In more unlikely news (as if Mercedes S-Class plug-in hybrid wasn’t enough of a shock), another luxury carmaker is getting in on the hybrid action, as Land Rover reveals its first ever hybrids.
The new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models will be the first premium diesel SUV hybrids available on the marketplace, when deliveries begin in early 2014.
Land Rover promises that its first hybrid models will offer outstanding performance as well as significantly lower emissions and improved fuel economy.
Combining a 35kW electric motor producing 170 Nm and a 3-litre SDV6 diesel engine with a 8 speed ZF automatic transmission, total output stands at 340PS at 4,000rpm and a class-leading 700Nm torque between 1,500-3,000rpm.
Both models accelerate to 62mph in under seven seconds, and reach a top speed of 135mph. Despite the strong performance, the hybrid models deliver a 26 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions compared to the standard 3 litre diesel models, at just 169g/km (compared to 196g/km CO2), with fuel economy standing at 44.1mpg on the combined cycle (compared to 37.7mpg for the standard diesel equivalent).
Silk Route challenge
To demonstrate just how good its new models are, the carmaker is to embark on a reconstruction of the Silk Trial route, starting tomorrow, when three Range Rover hybrids will set off for the home of its parent company, Tata, in Mumbai, India from its Solihill headquarters.
The new Silk Trail 2013 will cover 9,941 miles and visit 12 countries and will take in some of the world's most challenging roads, passes and trails, including part of the ancient, 4,000 mile Silk Road connecting Asia with the Mediterranean. Land Rover’s cars will be the first hybrids to take on the route.
To help the cars on their epic journey will be Land Rover’s renown four wheel drive with the hybrid models benefitting from three driving modes. In EV mode, the cars can travel at speed of up to 30mph for a range of up to one mile before the diesel engine kicks in.
Despite the addition of a hybrid drivetrain, the additional weight comes to just 120kg. Meanwhile liquid-cooled battery pack is mounted beneath the floor to ensure there is no loss of passenger or luggage space. Range Rover Hybrid has the same five-seat capacity and luggage space as the standard vehicle and retains the full-size spare wheel. This no-compromise philosophy is echoed in the Range Rover Sport Hybrid whose interior is unchanged from the standard model, right down to the 5+2 seating.
Order books for the new models open September, ahead of deliveries in the New Year.
Meanwhile, the Silk Trail cars driven by members of the media and Land Rover engineers will visit France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, China and India on their ten leg journey and are scheduled to arrive in Mumbai on October 15, 2013.