The Washington Post

2013 Land Rover Range Rover Preview: 700 Pounds Lighter

Despite early worries based on spy shots that the 2013 Land Rover Range Rover might bear an uncomfortable resemblance to the Ford Flex, the official images dispel any cause for concern. Still iconically Land Rover while upping the modern/tech factor a notch, the 2013 Range Rover wears its complete redesign well.

The new Range Rover also undersells some of its updates, including a weight loss of up to 926 pounds compared to the previous model. The U.S.-spec V-8 Range Rover comes in at 700 pounds under the model currently on sale. That's huge--and it will translate into improved gas mileage and better handling.

So how did Land Rover trim that much weight from the 2013 Range Rover? With aluminum, as the unibody structure is now completely made of the light alloy, instead of the steel used in the outgoing model. The company hasn't specified exactly how much gas that will save the average driver, but we expect it to be significant.

Joining the all-aluminum unibody, the front and rear chassis structure is also all-aluminum. The Range Rover rides on completely redesigned air suspension at each corner, helping to mitigate the harshness in ride quality that aluminum can engender.

As Land Rover's global brand director, John Edwards, puts it, "The new Range Rover preserves the essential, unique character of the vehicle--that special blend of luxury, performance and unmatched all-terrain capability. However, its clean sheet design and revolutionary lightweight construction have enabled us to transform the experience for luxury vehicle customers, with a step change in comfort, refinement and handling."

The 2013 Range Rover is all-new inside, too, adding 4.7 inches of leg room for the rear seat, with an optional two-position seating arrangement in place of the standard second-row bench. Noise levels are kept down with acoustic laminated glass and careful attention to the body's vibration characteristics. Materials and design also focus on high quality while reflecting classic Range Rover design themes. A new sound system developed by Meridian is also standard, while Range Rover's advanced technology like Terrain Response and other driver assistance and chassis control systems are also available.

A choice of V-8 engines will be offered, though Land Rover doesn't specify which--we presume the choice will remain between the 5.0-liter normally-aspirated and 5.0-liter supercharged versions--while a new ZF eight-speed transmission will handle gear shifts.

The first 2013 Range Rovers will arrive in America in December 2012.

(c) 2012, High Gear Media.



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