Land Rover is less than two years from launching its new flagship model, which will replace the current Range Rover. The sport/utility makes a switch from a steel hull (with some aluminum panels) to a full aluminum monocoque. The aim is to cut at least 1100 pounds from the current 6000-pound mass, which would place it in the Jeep Grand Cherokee weight class. The company also intends to cut consumption with radical plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle powertrains.
Even so, the vehicle will instantly be recognizable as a Range Rover. The design, done under the auspices of design director Gerry McGovern, has been frozen. McGovern's first full Range Rover design is the Evoque, which sticks very closely to his LRX concept car. McGovern is keen to introduce more jewelry into Range Rovers, making them less minimalist and overtly functional, and the Evoque shows this.
"But the Range Rover itself must maintain elegance and formality," he says. Its basic forms will be "even more pared down [than the current model's]." McGovern told Motor Trend he will enhance its premium look with more and better-crafted external detailing. This is likely to include the jewelry around the lights, grille, and air vents.
The Range Rover's visual design will not be simply an upscaled Evoque. Rather than using the wedge stance or full surfaces, it will retain the formal and upright stance of the current model, with a deep greenhouse, sheer sides, square corners, and a level hood and roof. The interior will focus on higher-quality materials. Real metal will be used for large visible elements in the cabin, as well as switchgear and handles. Land Rover has employed ex-Spice Girl Victoria Beckham, who has a successful fashion business, as a consultant to give the team new insights into high-value materials. Backseat comfort is a priority. Reclining climate-controlled rear seats will be an option, since many customers in emerging markets like as China and Russia use chauffeurs.
The aluminum monocoque is a major shift from the current model's steel chassis. Jaguar Land Rover has immense expertise in the area, with two generations of aluminum XJ under its belt. The structure will be pressed and riveted, with large, intricate aluminum castings for items such as the front suspension towers and cross beams. Certain areas of the XJ's understructure can be used, but the majority will be new to give the strength and wheel articulation required for an off-roader.