Land Rover launched the original Range Rover in 1970 as a larger, more-comfortable and more-luxurious alternative to the traditional Land Rover.
The Range Rover didn't come to North America until 1987, but when it did it quickly became a status symbol and initiated what was to become the highly lucrative luxury SUV market segment that now includes a whole arraye of competitors.
That original Range Rover persevered until 1996, when it was replaced by a short-lived second-generation model, and a third-generation variant appeared in 2002.
After ten years without any major change, it's more than showing its age so the introduction of an all-new fourth-generation Range Rover, planned for the Paris auto show in September, is not before its time.
Based on photos and preliminary information, it appears to be well worth the wait. Its clean and contemporary design remains instantly recognizable as a Range Rover.
According to the company, it has been engineered from the ground up to be the most capable, most refined Range Rover ever – lighter, stronger, and with new levels of refinement.
The world’s first SUV with an all-aluminum unibody structure, it's said to be about 320 kg lighter than its predecessor in North-American trim, with a 5.0-litre V-8 engine and a new eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. That's a weight reduction of more than 10%!
The all-aluminum unibody structure itself is 39 percent lighter than the steel body in the outgoing model. In addition to an optimized body structure, measures such as acoustic lamination of the windshield and side-door glass are said to significantly reduce noise levels,
Land Rover says the new model is both roomier and more luxurious inside, with almost 12 cm more rear legroom. A two-place rear seating package is optional.
High-tech features inside include exclusive sound systems by British audio specialists Meridian.
A split, power-folding upper and lower tailgate setup offers ease of access and versatility.
The chassis incorporates re-engineered four-corner air suspension and an adaptive dynamics suspension system helps to refine its ride quality while sharpening its s handling and agility.
According to the company, the new suspension architecture delivers flatter, more confident cornering abilities, with a natural and intuitive steering feel.
Innovations include the next-generation of Land Rover’s Terrain Response system, which analyses the current driving conditions and road surfaces through on-board sensors, and automatically selects the most suitable vehicle settings program for the terrain.
Of course, being a Range Rover, you can be sure it maintains its legendary Land Rover off-road capability, in addition to improved on-road handling and agility
The all-new Range Rover will be available in over 160 markets worldwide, with North American customer deliveries scheduled to start in December 2012.