the highways and noways of the world; a high performance car for long distance travel; and a working cross-country vehicle."
From princes to politicians, from rock gods to rock climbers, from footballers to farmers, the Range Rover has always appealed to a diverse group of customers who value its unique breadth of capability.
Combining saloon comfort with Land Rover off-road ability
The inspiration for the original Range Rover came from the Rover car company's engineering chief for new vehicle projects, Charles Spencer 'Spen' King, who worked mostly on Rover cars, not on Land Rover (at the time, Rover's 4x4 wing).
"The idea was to combine the comfort and on-road ability of a Rover saloon with the off-road ability of a Land Rover," said King. "Nobody was doing it at the time. It seemed worth a try and Land Rover needed a new product."
Work on the first prototype Range Rover, then known as the '100-inch station wagon', began in 1966, inspired partly by the growing market for 4x4 leisure vehicles in North America.
"It was going to be a premium leisure vehicle, but not really a luxury vehicle," says former project engineer Geof Miller. "It was also intended to be technically adventurous. Spen was convinced the vehicle must have car-like coil springs front and rear for on-road ride comfort, and no other 4x4 offered them. It needed very long travel suspension for off-road suppleness." Other technical novelties would include an aluminium body (like the Land Rover), an all-aluminium engine and disc brakes all round.
Only 10 prototypes were built before the first production vehicle came down the Solihull production line. The actual Range Rover name was coined by stylist Tony Poole, after other model names - among them Panther and Leopard - were rejected.
Simple and iconic shape
A central element of the model's appeal has been its iconic design - the shape of a Range Rover is instantly recognisable.
"It's not difficult to see why it was so successful. Like the current version, the original Range Rover is such a simple and iconic shape," said Land Rover Design Director and Chief Creative Officer Gerry McGovern.
Those iconic details are all there for a reason, for the Range Rover is a highly functional vehicle. The bonnet castellations improve the driver's ability to see the corners of the car. They're helpful in congested city driving, in parking, and when driving off-road. The 'floating' roof is partly an upshot of those comparatively thin pillars, to improve visibility.
The comparatively flat sides, and lack of 'tumblehome' curvature, allow driver and passenger to sit as far out as possible, improving visibility. Those relatively flat sides also improve the driver's ability to judge vehicle width, important for manoeuvrability on- and off-road.
Even though it's become a design classic - a model was displayed inside the Louvre in Paris, while an actual vehicle was simultaneously shown just outside - Spen King claims that 'we probably only spent about 0.001 per cent of our time on the appearance'. Like many design greats, form followed function. The superb functionality led to a simple style and a simple shape.
The concept and basic shape - flat sides, thin roof pillars, short overhangs, all dimensions including wheelbase, upright nose and tail - was determined by engineers, principally King and chassis engineer Gordon Bashford. The initial press kit didn't even talk about 'design'.
The design, for King's concept, came from David Bache, Rover's design boss. He tidied up the King/Bashford proposal, adding his design ideas to the inherent functionality. In particular, he changed the grille and headlamps, and the tail lamps. He also altered the window surrounds and side swage lines. They were not major details, but they made a huge difference to the car's presence and aesthetic appeal.
The Range Rover's design has remained evolutionary. "The original vehicle was such a classic, that it made sense to retain the basic shape and keep the car's classic design cues," explained Gerry McGovern.
The second-generation vehicle, the P38a, was a 'clean sheet' design, but it soon became clear to the design team that they radically changed the style at their peril.
The key qualities they protected, as explained at launch, were: the command driving position, the floating roof, the deep glass area and low waistline, wrap-over bonnet (including 'castle features' on front edge), distinctive rear 'E' pillar, two-piece tailgate, the straight feature lines (no wedge or step in side styling) and the close wheel cuts (to improve stance).
All these classic Range Rover design cues continued with the third-generation model launched in 2001. The new car was bigger and more spacious. It also included eye-catching modern 'jewellery', including distinctive head- and tail-lamps and 'Brunel' finish power vents on the flanks.
This model was a more integrated 'purer' design than the P38a. Although subsequently upgraded with improved lights, grille, wheels and many other changes, the essential shape has stayed the same, and remains one of the most modern and desirable designs in the luxury 4x4 sector.
The interior saw a big improvement over its predecessor. The design team took inspiration from products as diverse as audio equipment, ocean-going yachts, first-class airline seating, fine furniture and jewellery. This was combined with the classic 'wood and leather' Land Rover Range Rover experience. The result brought new levels of luxury to the Range Rover, and to the 4x4 market. It was subsequently described, by a number of commentators, as the finest cabin in motoring.
Through its development, the Range Rover also pioneered a wide range of key technologies within the SUV market, and was the first 4x4 to include features like ABS anti-lock brakes, electronic traction control, electronic air suspension, lightweight aluminium bodywork and advanced displays including TFT 'virtual' instruments and a 'dual-view' centre screen.
Global adventures and celebrity owners
Spectacular global adventures have been a regular part of the Range Rover heritage, and the vehicle followed in the wheel tracks of other Land Rover models in crossing deserts, climbing mountains, wading rivers and traversing swamps. That luxury touch in no way diminished the car's adventurous spirit.
Even before the car went on sale, the Range Rover completed an arduous crossing of the Sahara driven by project engineers and technicians. Subsequent journeys took the vehicle across impenetrable swampland between Panama and Colombia called the Darien Gap; on the world's first circumpolar journey around the globe; along the Great Divide, following the peaks of the Rockies; through the challenges of the Paris-Dakar and London-Sydney Marathon rallies; and on the arduous Camel Trophy events.
The Land Rover Range Rover's unmatched breadth of capability and iconic style have made it a favourite choice for countless celebrity owners, from princes to politicians, from rock gods to rock climbers, and from footballers to fashion models.
The many famous owners have included the British royal family, sports stars Greg Norman and Michael Jordan, musicians Bruce Springsteen and Madonna, movie stars Jack Nicholson and Keira Knightley, amongst countless others.