The Range Rover Sport is the best-performing and best-handling vehicle that Land Rover has ever built. Designed to complement the renowned Range Rover - which continues as the company's flagship - the Range Rover Sport is a completely new vehicle, a more compact, more agile and more performance-oriented SÚV.
It combines invigorating dynamic ability wîth outstanding comfort and refinement. Land Rover calls it a 'sports tourer'. This reflects its ability effortlessly to cover long journeys quickly and comfortably, and yet also to deliver sharp handling and exhilarating performance. Its on-road prowess is complemented by class-leading off-road capability.
The top-line version uses a 287 kW (390 bhp SAE) Jaguar-derived supercharged V8 engine and has a top speed of 225 km/h (140 mph), electronically limited. It is the fastest and best-accelerating vehicle that Land Rover has ever made. A normally aspirated V8 and advanced turbodiesel V6 are also available (diesel not available in North America and some other markets).
'The Range Rover Sport is an additional, fifth nameplate for the Land Rover brand,' says managing director Matthew Taylor. 'It competes in the growing performance SÚV market, but is different from all rivals.
'It is a sports tourer that offers the excitement of a performance car but wîth the versatility and go-anywhere ability of a Land Rover. Únlike rivals, its high performance doesn't stop when the road gets rough - or runs out. It is an outstanding four-wheel-drive off-roader, as you'd expect from Land Rover. And on road, compared wîth its rivals, we believe it is less frenetic, more refined and more comfortable. It all adds up to the broadest range of capability in its class.
'It also perfectly complements the existing Range Rover - the most complete luxury SÚV. It will be priced between the Discovery 3/LR3 and the Range Rover in the Land Rover product range.'
Refined, High-Performance Engines
The top Range Rover Sport model uses a 4.2-litre supercharged 287 kW(390 bhp SAE) V8 engine. Derived from the renowned engine used in Jaguar performance models, it has been specially developed for Land Rover needs. Maximum torque is 550 Nm (410 lb ft), and power and torque are fed, full-time, to all four wheels through a ZF six-speed 'intelligent shift' automatic gearbox. The transmission features sport programming and Land Rover's Command Shift?, which offers manual control of gear changes. Low range is electronically selectable 'on the move', for tough off-roading.
Other engines offered are the Jaguar-derived 220 kW (300 bhp SAE) 4.4-litre normally aspirated V8 and the advanced new 2.7-litre 140 kW (190 bhp) turbodiesel V6, which produces a healthy 440 Nm of effortless torque. They use the same six-speed ZF automatic gearbox and the same full-time four-wheel-drive system as the supercharged model. Other high-technology features of the powertrain include an electronically controlled centre differential, which improves the vehicle's handling both on-and off-road.
Tuned For On-Road Performance, But Class-Leading Off-Road
The new Range Rover Sport is the best 'driver's vehicle' that Land Rover has ever made. The company's new and unique Integrated Body-frame? structure, first seen on the Discovery 3/LR3, has been tailored for the Range Rover Sport. To reinforce the vehicle's sporty character, and improve agility, the wheelbase is 14 cm (six inches) shorter. The fully independent, air-sprung suspension has also been tuned for exhilarating on-road performance. Minimum body-roll and maximum driver feedback were priorities. Double wishbone suspension front and rear - as typically featured on the world's leading sports cars - is used.
A new Land Rover technology, Dynamic Response, further reduces roll and improves handling. This computer-controlled active anti-roll system senses cornering forces and then acts to reduce lean. It's one of the key reasons why this powerful SÚV has the agility and handling of a much smaller sporty vehicle. It is standard on the supercharged model, and optional on other versions.
In keeping wîth its 'driver's pedigree', much work on the chassis tuning of the Range Rover Sport was undertaken at the Nürburgring race circuit in Germany, in addition to the extensive and rigorous on-road and off-road Land Rover development programme. On the supercharged version, four-piston race-bred Brembo front brakes help give superb braking ability.
In addition to its inspiring on-road performance, the Range Rover Sport is exceptionally competent across all terrains, from packed snow to boulders. Land Rover's highly effective new Terrain Response? system, which made its production debut on the new Discovery 3/LR3, is standard on all models. It allows the driver to choose one of five terrain settings via a pop-up rotary control on the centre console. Terrain Response then automatically selects (or guides the driver to select) the most appropriate settings for the vehicle's many advanced electronic controls and traction aids - including ride height, engine torque response, Hill Descent Control, electronic traction control and transmission settings.
High-Speed Luxury. Packed With Technology
The Range Rover Sport is one of the most aerodynamic of all SÚVs. Although packed wîth recognisable Range Rover cues, it is stylistically different in many ways. The windscreen is more steeply raked, the roofline is lower and sloped, the glass is flush fitting, the characteristic Range Rover bonnet castellations have been smoothed away and the vehicle sits lower.
The Range Rover Sport has five doors, wîth a single-piece rear aluminium tailgate that includes an opening rear glass for easy access.
Despite its comparative lowness, it is still a roomy SÚV, offering space and comfort for five people. Premium materials - including leather, wood and metallic finishes - are used extensively. The cockpit is designed around the driver, and is more enveloping than other Land Rovers. The high and sweeping centre console helps the driver reach across to the controls, rather than down to them. The seats are sporty and supportive.
'The interior is far more cocooning than the SÚV norm,' says Matthew Taylor. 'Yet there is still the characteristic Land Rover Command driving position, which gives a superb view of the road ahead and the scenery around you. The Range Rover Sport will appeal to those who currently drive luxury executive cars (sedans) as well as the more sporty SÚVs, thanks to its overall refinement and unmatched breadth of capability.'
It is also the most technologically advanced Land Rover to date. Apart from Terrain Response, Dynamic Response and a host of other advanced powertrain and traction controls, the Range Rover Sport features Adaptive Cruise Control (its first Land Rover application), bi-xenon adaptive front lighting and the latest generation satellite navigation, both on- and off-road. Audio systems by harman/kardon and a twin-screen DVD rear seat entertainment system, using high-resolution screens enclosed in the front seat headrests, are available.RANGE ROVER SPORT - IN BRIEF
Tapered, flowing style makes the Range Rover Sport one of the most aerodynamic SÚVs in the world
Traditional Range Rover styling cues but in a much more sporting shape
Spoilers and side skirts help high-speed stability but are also designed wîth off-roading in mind
Two Superb Petrol Engines & A State-Of-The-Art Diesel
Flagship model uses 287 kW (390 bhp SAE) supercharged V8 engine, wîth top speed (electronically limited) of 225 km/h (140 mph)
Normally aspirated V8 and advanced diesel V6 engines also offered (diesel not available in North America and some other markets)
Advanced ZF six-speed automatic 'intelligent shift' transmission that also features a Sport mode and Command Shift manual gear changing
Two-speed transfer box. Low range, for serious off-road conditions, can be selected electronically on the move
Full-time four-wheel drive
'E diff' in centre differential and rear differential further improve handling and off-road ability
Strong & Spacious Body
Integrated Body-frame combines strength and rigidity
Rigid body aids handling and agility
Body strength copes wîth tough off-road conditions
Excellent crash protection thanks to strong structure and six airbags as standard
Outstanding On- & Off-Road Dynamics
Broadest breadth of capability in the performance SÚV class
Exhilarating handling and agility, fused wîth impressive ride comfort and refinement
New Dynamic Response system ensures flatter cornering and excellent driver feedback
Full-time four-wheel-drive plus advanced electronic controls such as Electronic Traction Control, Dynamic Stability Control and Hill Descent Control
Terrain Response maximises traction whatever the terrain, and optimises drivability and comfort
Anti-lock brakes plus new Electronic Park Brake
Speed-proportional power-assisted rack-and-pinion §teering for precise high-speed driving and good manoeuvrability at low speed
Four-piston Brembo brakes on supercharged model
'Driver-biased' sports cockpit that sites major controls close to the driver
Command view seating position offers excellent visibility
Architectural interior design featuring premium materials
Air conditioning on all models
State-of-the-art in-car entertainment, including availability of harman/kardon 'Logic 7' system for ultimate hi-fi performance
Satellite DVD navigation on- and off-roadDESIGN
'The Range Rover Sport looks like it's going fast - even when it's standing still.' That was one of design director Geoff Úpex's priorities when the vehicle was conceived.
'When people see the vehicle they should want to get in and drive it immediately,' says Úpex. 'It had to look dynamic and exciting, and be utterly tempting. We wanted a compact, muscular, hewn-from-the-solid design that promised great power.'
It also had to look like a member of the Land Rover family. But wîth a sporting attitude.
'We used many of the classic Range Rover design cues, like the floating roof - achieved by the blacked-out roof pillars - but treated them in a different way,' says Úpex. 'Range Rover Sport is a less formal vehicle and has more emotion. It had to look more dynamic, more active, and be more aggressive. The design is less geometric and has more flow: it is more rounded, more compact, tighter and more tapered. That's the reason why this vehicle does away wîth the Range Rover's bonnet castellations. We wanted a smoother, more aerodynamic look.'
The windscreen is steeply raked, and the roof is lower than on other Land Rovers. The glass area is shallower and the rear D-pillars are faster. Wheels are pushed out to the corners and are big - 20-inch on the supercharged model - to fill the wheel arches and convey the vehicle's sporty character. Bigger tyres also offer more grip.
There are front and rear spoilers plus side skirts. They not only increase the sporty character of the styling, but also improve high-speed stability and the aerodynamics. The new Range Rover Sport is one of the world's most aerodynamically efficient SÚVs, wîth a drag coefficient of 0.37 (0.36 on some diesel models).
The aerodynamic aids have also been designed wîth off-roading in mind. The front spoiler is made from rubber, so can withstand knocks from rocks and ruts, and the side skirts not only improve stability and the drag coefficient, but also stop mud splattering the sills and prevent stone chips to the paintwork.
The rear of the roof is extended by a tail spoiler. This appears to lengthen the roof line and gives a sportier appearance, as well as forming a 'flick line' to extend the airflow rearward. This reduces wake turbulence and improves the aerodynamics. Flush-fitting glass and smooth surfacing around the lights further improve the vehicle's ability to cleave the air.
The Range Rover Sport has a single tailgate wîth a separate lifting glass. Únlike the Range Rover's split tailgate - which necessitates a flat rear end - the Range Rover Sport has a rounded rear. This gives the vehicle a more compact, tighter look and also helps smooth the airflow around the rear of the vehicle.
The nose of the vehicle bears a strong resemblance to the acclaimed Range Stormer concept car, which previewed the Range Rover Sport when unveiled at the 2004 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. As wîth Range Stormer, the Range Rover Sport offers a powerful supercharged V8, which demands the efficient passage of air around the engine. The perforated mesh grille helps maximise airflow into the engine bay, while one of the two side vents helps get air out of the bonnet area quickly. The other side vent is an intake for the engine induction system.
The headlight cluster continues the latest Land Rover family look but is slimmer than those used on the Range Rover and Discovery 3/LR3. It also features adaptive headlights, which swivel wîth the direction of travel to illuminate the road ahead. Bi-xenon lights are available for even better illumination and lower maintenance. Rear lights are also distinctively styled. Headlamp mouldings, front grille, vents, door handles and tailgate appliqué all have 'Tungsten' metal finish.
The supercharged version is distinguished by the use of brightwork for the perforated grille and side air intakes, black and silver Land Rover badges, 20-inch wheels and twin stainless steel exhausts.POWERTRAIN
Three light, compact engines are offered in the Range Rover Sport (depending on market), the most powerful being a supercharged 287 kW (390 bhp SAE) petrol V8.
Supercharged V8 engine
'Supercharged engines have a strong tradition in British sporting vehicles,' says Range Rover Sport chief programme engineer Stuart Frith. 'They provide smooth, big engine performance right across the rev range while being compact and efficient.'
The mighty supercharged, 4.2-litre V8 is the flagship engine. Derived from the normally aspirated V8 engine also available in the Range Rover Sport, the supercharged version has 30 percent more power and 29 percent more torque. Yet it has the same compact package and similar fuel economy.
Acceleration time from 0-100 km/h is 7.6 seconds; from 0-60 mph, 7.2 seconds (figures subject to final confirmation).
The Range Rover Sport's V8 supercharged engine is not only more compact than a V10 or a V12, it has less friction and less complexity.
As the supercharger is permanently employed to boost intake charge, the extra performance is present across the entire rev range - unlike an exhaust gas-driven turbocharger.
The Eaton supercharger is positioned on top of the engine, in place of the normally aspirated induction system. Driven by a dedicated belt, the supercharger has two meshing impellers that ram air through twin intercoolers - to optimise air density - into the combustion chambers. The intercoolers have their own cooling radiators and there is also an additional air blast oil cooler.
The camshaft profile is revised to allow the valves more movement to provide for the larger gas flow, while the fuel injectors have been calibrated to suit the high flow demand of the supercharged engine.
The engine capacity is reduced (from the 4.4-litre normally aspirated) by the use of cast iron cylinder liners that take down the bore from 88.0 mm (3.46 inches) to 86.0 mm (3.38 inches). This strengthens the block by increasing the web thickness between the cylinders. Stroke remains the same at 90.3 mm (3.56 inches). The pistons have a revised bowl profile to suit the characteristics of the supercharged engine.
The result is a capacity of 4.2 litres, maximum power of 287 kW (390 bhp SAE) at 5750 rpm and a massive 550 Nm (410 lb ft) of torque. This engine helps make the Range Rover Sport the fastest vehicle Land Rover has ever built.Normally aspirated V8 engine
A normally aspirated, 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine is also available in the Range Rover Sport. Sharing many of the features of the supercharged engine, this Jaguar-derived unit is renowned for its light weight, compact dimensions and efficiency.
The quad-cam (two overhead camshafts per cylinder bank) engine delivers 220 kW (300 bhp SAE) at 5500 rpm and 425 Nm (315 lb ft) of torque at 4000 rpm. The camshafts are chain driven, while the chains and sprockets are of a fine pitch 'silent design' using inverted teeth, offering improved refinement over conventional chain drive. The camshafts operate four valves per cylinder, for optimal breathing and efficiency.
One of the world's lightest V8 engines, it has a cylinder block and heads made from aluminium, while alloys are used in many other components to save weight. The engine uses Variable Camshaft Phasing (VCP), which automatically and continuously controls valve timing depending on driving behaviour and outside temperature. It is controlled by an electronic throttle, which allows throttle 'mapping' to change depending on driving conditions and provides an interface to the vehicle's Terrain Response system. There is also a 'limp home' facility, in the event of a system failure - crucial for a vehicle that may be used in remote areas.
Like the supercharged unit, the normally aspirated V8 is made in a state-of-the-art engine plant in Bridgend, Wales.
Compared wîth the Jaguar equivalents, the Land Rover engines have been further developed, particularly to increase their capability off-road. Like all Land Rovers, the Range Rover Sport must be able to tackle mountains and wade rivers, as well as cruise boulevards and motorways. The aluminium sump has been designed to ensure lubricant delivery at the extreme angles likely in off-roading and oil capacity has been increased by 18 percent. The oil pump has been redesigned and oil sealing has been improved for wading. Engine ancillaries have been positioned as high as possible to avoid damage from rocks and ruts and other off-roading hazards.Turbodiesel V6 engine
The refined but economical 2.7-litre turbodiesel V6 engine available in the Range Rover Sport is one of the newest and most advanced diesels in the world (not available in North America and some other markets). This latest generation, common-rail engine operates at fuel pressures of 1650 bar - typically 25 percent higher than previous systems. This gives greater control over combustion and better flow at the injectors wîth benefits to fuel economy, emissions and refinement.
In the Range Rover Sport, the turbodiesel engine develops 140 kW (190 bhp) at 4000 rpm and produces 440 Nm (325 lb ft) of torque. Maximum torque is developed at only 1900 rpm for excellent drivability and off-road capability.
The engine runs wîth a compression ratio of 17.3:1, relatively low for a diesel. This reduces heat build-up in the piston bowl, further improving fuel-burning efficiency, reducing fuel consumption and emissions. The low compression ratio also reduces engine noise. The engine is fitted wîth a single 51 mm (2.0 inches) diameter KKK turbocharger wîth an electronically controlled Variable Nozzle Turbine (VNT).
The equivalent Jaguar engine uses twin turbochargers, but the choice of a single turbo provides the Land Rover unit wîth increased torque and improves transient response. The turbocharger is fully sealed to suit Land Rover wading requirements. The VNT optimises charged air delivery at all engine speeds by altering the angle of the turbine vanes. This effectively widens the turbine inlet at low speed to improve torque and narrows it at higher engine speeds for better power response.
The engine block is made from Compacted Graphite Iron (CGI), the first use of this material in volume engine production. It combines strength, stiffness, light weight and durability, allowing this engine to be physically smaller than most rival V6s. The inherent stiffness of CGI also improves durability and noise suppression. The strength allows the cylinders to be bored directly into the block casting, which removes the need for cylinder liners, saving weight.
The crankshaft is carried in four main bearings, each cross-bolted wîth six bolts to provide a solid mounting and control vibrations. In its Land Rover application, the crank is further supported by an aluminium ladder frame attached to the bottom of the crankcase. A steel sump is attached to the ladder frame. The oil pick-up point is designed so that the vehicle can operate safely at extreme off-road angles, and baffle plates prevent oil surge and foaming.
The cylinder heads are pressure die-cast in high-strength aluminium alloy. Each head carries twin camshafts operating four valves per cylinder. This 24-valve layout optimises engine breathing to improve economy and reduce emissions through better combustion. The camshafts are driven by a toothed belt, coated in PTFE to reduce friction. For reliability and durability, the belt is dedicated to drive only the camshafts.
The inlet manifold is made from lightweight composites and is moulded integrally wîth the cam covers. It is isolated from the cylinder heads by an elastomeric material that reduces vibration, improving refinement.
The engine is equipped wîth a glow plug in each cylinder to assist in cold starts, while the exhaust oxidation catalysts are positioned as close to the engine as possible to ensure a rapid warm-up. 'Intelligent Shift' automatic transmission
All Range Rover Sport models have an advanced ZF six-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission, which distributes power full-time to all four wheels. One of the most advanced transmissions in the world, this ensures ultra-smooth gear changes and superb throttle response. Manual Command Shift gear changing is offered, and, on the supercharged derivative, the engine is automatically 'blipped' during downchanging to match the engine speed to the lower gear. This delivers a faster and smoother shift.
For the Range Rover Sport, the Command Shift feature has been developed to give a more sporty 'feel' to the change and the response time of the compact gear lever is also more immediate than on other Land Rovers.
There is also a Sport transmission mode, which - in an first - allows the throttle to 'blip' during auto downshifts under heavy braking. This helps engine braking and ensures that the vehicle is in the optimum gear when leaving the bend.
In the Sport mode, the engine holds lower gears for longer. When cornering loads are detected, upshifts are also delayed - to allow the driver to have more 'feel' during cornering. Torque disturbances caused by gear changes are avoided.
The fully adaptive 'intelligent shift' transmission alters its settings depending on the driving style and conditions. Aggressive driving means upshifting will be delayed, to allow for higher revs and more power. A more gentle driving style means upshifts will be delivered sooner, allowing for a more relaxed driving experience. The 'intelligent shift' facility works in both normal and Sport modes.
The gearbox casing is unique to Land Rover, being especially stiff. The strong plastic-moulded sump has also been designed specifically for Land Rover, and offers superior off-road protection. The gearbox electronic control unit, made by Bosch, is housed within the sump for superior shielding. It communicates, by a high-speed link, wîth the vehicle's other systems, including Terrain Response.Twin-speed transfer box and electronic differentials
The Range Rover Sport has a twin-speed transfer box wîth both high (for normal conditions) and low (for off-road) ranges. The shift is electric and can be made on the move. It is unusual for a sporting SÚV to offer this low-range facility, which enormously improves traction over difficult or steep terrain.
The centre differential is fully active. This 'e-diff' biases drive between the front and rear axles (in normal conditions it is distributed 50:50) and automatically varies torque depending on conditions. It can also be locked, to help traction in extreme off-roading. This is also performed automatically. An ECÚ controls an electric motor that locks the centre diff using a multi-plate clutch.
An electronically controlled locking rear 'e-diff' is available. It is also controlled by the centre differential ECÚ. The differentials are mounted directly onto the chassis, to maximise ground clearance, giving improved off-road ability.DRIVING DYNAMICS
The Range Rover Sport is the best-handling, most agile and most exhilarating vehicle that Land Rover has ever produced. Fully independent double wishbone suspension is used front and rear. An innovative new anti-roll control - Dynamic Response - ensures that the vehicle's attitude stays flat even at speed on challenging corners, while also preserving ride comfort and suppleness.
'The goal - as wîth all Land Rovers - was the broadest breadth of capability in the class,' says chief programme engineer Stuart Frith. 'But we had to shift the centre of capability towards sporty driving. That is the key ability of this vehicle. Yet we did not want to sacrifice ride comfort and refinement. And we also wanted to retain excellent off-road ability.'
The Range Rover Sport has been tuned primarily for on-road performance. Priorities were agility, roadholding, handling, excellent braking performance and tremendous driver appeal. Development testing included high-speed laps of Germany's notorious Nürburgring race circuit.
Air spring suspension
The suspension uses electronically controlled air springs, for an optimal balance between responsive handling and comfort. The springs become firmer at high speed and during cornering, and are automatically more compliant at lower speeds or on rough roads. They provide a 'best of both worlds' ability that conventional steel springs, as typically offered in rival sporty 4x4s, cannot achieve. The air springs are also excellent for off-roading, partly because they allow for height adjustment of the body.
Sports car-like monotube dampers improve wheel control at high speed, and give the vehicle a more stable planted-to-the-road feel.
Land Rover's unique Dynamic Response system, a computer-controlled active anti-roll control, ensures flat cornering and excellent driver feedback. It is standard on the supercharged vehicle, and optional on the normally aspirated V8 and diesel models.
An engine-driven pump powers hydraulic motors that act on the anti-roll bars to alter their stiffness in response to vehicle cornering forces. Computers measure §teering angle and horizontal acceleration and determine the moment at which the vehicle will lean. Dynamic Response then operates the hydraulic motors the instant the vehicle starts to roll. Its actions are imperceptible to the driver, but boost the sporting character of the vehicle.
The Dynamic Response system on the Range Rover Sport allows for a much more supple ride on road, and helps give the vehicle much more 'feel' and handling suppleness, especially over undulating or slightly uneven roads. It allows for both excellent roadholding and the suspension suppleness which delivers great feedback. But on rough surfaces and off-road, assistance is automatically reduced and allows maximum wheel cross-articulation in extreme conditions.
Steering is by ZF Servotronic rack-and-pinion wîth speed-sensitive power assistance. The rack is rigidly mounted directly onto the chassis frame for improved §teering response.
'The Range Rover Sport has very linear §teering, to help the driver feel in absolute control of the vehicle,' says Land Rover's chief engineer, vehicle integrity, Mike Cross. 'The speed-sensitive power assistance allows for impressive agility at low speed and for superb stability at high speed.'
The §teering rack is mounted ahead of the front axle, further to improve the vehicle's §teering response. It is also mounted low to preserve the crash performance of the front end and is protected by a substantial cross member.
Adaptive Cruise Control
The Range Rover Sport's relaxed high-speed demeanour is further improved by the availability of Adaptive Cruise Control. Radar monitoring allows the Range Rover Sport to maintain a set speed and distance from the vehicle in front. This system can make motorway driving more relaxing and safer.
In keeping wîth its role as a sports tourer, the Range Rover Sport is designed to have supple suspension and superb mechanical refinement.
'We wanted the vehicle to have the best overall behaviour on-road, wîth an outstanding blend of comfort, refinement, agility and precision,' says Mike Cross. 'So it is equally at home on smooth winding roads, over long motorway distances and on smaller roads that have bumps and undulations.
'Many of its rivals are not relaxing to drive on poor road surfaces. The Range Rover Sport is developed to be less frenetic and more relaxing. We believe it has a superior ride, is quieter, has a more comfortable cabin, and is a true sports tourer that can cover great distances effortlessly and swiftly.'
As well as being outstanding on-road, the Range Rover Sport is also supremely capable off-road, as expected from a Land Rover.
'We build vehicles that can perform on almost any terrain,' says managing director Matthew Taylor. 'We fundamentally believe that your enjoyment should not stop just because the road does. Most rival sports SÚVs can only cope wîth soft off-roading. The Range Rover Sport is an impressive road vehicle that can also cope superbly in the rough.'
The vehicle's Integrated Body-frame structure, as also used on the new Discovery 3/LR3, is enormously strong and offers superb protection for vulnerable electrical and hydraulic systems, as well as major mechanical components.
The transmission includes a two-speed transfer box, wîth low range electronically selectable on the move. The air sprung suspension is height adjustable, allowing the whole body to be lifted clear of ruts, rocks and rivers, and any other impediments to smooth off-road progress. The result is far more ground clearance, off-road, than any sports SÚV rival.
The Dynamic Response active anti-roll system is automatically deactivated once the vehicle goes off-road, improving wheel articulation. This allows for full and free movement of the suspension, as if no anti-roll bars were fitted. When a side-slope is detected off-road, though, the hydraulic motors used in Dynamic Response lock the anti-roll bars, minimising vehicle lean to allow for a secure traverse.
Wheels & tyres
As wîth all Land Rover models, the standard tyres have multi-purpose compounds, which mean they're suitable for both on- and off-road.
All road wheels are cast in aluminium alloy and are designed to withstand damage from kerbing and from off-road obstacles. Aluminium alloy wheels also help to disperse the heat generated during braking, reducing brake fade.
The wheels have been specified to accommodate the large brake discs (wheel specification may vary by market). The entry-level wheel is 17 inches in diameter and seven inches wide, while the standard wheel is 18 inches in diameter and eight inches wide. A premium wheel is available on certain models, and is of 19-inch diameter and eight-inch width. Vehicles fitted wîth the V8 supercharged engine have 20-inch wheels. All wheels have a 'J' type profile to maximise tyre retention in the event of deflation.
The spare wheel is carried on a frame located under the vehicle, between the side members, and is lowered using a winch arrangement. The mounting and the wheel itself contribute to the rear end crash performance of the vehicle.
The high-speed supercharged model gets supercar-standard four-piston Brembo front brakes for optimal braking performance. All models get large ventilated discs front and rear.
There are two different brake sizes offered. The supercharged and normally aspirated V8 models get 337 mm x 30 mm front discs and 350 mm x 20 mm rear discs. The diesel model gets 317 mm x 30 mm front discs and 325 mm x 20 mm rear discs. Normally aspirated and diesel models get twin-piston sliding callipers on the front brakes and single-pot callipers on the rear.
The latest generation four-channel Bosch ABS anti-lock brakes are standard on the Range Rover Sport. This system also provides sensing and power for other dynamic control systems fitted to the vehicle, including Hill Descent Control (HDC), Electronic Traction Control (ETC) and Dynamic Stability Control (DSC). The system incorporates Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) to provide optimum braking regardless of the load state of the vehicle. Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) provides additional pressure to the braking system if a sudden application of full braking is sensed.
The Range Rover Sport is fitted wîth an Electronic Park Brake. Application of the park brake is by a console-mounted switch. It is disengaged automatically when driving off. This device frees up the valuable space in the centre console area that would otherwise be taken by a conventional hand brake mechanism. The park brake acts on a 210 mm drum incorporated into the rear brake discs.
Land Rover's new Terrain Response system is an advanced but easy-to-use technology that makes driving easy and improves traction. It maximises grip and safety in all conditions, but especially off-road. Simply select one of five Terrain Response settings to suit the driving conditions and a range of the vehicle's functions are tuned to deliver optimal performance. The five programs are for:
1. General driving (for normal on- and off-road conditions)
2. Grass/gravel/snow (for various slippery conditions, including on-road)
3. Mud & ruts
5. Rock crawl
Terrain Response uses a high-speed network of electrical architecture to control the relevant vehicle features, systems and technologies including:
Engine management system: The throttle map is altered, improving drivability by matching torque delivery to the chosen terrain
Electronic control system: Of the automatic gearbox to optimise gear change points
Air suspension ride height: When low range has been selected, the air suspension automatically raises to off-road height whenever Terrain Response is switched from 'general driving' to any of the other settings
Dynamic Stability Control (DSC): Normally stops torque to a wheel after loss of traction, but in some off-road situations torque feed is still desirable, even when traction is being lost. Terrain Response automatically adjusts the DSC, so appropriate torque is maintained
Electronic Traction Control & Anti-lock Brakes: These slip and braking control systems are adjusted and tuned by Terrain Response to offer optimum grip, braking power and safety on the chosen terrain
Hill Descent Control (HDC): This Queen's Award-winning Land Rover technology automatically restricts speed downhill, using the anti-lock brakes, and enables drivers to remain in control even on the most slippery of downhill stretches. HDC is automatically engaged on appropriate Terrain Response programs, and downhill speed rates vary depending on which surface is selected (in 'rock crawl' the lowest speed is selected to prevent vehicle damage)
Electronically controlled centre & rear differentials: With different slip or locking rates for the different terrains
Terrain Response works continuously. It made its production debut in 2004, on the new Discovery 3/LR3.
Says chief programme engineer Stuart Frith: 'Terrain Response is like having an expert beside you, telling you what gear and what settings you should be in. It makes off-road driving easier, in particular, and allows you to get the best out of the vehicle continuously, irrespective of the conditions.'
Land Rover's innovative new Integrated Body-frame platform architecture matches the strength of a ladder-frame wîth the rigidity of a monocoque, delivering the best of both approaches. First used on the new Discovery 3/LR3, the structure has now been developed for use in the Range Rover Sport, including a shorter wheelbase, by 14 cm (six inches), to improve agility.
The ingenuity of the Integrated Body-frame structure lies in its advanced computer-aided design, its trend-setting hydroforming production process and the use of advanced high-strength steels.
Hydroforming uses fluid pressures rather than conventional tooling to form shapes. It allows for a much greater range of shapes and sizes and tighter tolerances, increasing precision and reducing weight.
'The Integrated Body-frame is a superb starting point for the suspension systems of the Range Rover Sport,' says chief programme engineer Stuart Frith. 'It is a strong, immensely rigid structure, tapered at the front and rear for superior styling and aerodynamics. It is at its widest in the centre, for maximum strength in the central passenger area.'
The structure has most of its weight sited low, to give a low centre of gravity for good handling. In addition to its extra strength, compared wîth a monocoque, another advantage of the Integrated Body-frame is that vulnerable systems, cables and pipes can be packaged within the structure, offering great protection during off-roading.
To provide the smooth but sporty feel that characterises the vehicle, special 'mini dampers' have been employed between the frame and body. The dampers are fitted adjacent to the body mounting rubbers and together form a 'mini suspension system'. They further improve ride comfort and reduce noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), while also improving driver feedback.
Additional vibration dampers are also fitted to the chassis, to refine the vehicle's comfort further.
Steel and aluminium panels
As wîth a conventional monocoque body (as used on most saloons and sports cars) two monosides are welded to the floor, roof and bulkheads to form a strong and rigid single structure. The doors and front wings are made from steel, and are separate bolt-on assemblies. On the Range Rover Sport, enormously strong boron steel is used for the A- and B-pillars for added body strength, and for protection in roll-overs.
The bonnet and tailgate continue Land Rover's long history of using aluminium for large panels. This saves overall vehicle weight and helps ease opening and shutting. Lightweight magnesium alloy is used in the front structure and forms part of the front crash crumple zone.
The Range Rover Sport has a single-piece lifting tailgate, unlike the two-piece tailgates of the Range Rover and new Discovery 3/LR3. This one-piece design allows for a more rounded and aerodynamic vehicle shape. However, the glass area within the tailgate lifts separately, to allow easy boot access, especially in tight-fitting spots.
All the steel panels vulnerable to corrosion are zinc-coated and all the alloy structures - of which Land Rover has more than 50 years' experience - are treated to prevent electrolytic interaction wîth adjoining steel components.
As well as offering good active safety - owing to its host of electronic stability controls, powerful brakes and class-leading traction - the Range Rover Sport also has exceptional passive safety.
The Integrated Body-frame combines strength and rigidity. It improves vehicle safety, by providing occupants wîth an enormously strong structure to protect against collision damage. The hydroformed side members give exceptional side impact protection, and work in conjunction wîth side-impact bars and airbags.
The frame structure is at its widest in the passenger area, to shield occupants and vital parts of the vehicle, such as the fuel tank. Buckle points control its collapse in an accident, as it crumples, taking energy away from the occupants.
In addition, the front of the Integrated Body-frame has its collision 'load path' as low as possible. This is designed to reduce damage to smaller vehicles in the event of an accident, by impacting where the other vehicle's safety systems typically work most efficiently. The Range Rover Sport has also been designed wîth a lower bumper line, to match conventional cars.
All Range Rover Sport models have six airbags. Front impact protection is provided by the driver's airbag, deployed from the §teering wheel hub, and by a passenger airbag deployed from the facia.
The side-impact protection system has a combination of seat-mounted airbags for the front seat occupants and side curtain airbags running the length of the passenger compartment. The curtain airbags deploy downwards to provide head protection for passengers during severe side impacts.
An automatic protection sequence takes place in the event of a crash. This includes instant shut-down of the engine and fuel system and operation of the hazard warning system to warn other road users. All the interior lights are activated and all doors are automatically unlocked.
The seats have high bolsters to improve lateral support and provide maximum grip for the driver and passengers. Occupants sit in them, not on them. The Range Rover Sport seats five in comfort, though the rear seat has pronounced profiling for the outer seat occupants, to provide maximum comfort and support on long journeys, in the tradition of great 'grand tourers'.
Both front seats have power adjustment as standard wîth the driver's seat having an eight-way power system - the switches are located in the seat valances. A memory function is available. Both front and rear seating positions are equipped wîth two-level cushion heating. Both front seats have manually adjustable head restraints, which house the twin LCD screens for the DVD system (where fitted).
With the roof-line profile tapering towards the rear, the rear headlining is deeply profiled around the sunroof cassette to give maximum headroom to the rear seat passengers.
The interior design is complemented by a choice of high quality trim fabrics in four interior colour ways. The seats are offered wîth a premium cloth as standard and a high-grade leather option. Vehicles fitted wîth the V8 supercharged engine have a unique and distinctive 'sparkle' leather trim as standard. A premium leather trim which features a softer leather in a ruched style is also available.
The rear seat splits asymmetrically and 'flips and folds' to provide maximum space in the rear load area. The boot is one of the biggest in the class, and provides plenty of space for sporting equipment - including golf clubs - and also sufficient room for bicycles and ski gear.
The instrumentation is clear and well displayed. Circular analogue gauges have metallic bezels and are grouped neatly in the main binnacle, directly in front of the driver. The large centre console is high and comparatively close to the driver. The short, sporty gear lever is angled to the driver. The other side of the console is given over to storage and cup holders that are capable of taking the largest 'big gulp' beverage containers. The vehicle's use of an electronic parking brake means that the console area is unencumbered by a manual handbrake lever and its linkage.
The facia design accentuates vertical and horizontal lines. This very geometric composition is typical of Land Rover's interior design philosophy, as seen on other recent vehicles. On the Range Rover Sport, however, the instrumentation and major switches are closer, and the driver is more enveloped by the controls.
The driver sits high, and enjoys the Command driving position characteristic of Land Rovers. Visibility is excellent - fore, aft and sideways. It is easy to see over parked cars, traffic and hedges, as well as over spray on wet roads. All four corners of the vehicle are visible for easier parking and manoeuvring. The big glass area provides a superb panorama.
'A vehicle that can take you anywhere should offer a great view when you arrive,' says Matthew Taylor.
Craftsmanship and quality are key features of the new Range Rover Sport's cockpit. Apart from the premium cloth and leathers used for the seating upholstery and the luxurious cut-pile carpeting, wood and metallic finishes are also widely used. The switchgear, which is unique to Land Rover, has a chunkiness and precise movement that is typical of a quality vehicle. Controls that are used regularly, such as facia vents and major switchgear, have a rubberised finish to improve tactility. All grab handles are damped.
The facia is supported on a die-cast magnesium alloy cross beam that is both light and strong. It provides excellent support, reducing the likelihood of any movement, squeaking or rattling. The facia moulding is in Thermoplastic Úrethane (TPÚ) which has a soft, premium feel, resists fade caused by sunlight, and has minimal plasticizers, reducing the 'mist' deposited on the inside of the screen.
Roof trim and door pillar trim are soft fabric. Two roof-mounted consoles provide interior lighting. Low-level 'waterfall' lighting is incorporated into the front dome lamp, and is activated when the headlamps are turned on.
Automatic air conditioning is standard, and includes a particulate filter to remove pollutants in both fresh air and recirculating modes. The temperature is selected using facia-mounted controls. There are separate controls for the driver and front seat passenger, and both sides operate independently. For the rear seat passengers, there are two vents at the back of the centre console.
The Range Rover Sport has a comprehensive in-car entertainment and information system, including the availability of a twin-screen DVD system. Other features include a harman/kardon 'Logic 7' digital surround-sound in-car hi-fi, a comprehensive navigation system including on- and off-road modes and an integrated telephone. The different elements of the 'infotainment' system are connected by a fibre-optic MOST network for rapid data transfer.
The top-of-the-range sound system has been developed by harman/kardon using advanced 'Logic 7' technology. This system uses 14 speakers and is powered by a 12-channel digitally controlled amplifier. Each channel produces 50 watts to create a 'surround-sound' stage within the vehicle.
The head unit is integrated into the facia and can store up to six CDs in its integral stack, as well as receiving a variety of broadcast wavelengths. It can also play MP3 files recorded on CDs, giving a capacity equivalent to 66 albums.
A centre fill speaker is positioned in the middle of the facia 'topper panel'. Each front door is fitted wîth a bass unit, mid-range speaker and a tweeter. The rear doors each have a metal matrix bass unit and a tweeter. An 11-inch sub woofer is integrated into the tailgate and two surround-sound speakers are fitted into the rear headlining.
The mid-range hi-fi system features nine speakers and a six-stack CD player. A single CD system is also available which uses an internal amplifier powering eight speakers.
A rear twin-screen DVD system is available, wîth two 165 mm (6.5 inch) high-resolution LCD screens fitted in the rear of the front seat head restraints and a six DVD changer mounted in the boot area. The video output can be streamed into the front facia-mounted 180 mm (7-inch) LCD screen when the vehicle is stationary. The soundtrack can be played through the 'Logic 7' system to give a full surround-sound cinema experience. Games stations and MP3 units can also be connected to the system.
A state-of-the-art satellite DVD navigation system is available, which includes the latest generation of off-road navigation. (posted on conceptcarz.com)
Jam-busting Traffic Message Channel (TMC) systems, where available, broadcast on a specific radio channel to warn of hold-ups. The satellite navigation system can suggest an alternative route.
The navigation system is controlled via the high-resolution, easy-to-read-in-any-light front screen, which is touch-activated. Two buttons switch the screen between the main 'Home' menu and the navigation system. The screen also displays information from the Terrain Response system. Voice recognition is available for navigation and audio controls.
The Range Rover Sport offers an integrated mobile phone that employs a system developed by Nokia. This installation incorporates the Bluetooth system for remote operation although non-Bluetooth phones can be fitted into the cradle for recharging. The phone cradle is mounted in the cubby box lid and will accept most popular models of mobile phones, including 'flip phones'. Bluetooth-enabled phones will function even if not inserted in the cradle.
The phone is integrated into the vehicle's audio system and has a microphone mounted in the roof console. Incoming speech is relayed through the audio system, which mutes the normal programme when a call is received or placed.
Though expected to spend much of its life on-road, the Range Rover Sport still had to undergo Land Rover's arduous on-road and off-road test programme - probably the most varied and toughest in the automotive , covering over four million test and development miles in all.
Challenges varied from the Nürburgring race circuit and the Nardo high-speed test track in southern Italy, to the bone-jarring tracks of the Nullarbor Plains in Australia's inhospitable outback. The Range Rover Sport has also powered along German autobahns, rushed up sand dunes and ploughed through the thick mud of Eastnor Castle, on the England/Wales border.
Extreme hot weather testing was done in Dubai and Death Valley, as well as Australia and South Africa - in heavy town traffic as well as in the wilds. And to experience temperatures a full 80 degrees cooler, the Range Rover Sport ventured to Canada and Sweden. The vehicle's performance on ice and snow was also fine-tuned here.
Despite its on-road emphasis, the Range Rover Sport had to meet all Land Rover's usual off-road testing criteria - the toughest in the automotive . It has to be able to wade in water 700 mm deep on excursions. Climb and descend 45 deg gradients. Remain stable when driving across a 35 deg slope. The handbrake must hold the vehicle on a 45 deg slope (harder than the average). And the vehicle must operate in temperatures as extreme as minus-40 deg C to plus-50 deg C.Source - Land Rover
Following the aftermath of World War II in 1947, the Land Rover was created by the Rover Company that (prior to the war) had produced luxury vehicles. Immediately following the war, luxury vehicles were no longer in demand, and raw materials were strictly rationed to companies building industrial equipment or construction materials, or products widely exported to earn essential foreign exchange for the country. The Series are broken down to I, II, and III to differentiate them from later models and were off-road cars influenced by the US-built Willy's Jeep.
All three models had the option of a rear power takeoff for accessories and could be started with a front hand crank. The Rover featured leaf-sprung suspension with selectable two or four-wheel drive and the Stage 1 featured permanent 4WD. The Rover company was forced to move into a large 'shadow factory' in Solihull, near Birmingham, England after their original factory in Coventry was bombed during the war. Originally built to construct aircraft, the factory was now empty but to begin car production there from scratch wouldn't be a financially viable option.
Plans were made to produce a small, economical concept called the M-Type and few prototypes were made, but it was found too expensive to produce. Land Rover's chief designer; Maurice Wilks, came up with a concept to produce a light agricultural and utility vehicle, with an emphasis on agricultural use, similar to the Willy's Jeep utilized in the war. Wilks' design added a power take-off (PTO) feature since there was an open gap between jeeps and tractors in the market. The original concept; a cross between a light truck and a tractor, was quite similar to the Unimog, which was developed in Germany at the same time.
The first Land Rover prototype was built on a Jeep chassis and used the gearbox and engine out of a Rover P3 saloon car. It had a very distinctive feature; the steering wheel was mounted into the middle of the car; so it became known as the 'centre steer'. To save on steel which was rationed at the time, the bodywork was hand-made out of an aluminum/magnesium called Birmabright. Since paint was also in short supply the first production vehicles were painted army surplus green paint. Led by engineer Arthur Goddard, the first pre-production Land Rovers were developed in late 1947.
Just like a tractor would drive farm machinery, the PTO drives from the front of the engine and from the gearbox to the center and rest of the vehicle. The vehicle was also tested plowing and performing other agricultural chores before the emphasis on tractor-like usage decreased and center steering proved impractical in use. At this point the bodywork was simplified to reduce production time and costs, the steering wheel was mounted off to the side like normal vehicles, and a larger engine was fitted, together with a specifically designed transfer gearbox to replace the jeep unit. All of these updates resulted in a vehicle that didn't utilize a single Jeep component, was shorter than its American inspiration, but heavier, wider, faster and still retained the PTO drives.
Originally the concept was designed to be in production a short 2 or 3 years to gain some export orders and cash flow for the Rover Company so it could restart up-market car production. Once production started though, it was greatly outsold by the off-road Land Rover, which developed into its own brand that today remains successful. A lot of the rugged design features that have made the Land Rover design such a success were a result of Rover's drive to simplify the tooling required for the vehicle and to use the minimum amount of rationed materials. The aluminum alloy bodywork has been retained throughout production despite it being more pricy than a conventional steel body, along with the distinctive flat body panels with only simple, constant-radius curves. Also remaining simple is the sturdy box-section ladder chassis, which on Series cars was made up from four strips of steel welded at each side to form a box, making a more conventional U or I-section frame.
Unveiled at the Amsterdam Motor Show, the Land Rover Series I began production in 1948 and continued for 10 years. Originally designed for farm and light industrial use, the Series 1 featured a steel box-section chassis and an aluminum body. Beginning as a single model offering, the Land Rover from 1948 until '51 used an 80 inch wheel base and a 1.6-liter petrol engine that produced around 50 bhp. The 4-speed gearbox from the Rover P3 was utilized with a brand new 2-speed transfer box. Much like several Rover cars of the time, the Series 1 incorporated an unusual 4-wheel drive system with a freewheel unit. Allowing a form of permanent 4WD this disengaged the front axle from the manual transmission on the overrun. The freewheel could be locked in place by a ring-pull mechanism in the driver's footwell to produce a more traditional 4WD. The Series 1 was a basic car, with tops for the doors and a roof of canvas or metal was an optional extra. The lights moved from a position behind the grill to protruding through the grille in 1950.
Since not all consumers would want a Land Rover with the most minimalistic of interiors so Land Rover launched a second body option in 1949 dubbed the 'Station Wagon'. The Wagon was fitted with a body built by Tickford; a coachbuilder known for their work with Rolls-Royce and Lagonda. With seating for up to seven people, the bodywork was wooden-framed and in comparison to standard Land Rover's, the Tickford featured leather seats, a one-piece laminated windscreen, a heater, interior trim, a tin-plate spare wheel cover and other options. Unfortunately the wooden construction made them pricy to produce and tax laws made them even worse since the Tickford was taxed as a private car and attracted high levels of Purchase Tax. Because of this, less than 700 Tickfords were sold and all but 50 were exported. Today these early Station Wagons are highly collectible.
The petrol engine in the Series 1 was replaced with a larger 2.0-liter I4 unit in 1952 with a 'Siamese bore' which meant that were no water passages between the pistons. The uncommon semi-permanent 4WD system was replaced during 1950 with a more conventional setup, with drive to the front axle being taken through a simple dog clutch. The legal status of the Land Rover was clarified around this time as well, meaning it was exempt from purchase tax.
Unfortunately this also meant that the vehicle with limited to a speed of 30 mph on British roads. Following a charge with exceeding this limit by a Land Rover owner, and an appeal to the Law Lords, the Land Rover's classification was changed to a 'multi-purpose vehicle' which was only to be classed as a commercial vehicle if used for commercial purposes. Today this classification continues to apply today with Land Rovers registered as commercial vehicles being restricted to a max speed of 60 mph (compared to the maximum 70mph for normal cars) in Britain, though this rule is rarely upheld.
Big changes came to the model in 1954 with the 80 inch wheelbase model replaced by an 86 inch wheelbase model and 107 inch 'Pick Up' version introduced. The additional wheelbase was added behind the cab area to provide extra load space.
The following year the first five-door model 'Station Wagon' was introduced on the 107 inch chassis and featured seating for up to ten people. The 86 inch model was a three-door vehicle with room for up to seven people. Very different from previous Tickford models, these new station wagons were being built with simple metal panels and bolt-together construction instead of the complicated wooded structure of the older Station Wagon. Dual purposed, the Station Wagons could be used as commercial vehicles as people-carries and also by private users. Much like the Tickford version, the wagons came with basic interior trim and equipment such as roof vents and interior lights.
The first expansion of the Land Rover range began with the Station Wagons. They were fitted with a 'Safari Roof' which consisted of a second roof skin fitted on top of the car. The roof kept the inside cool in hot temperatures and reduced condensation in cold weather. Vents fitted into the roof added ventilation to the interior. Station wagons were based on the same chassis and drive-trains as the standard vehicles, they carried different chassis numbers, unique badging and were advertised in separate brochures. Unlike the original Wagon, the new in-house versions were very popular.
To make room for the new diesel engine, the wheelbase was extended by 2 inches to 88 inches and 109 inches to accommodate the new diesel engine, which was an option the following year. With the exception of the 107 Station Wagon, which would never be fitted with a diesel, this change was made to all models and would eventually be the final series I in production.
For 1957 the 'spread bore' petrol engine was debuted, followed closely by a brand new 2.0 liter Diesel engine, that even though it had similar capacity, it wasn't related to the petrol engines used. The petrol engines at the time used the old-fashioned inlet-over-exhaust valve arrangement, while the diesel utilized the more modern overhead layout. This engine was one of the first high-speed diesels developed for road use, producing 52 hp at 4,000 rpm. The wheelbase was increased from 86 to 88 inches for the short-wheelbase models, and from 107 to 109 inches on the long-wheelbase, since the engine was slightly longer than the original chassis allowed. These extra two inches were in front of the bulkhead to accommodate the new diesel engine. For the next 25 years these dimensions were used on all Land Rovers.
In 1958 the Series II Land Rover was debuted and continued its production run until '61. It came in 88 inch and 109 inch wheelbases. The first Land Rover to receive consideration from Rover's styling department; Chief Stylist David Bache produced the well-known 'barrel side' waistline to cover the car's wider track and improved design of the truck cab variant, introducing the curved side windows and rounded roof still used today on current Land Rovers. The first car to utilize the famous 2.25-liter petrol engine, though the first 1,500 short wheelbase models kept the 52 hp 2.0 liter petrol engine from the Series 1. The larger petrol engine produced 72 hp and was closely related to the 2.0 liter diesel unit still in use today. Until the mid-1980s this engine became the standard Land Rover unit when diesel engines became more popular.
The 109-inch Series II Wagon introduced a 12-seater option on top of the standard 10-seater layout. This model was constructed basically to take advantage of UK tax laws, by which a car with 12 seats or more was classed as a bus, and was exempt from Purchase Tax and Special Vehicle Tax. This made the 12-seater Series II model less expensive than the 10-seater version, and also cheaper than the 7-seater 88 inch Station Wagon. For decades the 12-seater layout remained a popular favorite, being retained on the later Series and Defender variants until 2002, when it was dropped. The abnormal status of the 12-seater continued until the end, and these vehicles were classed as minibuses and could use bus lanes and could be exempt from the London Congestion Charge.
There was a slight bit of over-lap between Series I and Series II production. Early Series II 88 inch vehicles were fitted with the old 2-liter petrol engine to use up existing stock from production of the Series I 107-inch Station Wagon continued until late 1959. This was due to continued demand from export markets and to allow the production of Series II components to reach the highest level.
The Series IIA Land Rover was introduced in 1961 and continued in production until 1971 and was quite difficult to distinguish from the SII. Slight cosmetic changes were made from the previous series, but most of the big changes were made under the hood with the addition of the new 2.25-liter Diesel engine. The factory offered body configurations ranging from short-wheelbase soft-top to the first-class five-door station wagon. The 2.6 liter straight-six petrol engine was introduced in 1967 for use in the long-wheelbase models, the larger engine complemented by standard-fit servo-assisted brakes. 811 of these models were NADA (North American Dollar Area) truck, which were the only long-wheelbase models produced for the American and Canadian markets. From February 1969 the headlamps moved into the wings on all models and the sill panes were redesigned to be shallower a few months later.
Considered to be the most stalwart Series model ever constructed, the Series IIA is also the type of classic Land Rover that featured strongly in the general public's opinion of the Land Rover as it appeared in popular films and TV documentaries set in Africa throughout the 1960's. One of these examples was 'Born Free'.
Land Rover celebrated its 20th Birthday in February 1968, just a few months after its manufacturer had been subsumed, under government pressure, into the Leyland Motor Corporation, with total production to date just shy of 600,000, of which more than 70% had been exported. Sales of utility Land Rovers arrived at their peak in 1969-1970 during the Series IIA production run, when sales of over 60,000 Land Rovers a year were recorded. The Land Rover took over numerous world markets, as well as record sales, in Australia in the 1960's, the Land rover held 90% of the 4X4 market.
1963 brought about the Series IIA FC Land Rover, which was based on the Series IIA 2.25 liter petrol engine and 109 inch chassis, with the cab positioned over the engine to allow more load space. Export vehicles were the first Land Rovers to receive the 2.6 liter petrol engine. Most models had an ENV rear axle while a matching front axle came later. To provide additional flotation for this heavy car were large 900x16 tires on deep-dish wheel rims. Slightly underpowered for the increased load capacity, most of these vehicles had a hard-working life. Less than 2,500 models were constructed, and most had a utility body. Surviving examples often have custom bodywork, and with an upgraded power-train, they can be used as a small motor-home.
Produced from 1966 the Series IIB FC was similar to the Series IIA Forward Control but added the 2.25-liter diesel engine as an option. The standard engine for this model was the 2.6-liter engine, and the 2.25-liter engine was only available for export. Designed by ENV, heavy duty wide-track axles were fitted to improve vehicle stability, along with a front anti-roll bar and updated rear springs which were mounted above the axle instead of below it. During this process the wheelbase was increased to 110 inches. In 1974 production of the IIB FC was ended when Land-Rover reorganized its vehicle range. Many of the components from this line were also used on the '1 Ton' 109 inch vehicle.
The Land Rover Series III line was introduced in 1971 and ran until 1985 it had the same body and engine options as the previous IIA, including station wagons and the 1 Ton versions. Only minor changes were made from the IIA to the Series III. The Series III is the most common Series car, with 440,000 of the type built from 1971 to 1985. From 1968 onward, the headlights were moved to the wings on late production IIA models and remained in this position for the Series III. The traditional grille from the Series I, II and IIA was replaced with a plastic one for the Series III model.
Compressions were raised from 7:1 to 8:1 on the 2.25-liter engine, increasing the power slightly. During the production run for the III, the 1,000,000th Land Rover rolled off the production line in 1976. Numerous changes were made during the Series III production run in the later part of its life as Land Rover updated their design to meet the increasing design competition. The Series III was the initial model to feature synchromesh on all four gears though some late H-suffix SIIA models had used the all-synchro box.
The simple metal dashboard of earlier models was redesigned to accept a new molded plastic dash, in keeping with early 1970s trends in automotive interior design, both in safety and use of more state-of-the-art materials. The instrument cluster was moved from its centrally located position over to the driver's side. Long-wheelbase Series III cars had the Salisbury rear axle as standard, though some late SIIA 109-inch cars had them too.
For the 1980 model year, the 4-cylinder 2.25 liter engines were updated with five-bearing crankshafts to increase strength in heavy duty work. At the same time the axles, transmission and wheel hubs were redesigned for increased strength. This was the result of a series of updates to the transmission that had been made since the 1960's to deal with the common problem of the rear axle half-shafts breaking in heavy usage. Part of this problem was due to the design of the shafts themselves. The half shafts can be removed quickly and efficiently without even having to jack the vehicle off the ground due to the fully floating design of the rear wheel hubs. Unfortunately the tendency for commercial operators to overload their cars heightened this flaw which tainted the Series Land Rovers in numerous export markets and established a negative reputation even to today. This is despite the '82 redesign which all but solved the problem.
Numerous trim options were also introduced this year to make the interior of the car more comfortable. An all new 'County' spec Station Wagon Land Rover was introduced in both 88-inch and 109-inch types. These models featured all-new cloth seats from the Leyland T-45 Lorry, tinted glass, soundproofing kits and other 'soft' options designed to appeal to the luxury driver.
Also new this year was the High Capacity Pick -Up to the 109 inch chassis, with a load bay that offered 25% more cubic capacity than the standard pick-up style. Popular with public utility companies and building contractors, the HCPU came with heavy-duty suspension.
From 1979 until 1985 the Stage 1; which refers to the first stage of investment by the British Government in the company to improve Land Rover and Range Rover productions, was built utilizing some of the same components as the Range Rover and 101 Forward Control, such as LT95 gearbox and 3.5-liter Rover V8 petrol engine. The engine was detuned to 91 hp from the 135BHP that the Range Rover of the time featured. The Stage 1 was available in a 109-inch and 88-in wheelbase. The use of the Range Rover engine and drive train made it the only Series car that had permanent four-wheel drive.
Produced from 1968 until 1977, the 1 Ton 109 inch was basically a Series IIB Forward Control built with a standard 109 inch body, featuring a 2.6 liter petrol engine, ENV front and rear axles and a lower ratio gearbox, though some late IIAs were fitted with ENV axles in front and Salisbury on the rear. Later series IIIs had a Rover type front axle with up-rated differential. Unique to the model, the chassis frame featured drop-shackle suspension very similar to the military series Land Rovers. Standard feature was 900x16 tires and these machines were typically used by utility companies and breakdown/towing firms. Only 170 IIA and 238 Series IIIs were constructed for the home marked. Even fewer examples were on the export markets, making this model the rarest type of Land-Rover ever constructed.
The Australian market has always been a big fan for Land Rovers of all types, but especially the utility models. In the late 1940s 80-inch Series I models were sold to the Australian government for work on civil engineering projects such as road construction and dams, which brought the car back to the buying public's attention. Very large sales followed in the Australian market and in the 1950's Land Rover began to establish factories in Australia to build CKD kits shipped from the Solihull, UK factory. Through the 1960s the Land Rover continued to sell strongly in Series II guise, commanding around 90% of the off-road market. Nearly every farm had at least one Land Rover.
In the early 1970s the Series III continued successfully, but halfway through the decade the sales began to decline. Partly due to a large export deal to Japan relied on the subsequent import of Japanese vehicles and others, along with the increasingly poor quality of the components shipped from UK. Land Rover's once high dominance slipped. An Australian issue was the always-limited supply of new Land Rovers. The Leyland factory never had the capacity to meet possible demand and supply and the manufacturing process was restricted by having to import almost the entire vehicle in kit form from Britain.
This long process led to a long waiting list developing for the Leyland product while commercial operators could receive Japanese vehicles very quickly. Other Land Rover issues were the same throughout its export markets comparing it to Japanese competition; the Land Rover was under-powered, unreliable and inferior with a poor ride quality, though the off-road ability was superior. Japanese vehicles were also less likely to rust and didn't feature the low-quality steel in comparison to the Land Rover. This turned off buyers, and by 1983 with the introduction of the One Ten, the Toyota Land Cruiser became the best-selling 4X4 in Australia.
Land Rover Australia went through some updates in the early 1980s in an attempt to combat this sales decline. Land Rover fit the V8 petrol engine in the 1979 'Stage One', Australia also received the same car with the option of a 3.9-liter 89 hp 4-cylinder Isuzu diesel engine. This update made a valiant effort to slow the sales decline, but unfortunately all of the other Land Rover shortcomings overwhelmed the vehicle. The One Ten was also available with this engine along with a turbocharged version producing in excess of 100 hp powered the military 6X6.
The Series Land Rovers were used in vast number by the British Army, and today continued to use the modern Defender versions. Nearly as soon as it was launched in 1948 the British Army tested the 80-inch Series I Land Rover. At the time, the Army was more concerned with developing a specially designed military utility 4X4 (the Austin Champ). Unfortunately the Champ proved too complicated, heavy and unreliable in battlefield conditions.
So the Army looked in the Land Rover direction and in the late 1940's the Ministry of Defense was interested in the standardization of its vehicles and equipment. He wanted to fit Rolls-Royce petrol engines to all its vehicles. A variety of Series I Land Rovers were fitted with Rolls-Royce B40 4-cylinder engine, with a modified 81 inch wheelbase. Unfortunately the engine was too heavy and had little power, the slow revving stunted the performance and produced torque that the Rover gearbox could only just cope with. Rover convinced the MOD that the standard 1.6-liter engine would be enough since they were only ordering a small amount. From late 1949 the MOD began ordering Land Rovers in batches, starting at 50 vehicles, but increasing this amount to 200 each batch by the mid 1950s.
Deployed to the Korean War and the Suez Crisis, the Land Rover became standard light military vehicles throughout the Commonwealth.
Throughout the 1960s though, more and more specialized versions were developed. Along with the standard 'GS' (General Service) vehicles, a common variant was the 'FFR' (Fitted For Radio) was introduced which had 24-volt electrics and a large engine-powered generator to power on-board radios. Ambulances were also introduced on the 109-inch Series II chassis. The 'Pink Panther' was a well-known version dubbed the LRDPV (Long-Range Desert Patrol Vehicle), it was painted a distinctive light pink sand camouflage. These 109-inch Series IIs were stripped of windscreens and doors and fitted with grenade launchers, a machine gun mounting ring, and long-range fuel tanks and water tanks. These models were used by the SAS for desert patrolling and special operations.
The British Army had acquired around 9,000 Series III models by the late 1970s, which were basically a special 'Heavy Duty' version of the 109-inch Soft Top. These vehicles had improved suspension components and a different chassis cross-member design. These were produced in 12-volt 'GS' models and 24-volt 'FFR' versions. A very small number were 88-inch GS and FFR models, but mostly the Army used the Air-Portable ½ ton, 88-inch 'Lightweight' version. The Lightweight was in use by numerous armies worldwide. In Europe even the Danish Army and the Dutch Landmacht utilized the Land-Rover Lightweight. Rather than the petrol engine, the Dutch and Danish had diesel engine and rather than the canvas top the Dutch ones had PVS tops like the modern Land Rover Wolf.
In Addition, there was also 101-inch Forward Control models; 109-inch FV18067 ambulances constructed by Marshall Aerospace of Cambridge. Both the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force also acquired and maintained smaller Land Rover fleets during the 1960's through 1970s. The RAFs used 88-inch models for liaison, communications, airfield tractor duties and personnel transports. The Royal Navy's fleet was small and consisted mainly of GS-spec and Station Wagon versions for cargo transport and personnel. All British military Land Rovers utilized the 2.25-liter 4-cylinder petrol engine, though various overseas customers specified the 2.25-liter diesel unit instead.
Minerva of Belgium produced a car dubbed a Standard Vanguard, which was produced in Belgium under license of the Standard Motor Company. In the spring of 1951 the head of Minerva, Monsieur van Roggen contacted the Rover Company when Belgium's army was in need of a lightweight 4X4 vehicle. In 1952 the Minerva-Land Rover was produced.
The Rover Company allowed Minerva to produce Land Rovers under license to Rober and supplied technical support for Minerva. Rover Assistant Chief Engineer and head of Land Rover development; Arthur Goddard, was in charge of approving the updates Minerva wanted to make to the Rover, in addition to setting the factory up to assemble the vehicles.
Land Rover has claimed that in 1992, nearly 70% of all the vehicles they had constructed were still in use today.By Jessica Donaldson