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Land Rover Range Rover, Range Rover Sport Add Turbodiesel V-6 Engines

Up to 28 mpg from new engines.

After selling diesel models overseas for years, Land Rover is finally bringing an oil-burning engine to the U.S. market. Land Rover executives announced the new engine plans ahead of the 2015 Detroit auto show.

The Land Rover models adding diesels are the expensive Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. The base models use a supercharged V-6 gasoline engine with 340 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. The new Td6 diesel is the same displacement (2993 cc) but the torque figure jumps to 440 lb-ft at only 1,750 rpm. That's only 21 lb-ft off the grunt of the optional supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 gas engine. Horsepower sits at 254 for the Td6. The company quotes a 0-60 mph time of 7.1 seconds for the smaller Range Rover Sport (7.4 seconds for the full-size Range Rover) with the diesel engine -- less than 0.5 seconds behind their gas V-6 counterparts. Across the pond, things are even better: A hotter twin-turbo SDV6 diesel Range Rover Sport with 288 hp is available, and Europe also gets the 4.4-liter V8 diesel with an impressive 516 lb-ft of torque.

No matter; fuel economy is the big story with the Td6. Land Rover's estimates peg both the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport equipped with the diesel at 22 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. Compare that with 17/23 mpg for the supercharged V-6 and 13/19 for the supercharged V-8. As a result, the Range Rover Td6 models feature a bladder-busting 658-mile range. As on the two gasoline engines, the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport will use an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, and will boast tow ratings of 7,716 pounds.

Sales of the Range Rover Td6 models in the U.S. begin in the fall of 2015, for the 2016 model year. Expect around a $2,500 price premium for the diesel over the gasoline V-6 models, but Land Rover notes that residual values should be better for the oil burner. With the success of both the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport in the market place, we'll see how the diesel models fare. Land Rover is already on a roll, with worldwide sales up 9 percent in 2014. Given that dealers are having trouble keeping Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models in stock, we wonder if the addition of diesel engines to the U.S. market is more to meet fuel economy standards versus increasing sales. There's also the issue of our present cheap gasoline prices, as well as the usual price premium for diesel.

Cleaning up the diesel to meet the strict U.S. LUV 3 emission standard is handled by a diesel particulate filter (DPF) in the exhaust system as well as a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system utilizing diesel exhaust fluid (DEF). Land Rover estimates a 10,000-mile range under normal use before refilling the 6.9-gallon DEF tank is necessary. The larger of the two DEF reservoirs sits beneath the vehicle, cutting the fuel tank size from 27.7 to 23.5 gallons compared to gasoline models. But with the aforementioned range increase from the improved efficiency, we doubt road-trippers will complain.

As with most diesels, refinement is a concern for engineers. The Range Rover Td6 models feature dual-isolation engine mounts and Land Rover installs windshields with acoustic laminate to help lower the level of diesel clatter entering the cabin.

Alan Jones, chief engineer for diesel calibration and emissions at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), said that clinics in New York, Colorado, and California led the drivability development of the engine. Jones is particularly proud of the engine's "step off" characteristic -- its ability to effortlessly move away from a dead stop. American buyers' demand for a gasoline-like experience led to an "impressive" calibration that will be used for worldwide production.

But JLR says it's committed to diesel in the U.S. market and the Td6 engine in the top-spec SUVs is only the start. Jaguar's new BMW 3-series fighter, the XE, goes on sale in the USA in 2016 and will offer the new Ingenium 2.0-liter diesel engine. JLR says that nearly all of its U.S. models will offer a diesel engine within the next 3 years -- except the F-Type sports car. We expect to see vehicles like the new Land Rover Discovery Sport getting the XE's 4-cylinder diesel setup. The big question is, will Jaguar and Land Rover buyers in our country hop on the diesel bandwagon? We'll see, come late this year.