We're hard pressed to think of a Land Rover that hasn't been equipped with four-wheel-drive, but sources close to the automaker suggest the company's new Range Rover LRX model will ultimately be offered in a front-wheel-drive form.
According to Autocar, the decision wasn't an easy one. Executives had originally nixed the idea of a front-wheel-drive LRX as it didn't hold true to the brand's tradition, but have reportedly reconsidered that stance. The company says the brand "cannot ignore the growth of the two-wheel-drive SUV segment," and has decided to compete.
We're betting Land Rover also can't ignore the various fuel economy and emissions mandates imposed on vehicles, let alone those sold within the European Union. Ditching the prop shaft and rear differential saves weight, making it an easier and less expensive means to improve fuel consumption and CO2 output than implementing a full hybrid system, which is also being considered for the LRX.
Stripping the rear-wheel-drive provisions would theoretically allow the LRX, when fitted with the same 2.2-liter turbo-diesel I-4 found in the European-spec LR2, to emit less than 130 grams of CO2 per kilometer. All-wheel-drive models, on the other hand, will produce roughly 140 grams in the same distance.
Aficionados shouldn't fear -- the LRX, which was first previewed back in 2008 as a concept, will still be offered in an all-wheel-drive form. The front-wheel-drive model is said to launch well after the SUV's debut at the Paris Motor Show this September, and may be relegated to select markets.