The long-awaited replacement for the Range Rover, which is currently in its tenth year of production, has finally been revealed. And while full specifications are still under wraps, Land Rover has released some of the most vital details in a brief release.
The new model is instantly recognizable as a Range Rover, with proportions and surfacing that are very much an evolution of the previous generation. The details have been updated, however, and we’ll leave the judgment of those to you. Traditional headlight and taillight clusters are accented by tailing and leading extensions that to our eyes too closely resemble the current Ford Explorer. The enlarged “shark-gill” louvers that once lived almost purposefully on the front fenders are now a design affectation on the front doors, which seems rather unnecessary to us as well. Otherwise, the signature floating roofline remains, and it would appear that Land Rover will steal a bit from the Evoque’s playbook (as well as Mini’s) by offering the roof panel in black in lieu of body color.
While there may be discussion over the choice of details, there’s no debate at all over the decision to press that bodywork out of aluminum. Benefitting greatly from sister-brand Jaguar’s extensive experience in all-alloy bodies, the new Range Rover is the first SUV to utilize a fully aluminum monocoque. The resulting body-in-white is an impressive 39 percent lighter than the steel unibody of the outgoing model, with total vehicle weight reduced by about 925 pounds. Not only should the new Rangie be a much better handler both on and off the road, it will no doubt be considerably more fuel efficient as well.
Power will still come form a gasoline-powerd V8. Details are still pending on final engine choices, but we suspect the standard offering will be the current naturally aspirated 5.0-liter making 400 horsepower, with a pair of turbochargers replacing the supercharger on the uprated version, making between 500 and 550 horsepower while deliver improved efficiency. We’ll likely discover the truth in the coming weeks leading up to its official debut at the Paris Motor Show.
Height-adjustable off-road air suspension, a Range Rover development, carries over, but with revisions to improve on-road handling and agility. A new version of Terrain Response automatically detects current conditions and pre-selects the necessary setting to get the truck through tough conditions.
While off-road capability remains a core value of the Range Rover, it sounds as though the development team have showered more attention on the luxury experience. As with the exterior shape, the interior carries over the general aesthetic of the previous model, but with significant updates that give it a cleaner, less cluttered feel. Wood, metal and leather dominate the cabin, and the traditional shift lever has been retired for the corporate rotary dial selector on the center console. Rear-seat passengers gain more than four and a half inches of additional legroom plus improved ingress and egress thanks to a visibly longer wheelbase. A new executive seating option will be offered, taking the normal five-passenger accommodations down to just four, but with a more intimate feel.
Large windows still define the new Range Rover’s greenhouse, only now the windshield and door windows feature acoustic lamination to bring down interior noise levels. A large panoramic sunroof is shown in the pictures, and we suspect it will be offered as standard equipment on U.S.-bound models.
The 2013 Range Rover goes on sale in Europe in September, with North American deliveries starting in December. Pricing and further details will be announced closer to launch, at which time we hope to bring you driving impressions as well.