With government regulators dictating that only the fuel-efficient and those with low emissions survive, engineers for the next Range Rover faced a Darwinian challenge. The fourth-generation Range Rover, which makes its public debut in September, uses so much aluminum that the company says it’s as much as 926 pounds lighter than its predecessor. That’s equal to two of the Galápagos tortoises that Darwin studied, or about half a Lotus Elise.
Land Rover says that the platform on which the 2013 Range Rover is built is completely new and that it’s the first sport-ute with an all-aluminum unibody structure. That structure, says the company, weighs just 61 percent as much as the predecessor’s unibody. The front and rear subframes also are built completely from aluminum, and have been redesigned from those of the previous model. At the scales, the American-spec 2013 Range Rover should weigh 700 pounds less than did the outgoing ute, giving it a mass of about 5150 pounds. That’s roughly a hundred pounds less than a Porsche Cayenne Turbo, and around 200 pounds less than a Mercedes-Benz GL450 weighs.
Initially, we’ll see two V-8 engines in the U.S. The current 5.0-liter V-8 will carry over with some minor updates, making 375 hp in standard guise and 510 hp when supercharged. An eight-speed ZF automatic transmission is standard regardless of engine. Europeans will see Range Rovers with the company’s new supercharged V-6 and a diesel six, but if either comes to the U.S.—execs have told us that they want to offer diesels here—it won’t at launch.
But as unsexy as “carry over” sounds, a lack of power wasn’t the outgoing Range Rover’s problem. Rather, the experience was upset by handling that made drivers feel as if they were steering from a lifeguard’s chair. Addressing this, the new SUV has a re-engineered adaptive air suspension, and Land Rover claims the Range Rover’s handling will inspire more driver confidence.
To maintain much-needed, rarely explored credibility, the Range Rover still is designed for off-roading. A new Terrain Response 2 Auto system debuts here, and with the company merely describing it as “fully automatic,” we’re not sure if drivers will even need to rotate a knob to pick the terrain mode they desire.
Thanks to: Car and Driver