The next Range Rover isn’t just one model, but two, and it will be joined by the new 2014 Range Rover Sport, and, possibly, a new variant of the Range Rover Evoque.
Range Rover times two
At the Paris auto show in October, Land Rover/Range Rover is going to unveil the fourth-generation Range Rover. It combines an evolutionary exterior with an even plusher interior that blends classic styling cues with modern content. We have seen plenty of spy shots and renderings of the world’s most aristocratic SUV, but it’s still a well-kept secret that the team from Gaydon will also release a second body style of the top Rover. Arriving one year later is an even more sumptuous, fancier, and costlier, long-wheelbase edition that features a 6-inch-longer wheelbase and luxury equipment inspired by the Autobiography series. Whereas the standard Range is a five-seater, the extended version seats only four. In addition to more legroom, the two, individual, power-operated rear seats feature heating, ventilation, and a massage function.
The new Range Rovers are built on a new, Premium Lightweight Architecture (PLA), which will be shared with the next Range Rover Sport—and a Jaguar crossover. PLA is an aluminum-intensive vehicle architecture that is supposed to be even lighter and stiffer than Audi’s aluminum spaceframe. Naturally, the fourth-generation Range Rover will retain its air suspension, the terrain response driving mode selector, and the eight-speed automatic transmission. New to the flagship model are electro-hydraulic power steering, the latest infotainment wizardries, and a host of driver assistance systems. The supercharged, 510-hp, 5.0-liter V-8 returns, with a supercharged, 408-hp, 3.0-liter V-6 arriving a few years later. Oh, and there’s also a plug-in hybrid version that combines six-cylinder power with two 55-hp electric motors.
2014 Range Rover Sport
The all-new Range Rover Sport is the second PLA vehicle, and will be revealed in late 2013. Although it retains its ranking one full notch below the Range Rover, the new RR Sport can be had with a third row of seats, but they’re only suitable for children. The design is more aerodynamic, more aggressive, more dynamic. Even wider and lower than the model it replaces, it combines coupe overtones with a truly butch stance.
Range Rover is also pondering adding a long-wheelbase version of the Evoque, although this body style has not yet been signed off. What complicates the business case is the potential overlap with the follow-up to the Land Rover Freelander. (Yes, there will be one, and it’s due in 2014.) Although the next Freelander is quite different in appearance, price, and character than the more expensive and more stylish Evoque, the Land Rover does have a seven-seat option firmly penciled in. The question everyone asks is this: Should Land Rover and Range Rover both offer a seven-seat version of their compact SUVs? The answer will determine whether the proposed Evoque XL sees the light of day or not.
Renderings by Scott Olsen