Well here’s an interesting rumor/report/notion/speculation: Range rovers are going to be dropping a lot of weight, and they will be getting a lot better gas mileage in the near future. Ever since Ford sold the Land Rover brand to Tata, LR has been working on a variety, and letting slip out accidentally on purpose, a bunch of lighter weight concepts. Now it seems, if our sources are to be believed, that the next-generation Range Rover will be the first benefactor of those not so secret efforts when it rolls out in 2012.
The upcoming SUV flagship from Land Rover is likely to be similar to the current model, looks-wise, but it will supposedly have a noticeably lower roof. A lower roof means that there will be less frontal area and, therefore, the overall aerodynamic drag. Less drag means better fuel mileage, at least on the highway.
And as far as dropping all that weight is concerned. Rover says it will be reduced by going with a riveted aluminum chassis, which is the same type of construction as the Jaguar XJ. Jaguar being the other Brit brand that Tata picked up from Ford. They also say they will be relying heavily on composite materials to help cut weight, using the high tech stuff for body panels. No specifics were given on what kind of composites, but since price has never seen to be much of a concern for Range Rover, or their buyers, they’ll probably go with carbon fiber. And actually, that’s not as exotic a solution as it used to be years ago.
The chaps at Land Rover say they are targeting a cut of 450 kilograms or 992 pounds. Sure, that sounds sort of do-able, but it seems to me they’re going to have to work on working more than just the chassis and body panels in that way.
So will all this supposed weight savings be the factor in getting that 33 mpg figure. Sure, it’ll help, but it will mainly come from dropping a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 engine under the (hopefully carbon fiber) bonnet of the new uber-SUV when it arrives. That 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 plant is already being used in the Jaguar XF and XJ and it should bring CO2 emissions down from the current 300+ grams / kilometer to under 200 g/km. It also boasts a fuel economy of 33 mpg. A diesel-hybrid is also expected in the lineup a couple of years after launch.