Today’s Range Rover is often found roaming the streets of rich cities, swathed in soft leather and wood trim rivalling the luxury of the iconic Rolls Royce. However, the original Range Rover was not as lavish.
After the success of the seven seater Land Rover in America, the Land Rover team realised a possibility of selling a new type of off-road vehicle with a more sophisticated feel and ride. A two door version was the first Range Rover to be built-in 1970, and soon enough the company realised that the Range Rover may succeed in the higher end of the market.
A ladder-type chassis allowed up to 11 inches of axle movement provided a very sophisticated ride for a 4×4 vehicle making it very durable off-road. Powering this machine was a 3.5l V8 engine with a permanent 4WD system and a lockable differential. To help stop this new Range Rover, disc brakes were fitted to the front and back replacing the conventional drum brakes.
In 1981, the four door version was released with some significant developments such as the automatic gearbox designed by OverFinch and Land Rover. OverFinch still modify Range Rovers to this day. The top of the range vehicles were then given the ‘Vogue’ name.
The second generation of the Range Rover was launched in 1994, the same year that Rover was bought by BMW. A newly styled body and chassis with the same length as the original at 108 inches now with a more powerful choice of engines ranging from a 2.5L six cylinder diesel to the range topping 4.6L V8 petrol engine.
The ‘Classic’ as the original was named ran side by side with the second generation Range up until 1996, when the Classic ceased production after selling over 317,000 units.
By 2001, BMW group wanted to show what they could do with the British brand and launched the third generation Range Rover. A big off-road vehicle which felt at home on the road as much as it did off it. Air suspension was introduced giving the vehicle the ground clearance expected by the Land Rover purists. A 3.0L six cylinder Diesel and the 4.4L V8 powered the SUV up until 2005 when a 4.2L Supercharged V8 and a 3.6L Turbo-Diesel V8 were added to the selection. The selectable 4WD system was now removed from the Range and an all new Terrain Response system was launched in its place, allowing the driver to concentrate on the driving and less on the terrain he is driving on.
The fourth generation of the Range Rover was revealed to the public in 2012, and has now positioned the brand at the top of the luxury SUV list with prices ranging from £75,000 up to £120,000 depending on extras fitted to the base vehicle. This is the first Range Rover to be built with a complete aluminium body and chassis allowing it to save 420kg off the last model. The new model has the updated Terrain Response system among other bells and whistles to allow it to compete with the most luxurious vehicles on the market.
With the Range Rover doing so well around the world, and other car makers trying to muscle into the market, the Range Rover Sport was designed to tackle the new Sports jeeps that were sprouting up. The Range Rover Sport was designed to have optimum on road capability but also usable off-road as was the case with all Land Rovers that came before it. More Tech was thrown at to help counter balance the act of body roll, known as Dynamic response which hydraulically set the ride level depending on the cornering forces.
A new lump sat under the bonnet, a 4.2L V8 natural and supercharged petrol and 2.7L V6 turbo diesel all available when debuted. The Supercharged was the most powerful Land Rover ever produced and has been in the highest demand.
By 2010, the Sport was re-engineered and got some new design cues making it look sportier and more aerodynamic while still looking typically Range Rover. New engines with more power were released with a 5.0L naturally aspirated and the 5.0L Supercharged topping the power charts.
The all-new 2013, Range Rover Sport can boast a sub 5.0s 0-62mph time with a saving of 420kg over its predecessor. Revealed to the public in New York by James Bond actor Daniel Craig, the all-new Sport is also one of the cleanest Range Rovers with CO2 emissions of 194g/km and one of the most stylish made synonymous with 007.
Not to be confused with its predecessor, this is an all new chassis and body with new engines and technology purposely built for the Sport including a sports exhaust, which gives it a throatier sound in the cabin.
The SUV market has been constantly changing over the years, consumers wanting vehicles on both ends of the size chart. When the LRX concept was first revealed, it was accepted with great enthusiasm and it began production in 2011. The Evoque as it was to be known, had to be everything Land Rover and Range Rover has been known for. Uncompromised luxury, impeccable off-road capability. For in town use, the vehicle was also available with CO2 emissions below 135g/km rivalling most hot hatches. For the first time, Land Rover built a vehicle which was not a full-time 4WD system.
Power for the Evoque comes from two turbo diesel 2.2L engines and a new 2.0L petrol engine was also made available. With British fashion at one of its highest points, Land Rover decided to bring in Victoria Beckham as a design consultant for the Evoque’s impressive interior.
Picture special: History of the Range Rover | Autocar. 2013. Picture special: History of the Range Rover | Autocar. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/2013-range-rover-4/picture-special-history-range-rover. [Accessed 13 October 2013].