Here's proof that Land Rover is set to turn on the style. As the British brand gets ready to push upmarket, Auto Express can exclusively reveal the look of an exciting new model.
Our spies have produced these exclusive images from top secret information.
Based on the LRX concept cars that wowed the crowds at this year’s Detroit and Geneva motor shows, the newcomer is a sporty five-door SUV. It will slot into the range above the Freelander and go head-to-head with prestige brand rivals, including the upcoming BMW X1 and Audi Q5.
The model will showcase technology aimed at increasing efficiency and boosting the marque’s green credentials. A stop-start system and a hybrid drivetrain are likely to appear as top brass attempt to reduce the overall CO2 emissions of the range.
But the exterior will get the most attention. The LRX’s aggressive front end has clearly been a big influence, although the new car also benefits from a versatile five-door body and an increase in height to give extra space for both occupants and luggage.
It is lower than the Freelander it’s based on, however, while shallower side windows and black pillars give the impression of a ‘floating’ roof. At the rear is a handy split tailgate.
Stepping inside, you’ll find a heavily toned-down version of the show car’s cabin. The dashboard and other fixtures are likely to be carried over from the Freelander. Luxurious materials such as leather, wood, carbon fibre and aluminium are expected to be used, while the quality of the plastics will be raised to match.
Buyers can expect a wide range of engine options. Stop-start technology fitted to the 2.2-litre diesel and 3.2-litre straight-six petrol units will lower fuel consumption and CO2 out-put – helping Land Rover meet EU regulations to cut its overall average output to 130g/km by 2012.
There is also the possibility of a hi-tech hybrid system. Using super-capacitors rather than batteries, it will store energy from regenerative braking and a traditional alternator. When the driver wants extra acceleration, the electricity is channelled to motors hidden in the front wheels.
All variants get a chassis biased towards composed on-road ride and handling. But, being a Land Rover, it will also perform well off the tarmac. The firm’s smart Terrain Response all-wheel-drive transmission will provide settings for grass, gravel and snow.
A name for the newcomer has yet to be decided, although Freelander Sport has been suggested. Expect a showroom version as early as 2010.
Ahead by a nose
Aggressive front end features the firm’s
trademark clamshell bonnet, swept-back headlamps and a chunky honeycomb grille.
King of the road
The chassis will be tuned for on-road handling, although Terrain Response system and four-wheel drive ensure car is capable in the rough.
Added flex appeal
Neat split rear tailgate increases versatility,
and is inspired by larger Range Rover. Smart twin exhausts are unlikely to make it to production.