Land Rover is plotting the launch of the first front wheel drive model in its history, Auto Express can reveal.
The news was revealed by Land Rover boss Phil Popham. The first front wheel drive model will be the so called Compact Range Rover, due to be unveiled later this year.
The two wheel drive machine will be an addition to the range of all wheel drive compact Range Rovers planned, serving as an entry level model that will focus on lower running costs and improved fuel efficiency.
Low emmissions are also promised, with the car producing less than 120g/km of CO2 - all of which will be achieved without the need for hybrid technology.
Land Rover is also likley to benefit from the new two wheel drive powertrain. Though no official announcement has been made, it seems likley that the technology will be made available on a front wheel drive edition of the facelifted Land Rover Freelander - which is due on sale later in 2010. Land Rover is also planning to introduce a new version of the TD4 E stop and start Freelander - this time paired with an automatic gearbox.
Looking further into the future, Land Rover is also working on a hybrid evolution of both this car and the Compact Range Rover - due for launch in 2013.
Land Rover currently has around 100 engineers working in its newly formed hybrid and alternative propulsion development division - the team is currently researching hybrid, full hybrid and range extended electric vehicle techologies for both Jaguar and Land Rover cars.
By the end of this year, the firm will have a test fleet of all three vehicles, including a full hybrid Range Rover Sport called the range_e, and a range extended electric vehicle based on the Jaguar XJ.
The range_e gets a new eight speed automatic gearbox, V6 diesel engine and 190nm electric motor. Unlike the Vauxhall Ampera, the range_e's engine will drive the car's wheels directly. However the car is still aiming for an electric only range of around 50 miles.