€119,000 to spare? Land Rover would like a word...
Published 14/11/2012 | 05:00
It takes courage to unveil a pricey new – well almost new – luxury car in a time of economic Armageddon.
So Land Rover deserves plaudits for rolling out in these austere times the fourth generation of its iconic, go-anywhere Range Rover.
Doubtless its fiercely loyal and wealthy customer base has been reduced in recent years by the recession.
Despite the pervading economic gloom, now Indian-owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is on the point of completing a satisfactory 2012 in Ireland, with sales of some 900 vehicles.
The figure breaks down into 40pc Land Rover, 30pc Range Rover Evoque with the balance comprised of Range Rover Sport, Freelander and Defender.
JLR acknowledges that the classy, mould-breaking Evoque gave it the fillip it needed to withstand the worst ravages of the slump.
But perhaps, the most beneficial aspect of the Evoque's success, is the new-found confidence it has instilled in the Land Rover operation here. That's underpinned by the fact that, over the next five years, executives have revealed JLR will bring to market some 40 new vehicles.
As for the new Range Rover, it's a measure of the brand's strong customer loyalty and legendary reputation for cushy on-road and off-road motoring that it remains firmly in command in its sector.
Unleashed, aptly, on the spectacular Moroccan coast and due to hit these shores at the end on this month, JLR insists that its new flagship pushes the marque to new levels of luxury and refinement. Over a challenging test route on motorway, craggy mountain passes and sand dunes it performed with aplomb.
In design terms, it has a lower gait, lending it a sharper look, while among the highlights is the floating roof and a hint of a new dynamism conveyed by prominent side fender vents.
It now boasts a ground-breaking, lightweight aluminium body with a revised air suspension system.
Among the myriad of enhanced technologies the next generation of its 'Terrain Response 2' technology, makes hands-on driver control virtually redundant.
Whether traversing a river bed (it can now negotiate water to a depth of 900mm), clambering over rocks, or scaling desert dunes, you just set the system to 'auto' and let the electronics do all the work.
On the road another Dynamic Response system suppresses body roll and delivers stable handling even at speed, while a 4WD system provides a two-speed low range option for difficult conditions, or when towing. A split, powered tailgate adds space and eases the chore of ferrying cargo.
The cabin, which houses the world's first 3D surround sound system with 29 speakers, exudes luxury with luscious leather seats and quality veneers, while multi-layered insulation has made the Range Rover one of the quietest workhorses around.
LR expects the 3-litre TDV6 to be the biggest seller here. Priced from €119,000, it will be accompanied by the Vogue with prices starting at €135,000. A 4.4-litre TDV8, priced at €150,000, will be available on special order as will a 5-litre supercharged version priced at €160,000. JLR expects to sell 40 Range Rovers next year.
While the Celtic Tiger may have snuffed it, clearly some of its cubs remain in rude financial health.