Not content with knocking a hefty 400kg from the latest generations Range Rover Vogue and Sport, now Range Rover wants to be known as a green car company.
Later this year the British 4WD maker will add a turbodiesel hybrid to the new Range Rover Vogue and Sport ranges, and an economical four-cylinder petrol model to the Sport alone.
Land Rover made the announcements at the VIP reveal of the second-generation Range Rover Sport prior to the New York Auto Show.
The Range Rover Sport shares the Vogue's all-aluminium architecture which reduces vehicle weights by up to 420kg.
One model, said chief programme engineer Stuart Frith, comes in under two-tonnes.
"That was a headline target during development, to get a model under two tonnes, and we managed to achieve this on the I4 model that will launch during the lifecycle of the Sport."
That I4 is likely to be the 177kW / 340Nm 2.0-litre engine from the Evoque and Freelander, and also known to Aussies in 179kW/353Nm form in the Ford Falcon. Land Rover Australia is waiting to see if real-world performance figures live up to the 'Sport' moniker before stamping its passport.
The forthcoming Range Rover Sport Hybrid won't have as much of a positive weight story to tell because Wheels understands components like the electric motor and Lithium-ion battery pack add upwards of 200kg to the vehicle's kerb weight. Range Rover says the hybrid will bring significant economy improvements to both the Vogue and the Sport.
"With the Hybrid we will go from a vehicle with 25mpg to over 45mpg," said Nick Rogers, vehicle line director.
In metric terms that means reducing consumption from 9.4l/100km to just 5.2l/100km, impressive for a two-tonne SUV. These numbers, though, refer purely to highway mileage. A true combined cycle is likely to be 6.4L/100km if Land Rover's boast of 169g/km is accurate.
The hybrid system combines the 3.0-litre turbodiesel V6 engine with a 35kW electric motor connected to the transmission, so hybrid drive will go to all four wheels.
A 1.7kWh lithium battery pack will store captured energy. Range Rover hybrids will be able to accelerate at low speeds purely under electric power. The system will also aid the turbodiesel engine during aggressive acceleration.
The only other hybrid SUV currently is the Porsche Cayenne hybrid, whose 3.0-litre V6 petrol-electric drivetrain produces 279kW and 580Nm, and is rated at 7.1L/100km.
Land Rover says the hybrid's electrics and batteries are all protected so as not to compromise the car's offroad skills or water-wading ability.
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