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    Thread: New Range Rover lightens up

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      New Range Rover lightens up

      A new, lightweight Range Rover featuring a roomier, super-luxury interior and 40mpg fuel economy is due in autumn 2012.

      The all-alloy Range Rover will also form the basis of a new Range Rover Sport which, for the first time, will also be offered with a seven-seat interior; that variant will become the successor to the current Discovery.

      Both of the new Range Rover models are in the final stages of their engineering definition and the styling of the Range Rover (project L405) will be signed off in the middle of this year.

      The new Range Rover will have a similar footprint to today’s car — it grows by around 25mm to a shade under five metres long — so the main change is a lower roofline. That will reduce the Range Rover’s perceived bulk and also cut aerodynamic drag.


      Styling and construction

      Land Rover’s styling team, led by chief Gerry McGovern, is working with a similar palette of design details to today’s car. So expect an imposing upright nose and horizontal, multi-bar grille, oblong headlights, together with a flat beltline and airy glasshouse, topped by the characteristic floating roof.

      The all-new, pressed-alloy platform has given engineers the freedom to create a more spacious interior package. The wheels have been pushed closer to the front and rear corners, extending the wheelbase by around 25mm. Thanks to this gain, the extra 25mm in overall length and internal packaging improvements, the new car will feature much improved rear legroom, up by 125mm.

      “The feedback from existing customers was [that they wanted] more rear legroom, so that’s what we’re going to give them,” said one insider. Although the roofline is lower, packaging improvements will ensure similar headroom to today’s Range Rover.

      Land Rover’s design team is working on Bentley levels of cabin quality with a harmonious mix of leather, wood and metallic finishes. “The level of workmanship in the interior will really knock out the opposition,” said another well placed insider.

      Under the skin, the new alloy bodyshell of riveted pressings has some commonality with Jaguar’s new XJ, although JLR counts the two structures as separate platforms. Similarly, the electrical system is shared between the two.

      Alloy construction will bring huge weight benefits. Land Rover is understood to be targeting a kerb weight saving of 450kg, which will cut the new Range Rover down to 2150kg.

      Around half that loss is understood to come from the alloy bodyshell, while the other half comes from detailed engineering improvements, lighter components and advanced materials.

      Some of the body panels are understood to be made of composite materials, including the front wings and possibly the rear tailgate.


      Engines

      The new lightweight Range Rover will record some spectacular improvements in economy, C02 and performance.

      Two diesel engines will be offered at launch: a 300bhp TDV8 and a 260bhp TDV6, mated to eight-speed ZF gearboxes with stop-start. Petrol V8s will be available soon after. The extra power and lower kerb weight means that the V8 diesel will offer a 0-60mph time of less than 8.0sec and close to 30mpg.

      The TDV6 is likely to take over from the V8 as the best-seller thanks to its blend of fuel economy and performance. The target is get the TDV6 under 200g/km of C02, a spectacular figure given that today’s Range Rover is a 300g/km car. Performance should match the outgoing TDV8.

      Also due a couple of years after launch is a super-frugal diesel hybrid. After experimenting with capacitors in place of batteries, Land Rover is understood to be taking a more conventional approach. The target is low C02 emissions, possibly of around 170g/km.


      Off-road
      The new Range Rover will use the world’s first alloy-monocoque 4x4 bodyshell, so much thought has gone into making it rugged enough to survive off road.

      With that in mind, Land Rover will mount the front and rear suspensions on tough subframes. They will feed suspension loads into the bodyshell through advanced soft-rubber bushes.

      The drivetrain will continue to feature a transfer box and the front and rear axles will be tough enough to survive the worst conditions and abuse that Land Rover’s engineers can chuck at them.
      Source :: Autocar
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      The future of Land Rover

      from the same source

      Land Rover’s long-term product plan has taken a back seat while the Range Rover line-up has been given priority.

      The recent Discovery revamp has assured the seven-seater a future in its current form until 2014 at least, and Project Icon, the plan to replace the Defender, is being finalised.


      But the long-term strategic direction of the Land Rover brand and its model range is still being firmed up.

      Significantly, there isn’t yet a concrete production plan for the next-generation Discovery after 2014, and the replacement for the Freelander is still up in the air. Likewise the project to create a seven-seat Freelander (codename L486) was quietly shelved when the effects of the economic crisis struck in 2009.

      There are many reasons for this uncertainty, but the significant one has been justifying the hefty investment while LR’s strategy was unclear, in contrast to the strong case for replacing Range Rover products.

      The Ford sell-off also had an effect, and key decisions were delayed during the process. Then Tata needed to get acquainted with its new purchase before signing off any new models.

      This process was duly followed by the global financial meltdown, forcing JLR into survival rather than expansion mode. It’s easy to see why decisions have been taking so long.

      What’s more, a new management team — Carl-Peter Forster at Tata Motors and Ralf Speth at JLR — needs to be comfortable with the future plan before investment is committed.

      Tied in to all of these strategic decisions is the future of Land Rover’s Solihull plant, expected to be named for closure by the middle of this decade.

      At least a slightly more certain economic outlook has allowed a consensus on Land Rover’s direction to emerge, although alternatives are understood to be under consideration.

      The idea is to reposition Land Rover closer to its utility roots, a move that will create more space between the brand and Range Rover. Today’s cars overlap too much — the Discovery is in essence a seven-seat Range Rover — and the forthcoming Range Rover LRX will tread on the Freelander’s toes.

      JLR estimates there’s a three-million-vehicle market worldwide for pick-ups and utility 4x4s, and currently Land Rover sells just 25,000 units into that sector. How Land Rover expands its range with models that fit its brand image and extends its appeal globally is occupying the company’s best brains right now.

      The existence of the seven-seat Range Rover Sport tells us a lot about the thinking on the post-2014 Discovery, too. The first seven-seat Range Rover will take over where today’s Discovery leaves off.

      But there is also an idea to make a new seven-seat Discovery closer to the 1989 original. Based around the new Project Icon/Defender platform, it would be rugged and mechanically relatively simple, but more luxurious than the Defender, while being far more workmanlike than its Range Rover siblings.

      More importantly, it would be designed to appeal to a global audience, particularly in developing countries and the BRICs: Brazil, Russia, India and China. The latter is already Land Rover’s third-biggest market after the UK and US. Success with the Icon Project and the Defender/Discovery might ultimately make it the biggest.
      Try walking into YOUR car rather than crawling. For me walking is always best ---GURU SHISHIR

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      Looks awesome ,the tdv8 i heard produces 50kgm torque right from idling.

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