LAND ROVER has been sprung testing a rival for the successful BMW X6, as well as the upcoming Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe and Audi Q6… and it’s looking very promising indeed.
Originally reported as the ‘Evoque XL’ in some quarters of the British press, the model dubbed the Range Rover Sport Coupe seems certain to surface internationally some time later next year, for a 2018 launch in Australia.
But don’t be fooled by the Range Rover Sport badging, because it is believed that beneath that upsized Evoque-esque silhouette is actually the fabulous lightweight architecture of the Jaguar F-Pace, Jaguar XF, and Jaguar XE. Supporting this are what appear to be very F-Pace-like slimline tail-lights.
Whether this all means an integral link independent rear end for the newcomer is unknown, as some reports suggest that a bespoke air suspension system may also be under development for the high-end English crossover.
Additionally, an aluminium-intensive five-door body will help keep both the weight and centre-of-gravity down (by hundreds of kilos compared to the X6 if what we’re hearing is true), aiding steering, handling, and roadholding capabilities – crucial if the Brits intend to lure BMW buyers away.
As the sloping roofline suggests, cabin space will probably be limited for rear-seat occupants, and Land Rover may even choose to offer this as a four-seater only proposition; however, a deliberately driver-focussed dashboard layout should underline its maker’s intentions to put luxury, design, and dynamics above dreary everyday practicality.
So the F-Pace connection is great news for marque fans who really want to sink their teeth into something terrific on a twisty road, but what about what’s under the bonnet?
Engine choices will be interesting, with all but the base Sport Coupe variants expected to sidestep Jaguar Land Rover’s box-fresh 2.0-litre Ingenium four-cylinder turbo petrol and diesel units, for modified versions of the forced-induction V6 and V8 alternatives as found in its larger Range Rover siblings. There is also talk of hybrid as well as all-electric offshoots, though these will most likely serve on the periphery (if at all) in the Australian market context.
Speaking of which, how much will the 2018 Range Rover Sport Coupe cost? Going on current BMW X6 list prices, don’t go looking for much change from $130,000 for even the most basic variant, while figures stretching well beyond $200,000 are possible for the opulent Autobiography and hard-charging SVR high-performance flagship editions – should they materialise, of course.
Whatever the ask, with elegant styling and a cracking Jaguar-derived chassis, it is clear the Range Rover Sport Coupe will have the design as well as the dynamics to give the German equivalents a bloody nose. Watch this space!
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