2006 Land Rover Range Rover Preview

2006 Land Rover Range Rover Preview

The Best Gets Better

Three years after it made its debut, Land Rover's Range Rover has received a mild facelift for model year 2006. The vehicle,

Considered by many to be the finest SUV in the world, Land Rover's Range Rover has received a mild facelift for model year 2006. (Photo: Land Rover)
designed and engineered by BMW, is considered by many to be the finest SUV in the world, upholding the British automaker's reputation through unparalleled luxury and sophistication and unchallenged on- and off-road dynamics.

In 2002, Ford purchased Land Rover from BMW, who had grown weary of maintaining and updating the brand's ancient products. The stately firm was the final addition to Ford's completely European "Premium Auto Group" (PAG). Aside from Bentley which was owned by Volkswagen, and Rolls-Royce, which still belonged to BMW, Ford already owned Britain's finest luxury and sports car makers, Jaguar and Aston Martin.

But there was a problem. Despite the resources that Ford had, there was doubt from within the Company that Ford could build a better Range Rover. BMW had developed a vehicle akin to their finest luxury sedans using the best leather, wood and plastics, and even

Despite the resources that Ford had, there was doubt if the company could build a better Range Rover than BMW. (Photo: Land Rover)
though this was BMW's first true off-roader, their efforts in developing the chassis, frame and suspension systems surpassed Land Rover's best efforts to date.

As a result, many of the components used in the Range Rover, including the wonderful but costly 4.4-litre 32-valve V8 and automatic gearbox used in the X5, 5 and 7-Series, were still purchased directly from BMW, even though Land Rover had been under Ford's control for a few years. It would only be a matter of time before this situation would have to change, and that has happened in the form of the face-lifted Range Rover.



2006 Range Rovers will feature a few subtle exterior detail changes which bring the flagship model closer to the new Range Rover

Model year 2006 Range Rovers will feature a few subtle exterior detail changes which bring the flagship model closer to the new Range Rover Sport, LR3 and Freelander. (Photo: Land Rover)
Sport, LR3 and Freelander. New, larger headlamps with adaptive, swiveling beams and gray-coloured bezels have been fitted. The inner most unit is positioned to create a slight indent into the grille area, a family trait seen on many new Land Rover products.

New bumpers with a less cluttered design have also been fitted, while the Range's massive wheel wells are filled with larger, 19-inch alloy wheels sporting a different design.

The biggest change to the revised Range Rover is the addition of two new

The 4.4L V8 Jaguar engine yields a higher output than the previously used BMW powerplant. (Photo: Land Rover)
engines. The 282-horsepower 4.4L Bavarian-built motor has been swapped for a 4.4L Jaguar-designed V8.

First shown in the LR3, and then in the Range Rover Sport, the Jag engine yields more output than the Beemer, with 305 horsepower produced in its naturally aspirated configuration. In its LR3 application, critics from across the globe have been impressed by the motor's smooth, tractable characteristics, making it a suitable replacement for the BMW powerplant. Land Rover estimates that the new engine is capable of propelling the Range Rover to 100 km/h in 8.7 seconds, 0.5 seconds quicker than before.



Crowning the range and answering the call of the high-performance "super" sport utility vehicle segment is an all-new

Backed up by a 400- horsepower 4.2L V8, the top-line Range Rover finally receives the brawn customers have always longed for. (Photo: Land Rover)
Supercharged model. Using the same blown, 400- horsepower 4.2L V8 as Jaguar's 'R' model sports cars and the Range Rover Sport Supercharged, the nameplate finally receives the brawn customers have always longed for. Land Rover expects the Supercharged variant to be about one second quicker than the 4.4L V8 model to 100 km/h.

The Supercharged models also feature a few additional exterior modifications. These include a special wire-mesh grille, similar to the one fitted to the Range Rover Sport, new side fender vents and special black-on-silver badging. Both versions are equipped with an

Both Range Rover models feature minor tweaks to the steering, brakes and suspension calibration. (Photo: Land Rover)
all-new six-speed ZF automatic gearbox with manual shift mode for an additional sporty touch, improved performance and reduced fuel consumption.

"We've only changed the design where we can provide subtle enhancements," says Land Rover's design director, Geoff Upex. The improvements are intended to refine the overall driving experience. Both models feature minor tweaks to the steering for crisper feel, uprated brakes for greater stopping power and changes in suspension calibration for a smoother, more responsive ride.



Inside, the "Fordified" Range Rover remains mostly untouched with its finely-furnished, yacht-style stanchions, and

Inside, the "Fordified" Range Rover remains mostly untouched. (Photo: Land Rover)
commanding driving position intact. The only major changes made are the addition of a rear-mounted reverse camera which projects onto the TFT display on the center console, revised controls for the audio, phone and off-road driving technology, a tire-pressure monitor and new interior colour combinations. Laminated glass also helps to make the '06 Range Rover the quietest Land Rover ever.

A rear-seat entertainment system featuring a six-disc DVD changer, with twin screens mounted in the backs of the front-seat headrests plus headphone jacks, is another option

Ford has significantly improved the world's most luxurious sport utility vehicle. (Photo: Land Rover)
new for 2006, as is a Harman/Kardon Logic 7, 14-speaker, 720-watt audio system.

The new Range Rover will make its world debut at the North American International Auto Show in January alongside its sibling, the Range Rover Sport. The prestigious duo will complete the brand's premium vehicle lineup, and will be available for sale during the summer.

For now, Ford has significantly improved the world's most luxurious sport utility vehicle, but it's only a matter of time before another update is needed. By then, a formidable, Ford-designed product should be ready.



Specifications:

  • Price Range (estimated MSRP): $100,250 - $120,500
  • Body Type: 5-door SUV
  • Layout: front engine, 4WD
  • Engine: 305 hp, 315 lb-ft of torque, 4.4L DOHC 32-valve V8
  • Opt Engine: 400 hp, 420 lb-ft of torque, 4.2L DOHC 32-valve V8, supercharged
  • Transmission: 6-spd auto
  • Brakes (front/rear): disc/disc, ABS
  • Seating Capacity: 5
  • Cargo Volume (seats up/folded): 990/1,760 L (35.0 / 62.0 cu ft)
  • Warranty (mo/km): 48/80,000 comprehensive
  • Competitors: Audi Q7 V8, BMW X5 4.4i/4.8is, Cadillac Escalade, Lexus LX470, Mercedes-Benz G-Class/M-Class, Porsche Cayenne S/Turbo, Volkswagen Touareg V8/W12 Sport, Volvo XC90 V8
  • Web Site: www.landrover.com

Note: Additional larger photos are available in the photo album.

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