Set to debut at the 2005 Detroit Motor Show
3rd January, 2005
The Range Rover for 2006 is the most refined, most luxurious and most powerful Range Rover ever. Two new petrol engines – including a powerful supercharged 4.2-litre – are complemented by fresh exterior design details, a quieter interior and a profusion of new technology.
"The Range Rover has always been the world's most complete luxury SUV," says Land Rover's managing director Matthew Taylor. "With this new, even more refined flagship for the company, we believe that the best luxury SUV in the world is now even better."
The latest Range Rover joins the recently announced, dynamic Range Rover Sport, which has extended the Land Rover line-up to five models for the first time.
"The two Range Rover models complement each other perfectly," says Matthew Taylor. "The Range Rover for 2006 is our luxury SUV. The Range Rover Sport is our performance SUV, a driver-focussed sports tourer. Two different models will enable us to compete even more successfully in the market and take the Range Rover name to even greater success."
The Range Rover for 2006 gains two powerful, Jaguar-derived petrol engines, which offer more performance and are predicted to have better fuel economy than the single outgoing V8 petrol. Now heading the line-up is a supercharged 291 kW (400 bhp SAE) 4.2-litre engine, with maximum torque of 560 Nm (420 lb ft SAE). It offers over 35 percent more power than the outgoing V8, over 25 percent more torque – which contributes to more refined driving – and is projected to be around 1.5 seconds faster from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph).
The new, naturally aspirated 225 kW (305 bhp SAE) 4.4-litre V8 is also quicker and more powerful than the outgoing V8. The 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) acceleration time is projected to be around half-a-second faster and maximum power is increased by 15 kW (20 bhp).
Both engines are lightweight and use advanced torque-based engine management systems that, together with drive-by-wire throttle control and variable camshaft phasing (on the naturally aspirated), continually adjust the engine to deliver optimum performance, fuel economy and emissions.
For the Range Rover, the Jaguar-sourced engines have been further developed to offer more torque at lower revs and to operate at more extreme angles to cope with tough off-roading. They have enhanced protection from dust and rocks, and are also better water-proofed for Land Rover's tough river-wading requirements.
The new engines are matched to the latest-generation ZF six-speed automatic electronically controlled transmission, which offers outstanding smoothness and response. It uses a centre differential (now electronically controlled) that improves both off-road prowess and on-road handling. Low-range is also available for extreme off-roading.
Steering feel is enhanced and the air suspension with adjustable ride-height is improved, for even better on- and off-road performance and comfort.
In addition, the supercharged version gets performance Brembo front brakes for better stopping power, and revised suspension that delivers flatter handling, for superior high-speed on-road performance.
"Supreme breadth of capability is a hallmark of the Range Rover," says Matthew Taylor. "It is outstanding both on- and off-road, and inspires a sense of well-being no matter what the conditions. The new Range Rover for 2006 offers even better performance, both in handling and straight-line speed. It is effortless irrespective of terrain.
"The arrival of the supercharged model with its extra power reinforces the Range Rover's status at the head of the premium 4x4 sector. Yet, as always, the Range Rover is a vehicle that is never out of place. It is just as much at home in the outback as at the opera."
The Range Rover retains its iconic shape, but there are subtle yet distinct changes. All Range Rovers for 2006 get a new front bumper design, new headlamps and tail-lights, a new front grille and revised power vents. New 18-inch and 19-inch alloy wheels are also available. The supercharged derivative gets distinctive, additional styling modifications, which include mesh-design front grille and power vents, and unique 20-inch alloy wheels.
"The current Range Rover, launched in 2002, is a design classic that has been fantastically well received," says Land Rover's director of design Geoff Upex. "It carried over the original Range Rover design cues – the clamshell bonnet, the floating roof [created by the black roof pillars], the split tailgate, and the bold upright front with its simple grille and interplay between the vertical and horizontal lines. It clearly owes its lineage to the original Range Rover, launched in 1970, yet is also modern and fresh.
"The technological improvements for the 2006 model year gave us a chance to make the best SUV in the world look even better. For the naturally-aspirated model, we have made only subtle enhancements, to give the design an even more integrated look and feel. No major changes were necessary, or desired," says Upex.
The original Range Rover also created a whole new class of vehicle – the luxury SUV. It combined style, prestige, saloon car handling, and the spaciousness of an estate, with the ruggedness and versatility of a Land Rover. Those qualities have continued through all three generations of Range Rover, up to the present day.
Despite increased competition, the Range Rover is still regarded by many as the world's ultimate luxury SUV. "For the supercharged model, we wanted clearly to signal to the connoisseur car market that there is now a new flagship Range Rover. That's why this model has even more stature and grace. It is very much part of the Range Rover family: it's a vehicle of presence rather than extravagance. But it is also clearly the ultimate version of the ultimate 4x4."
The much-acclaimed Range Rover interior design does not change. The supercharged model, however, does offer two new trim colour combinations, jet/jet (all black) and ivory/jet. Black lacquer wood is also now available, and all supercharged vehicles get special sports-designed stainless steel accelerator and brake pedals.
The Range Rover for 2006 is not only faster, it is also quieter. The new engines offer better NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) qualities than their predecessor, and are also better isolated from the interior. Cabin noise is significantly reduced. The front side glass is now laminated to cut out more external sound and the profile of the A-post has been modified to reduce wind noise. The result is the quietest Range Rover ever.
It is also the best equipped. Additional customer features available include a rear camera for easier reverse parking, a tyre pressure monitoring system and adaptive front headlamps that swivel when cornering, to improve illumination. A rear seat entertainment system is now available, with two headrest-mounted 6.5-inch screens, a six-disc DVD auto-changer, infra-red remote control, wireless headphones and sockets for auxiliary media sources (such as an MP3 player or games console).
These improvements are in addition to other luxury appointments (optional in some markets). These include a DVD satellite navigation that provides both on- and off-road guidance, a Logic 7 harman/kardon audio system boasting 14 speakers and 710 watts of power, and a personal integrated telephone system. This latest in-car phone is Bluetooth-enabled and can be voice, touch-screen or steering wheel operated. Cradle-mounted phone handsets also allow for SMS text messaging (via an on-screen keyboard). A new, easy-to-use touch-screen is standard on all derivatives. It has clear resolution, for easy visibility in all light, and provides an interface for audio, navigation, on-board computer, telephone, and 4x4 information and settings.
The popular six-cylinder turbodiesel powertrain (not available in some markets, including North America) continues unchanged, though with the refreshed exterior design details and additional features for 2006.
"The Range Rover has been a huge commercial success for Land Rover with most markets enjoying record sales when the current version was introduced in 2002," says Matthew Taylor. "The improvements for 2006 are the biggest changes we have made to the Range Rover since then, and they reinforce its position as the most complete and most coveted luxury SUV in the world."
Specifications for the Australian market will be announced closer to local release time, which is likely to be late 2005.