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New Range Rover Astronaut Edition: for space travellers only

CLand Rover Range Rover Astronaut Edition

Land Rover has unveiled a Range Rover Astronaut Edition, and it’s rather exclusive.

While you might have to buy a few ‘regular’ Ferraris to get access to the special stuff, the rules for buying an intergalactic Range Rover are even more strict.

In short, you have to be a member of the Virgin Galactic Future Astronaut community.

What makes the Range Rover Astronaut Edition special?

Land Rover Range Rover Astronaut Edition

Marking out this special Range Rover is the aptly-named ‘Zero Gravity Blue’ colour scheme.

Unique details include puddle lamps with a silhouette of the Virgin Galactic ‘SpaceShipTwo’, alloy handles with the ‘Future Astronaut Community’ constellation design and ‘DNA of Flight’ graphics.

Inside, you get custom cupholders featuring pieces of one of the Virgin Unity Spaceship’s front landing skids. Once you go into space, one of these is swapped out for a piece of the skid from ‘your’ ship, with details of the flight inscribed. The other has Richard Branson’s “See you up there’”quote inscribed on it.

The DNA of Flight graphic also features on the carbon fibre front console lid, while the seats can be embossed with a silhouette of SpaceShipTwo. 

A rocket-powered Range Rover?

Land Rover Range Rover Astronaut Edition

Sadly, the Range Rover won’t have its own rockets, although the P400e plug-in hybrid and 5.0-litre supercharged V8 aren’t bad substitutes.

“The Astronaut Edition Range Rover is the next step on this journey and the chance for the Future Astronaut Community to celebrate our two brands’ shared values of pioneering spirit and true sense of adventure,” said Gerry McGovern, chief designer at Land Rover. “This vehicle really will take them Above and Beyond.”

New Land Rover Defender “won’t be an easy launch”

Land Rover Defender launch

Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth says the new Land Rover Defender “won’t be an easy launch”, given the weight of expectation to deliver a worthy follow-up.

In an interview with Automobilwoche, Speth explained that: “A successor to an icon faces an exceptionally high bar.”

Speth’s preference would have been to replace the Defender immediately after production ended in 2016. The Defender had been on sale in various forms, with various engines, since 1983. And its bloodline goes back much further, to 1948.

2020 Land Rover Defender

“I would have preferred to launch a new one immediately and seamlessly,” said Speth, “but a new Defender has to be geared to its community of fans.”

By the time the next Defender hits showrooms, the previous model will have been dead for four years. The marque has launched reconditioned, V8-engined versions in the meantime, though.

Nonetheless, that hasn’t sated demand for an all-new Defender, the development of which has received a great deal of publicity over the past few months.

2020 Land Rover Defender

The Defender is a very specific product. Even compared to the likes of the Jeep Wrangler and Mercedes-Benz G-Class – both old-school off-roaders  – there’s nothing quite like it.

“It is better to take a hiatus, so the new product has the right substance, specifications and characteristics,” continued Speth.

Despite the launch being a point of anxiety, the JLR boss is confident it will be popular, saying “we will see strong demand,” in response to questions about first-year volumes.

Cleaner than petrol: Range Rover Evoque leads diesel fightback

Range Rover Evoque Emissions

The entry-level Range Rover Evoque diesel with front-wheel drive is as clean – and in some ways cleaner – than petrol rivals. 

Indeed, the Evoque D150 is the first luxury compact SUV to meet stringent Euro 6D-Final and RDE2 emissions standards.

How did the Evoque go green?

The Evoque D150 makes use of Adblue NOx emissions treatments, which are managed by intelligent exhaust monitors. Particulate filters help capture a total of 99.9 percent of soot.

Its Ingenium engine has a low-friction design to improve emissions from start-up, while mild hybrid tech harvests energy that would otherwise be lost in braking.

The result is NOx output that matches some petrol engines, while retaining the significant CO2 and efficiency advantages of diesel.

Range Rover Evoque Emissions

“Meeting the standards for this certification almost two years ahead of schedule is a real achievement and a result of collaboration within our engineering team to develop advanced engine and exhaust technologies,” said Nick Rogers, executive director of product engineering at Jaguar Land Rover.

“The new Range Rover Evoque uses a low-friction engine design that has reduced real-world driving NOx emissions by 90% since 2010, demonstrating vast progress for Jaguar Land Rover.”

Rogers goes on to highlight that JLR’s diesel engines are certified by many independent bodies including the AIR Index and ADAC, as some of the cleanest on the market.

What is the RDE2 test?

Range Rover emissions

Real Driving Emissions is a test procedure that all new cars must undergo. The second phase (RDE2) comes into effect in January of 2020, and this entry-level variant of the Evoque is already certified as compliant.

That means that it emits less than 80mg/km of nitrogen oxides, or NOx: the pollutant at the centre of recent emissions scandals.

The testing procedure is more real-world and less laboratory-based, to ascertain what new cars are really emitting. 

New on-demand car rental service available to Londoners

 

The Out Land Rover Discovery Sport

London residents will be used to having groceries and takeaway food delivered to their door, but thanks to The Out, they can also look forward to the delivery of a new Land Rover Discovery Sport.

The on-demand vehicle rental service is operated via an online app and targets city dwellers who do not own a car and are perhaps looking for an alternative to traditional transport solutions.

It’s a pretty comprehensive service, with a Discovery Sport HSE delivered to your home or office, with insurance, unlimited mileage, child seats, additional driving and the London Congestion Charge all included within the price.

The Out delivers to anywhere in central London, covering zones 1-3 plus Gatwick, Heathrow and City airports. A weekend rental costs £295 (£195 for the first day and £100 for each day thereafter).

The Out in London

The premium car rental service is operated by InMotion, Jaguar Land Rover’s venture capital and mobility services arm, and is one of a number of shared mobility and transport services offered by the company.

Other schemes include By Miles, a pay-per-mile insurance solution; GoKid, a ride-share platform for schools, sports leagues and families; and Zeelo, a pop-up coach service.

‘Finding happiness’

Sebastian Peck, managing director of InMotion Ventures, said: “We looked at every step of the car rental journey, to create a seamless experience that will delight our users.

“Our customers work hard and play hard, and now more than ever they are finding happiness and expressing their individuality through the very best in high-end experiences.

“We believe The Out is the ultimate travel companion, from the moment a customer opens the app all the way through to their next enviable destination.”

Londoners can download the iOS app via the App Store or visit www.theout.com for more information.

Future Jaguars and Land Rovers could prevent coughs and sneezes

Jaguar Land Rover sneeze

Future Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) models could stop the spread of colds and flu thanks to the use of ultraviolet light technology (UV-C).

UV-C is used within the medical industry for disinfecting water, filtering air and sterilising surfaces via wavelengths of light between 200-280 nanometers. Now, JLR believes that UV-C could be used within its air conditioning systems to stop bacteria and harmful viruses in their tracks.

Put simply, exposing the bugs to UV-C within the air-con breaks down the molecular structure of their DNA, neutralising them. Clean air is then released into the cabin.

According to JLR, the technology could even help in the fight against drug-resistant superbugs.

Dr Steve Iley, Jaguar Land Rover chief medical officer, said: “The average motorist spends as much as 300 hours per year behind the wheel. There is a clear opportunity to better utilise cars for administering preventative healthcare.”

“The implementation of individual wellbeing measures as part of our ‘tranquil sanctuary’ research promises to not only improve quality of life for our customers but in this case, offers clear advantages in reducing pathogen spread – protecting the overall population from the threat of disease; particularly as we move towards shared mobility solutions.”

Neutralising pathogens

Jaguar I-Pace

JLR is already actively seeking to neutralise pathogens in its latest air conditioning units, with the four-zone climate control and cabin air ionisation system using high voltage to create trillions of nano-sized negatively charged particles (ions) coated in water molecules.

These ions deactivate pathogens, forming larger particles that are removed from the air as they are brought back into the filter. As well as combating pathogens, the ions also act upon odour molecules and allergens in a similar way.

Dr Iley said: “In the colder months infections are spread more easily, it’s reassuring to know that in your car at least, you can be confident that harmful pathogens are being neutralised.”

The use of UV-C is just one part of JLR’s vision to create a so-called ‘tranquil sanctuary’ inside its vehicles. In the future, you can expect to emerge from your driverless car feeling energised, relaxed and free of bugs.

2019 Range Rover Evoque holds value like a Ferrari

Range Rover Evoque high residual value

Car valuation specialist CAP HPI has given the new Range Rover Evoque a glowing prediction in terms of its residual (resale) values.

Get into a new top-of-the-range Evoque and it’s predicted that, after three years, it will retain 67 percent of its list price. That puts it on par with a Ferrari 488.

That’s good news for consumers. The more money a car holds after a three-year PCP finance deal, for example, the less the manufacturer has to charge per month to cover the depreciation.

Good residuals = great deals

The new Range Rover Evoque starts from £31,600. In that form, it’s predicted to hold 63 percent of its value after three years or 36,000 miles. That means it can be offered for £245 per month

The headline 67 percent residual figure belongs to the high-spec D180 AWD S. It starts from £39,000 – or a competitive £371 per month.

Range Rover Evoque high residual value

Styling-wise, the new Evoque isn’t an enormous departure from its predecessor, and that’s no bad thing. Land Rover’s best-seller has evolved nicely, adopting certain features from the Velar, as well as the larger Range Rover models. Mild hybrid tech has also brought the Evoque bang up to date in terms of performance and emissions.

“The new Range Rover Evoque is an improvement on Land Rover’s biggest selling model in the UK every way,” said Jaguar Land Rover UK MD, Rawdon Glover.

“It’s more refined, with relevant and clever technology, features our cleanest petrol and diesel engines ever, and achieves lower running costs.

“All of that means that not only is it incredibly desirable, but it’s also a very logical choice for buyers too. With these class-leading residual values, new mild hybrid powertrains and excellent finance offers, buyers could be saving hundreds of pounds a month when compared with competitor models.”

Land Rover in crisis: another new car bites the dust

Discovery SVX dead

Land Rover is in the midst of an eventful month, with the off-road-oriented Discovery SVX its latest special model to be canned.

This comes off the back of the Range Rover SV Coupe’s cancellation a couple of weeks ago.

The SVX concept, first seen at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2017, was due to enter production by the end of last year. It had a 520hp version of the supercharged 5.0-litre JLR V8, chunky tyres, a suspension lift kit and plenty of other rugged addenda.

Discovery SVX dead

The supercharged V8-engined Disco has been running late and, as of now, is off the product slate.

As with the Range Rover SV Coupe, Land Rover insists that it’s not all bad news. SVX-badged models are apparently still on the horizon, just not in the form of a V8-powered Discovery. The Range Rover Velar SV Autobiography ought to take up some of the supercharged slack.

As for what could get the rugged SVX treatment next, the new Evoque and the eagerly anticipated Defender both arrive this year. The latter, in particular, would seem like a home-run for the full off-road package. Whether it would get the V8, though, is another question. Equally likely is the new 400hp twin-charged straight-six that recently debuted in the new Range Rover HST.

Discovery SVX dead

Land Rover is in the midst of serious financial woes, as 2018 saw a 35 percent drop in Chinese sales. It’s currently seeking nearly a billion pounds in investment to help float its costly electric car program. It’s also reducing its workforce by 10 percent, cutting around 4,500 employees.

Tough times for JLR, then, but this drop is only as dramatic as its recent rise to success. If Brexit doesn’t hit too hard, the company streamlines and markets even out, this could go down as a mere bump in the road. Here’s hoping the new Evoque generates some much-needed cash flow.

Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography: hot rod V8 Velar is here at last

Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography V8

Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations division has shoehorned a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 with 550hp into the sleek, stylish, World Car Design of the Year-winning Velar. Because of course they have. Welcome to the Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography – here to fill that SV Coupe-shaped hole in your life.

Looks to kill

Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography V8

If it comes from SVO, then you can normally tell it a mile off. The V8 Velar is no exception. ‘Optimised aerodynamics’ translates into air-gorging inlets to feed the V8 and cool the upgraded brakes. They work together with quad exhaust outlets as big as their bark to mark the SVA out as something altogether more aggressive. The ‘beautiful’ Range Rover just got sinister.

Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography V8

There is a whiff of sophistication, mind. The Range Rover lettering on the bonnet and tailgate is now knurled like the dials in a Bentley.

This ‘Dynamic Edition’ is the only Velar available in Satin Byron Blue – a bespoke Special Vehicle Operations colour from the Premium Palette.

V8 supercharged muscle

Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography V8

The star of the show in the SVAutobiography is the engine. There isn’t a car that engine features in where it isn’t the star of the show. With its 550hp and 502lb ft, the Velar SVA will dispatch 62 mph in a supercar-baiting 4.5 seconds before going on to a top speed of 170mph. No doubt all of the above performance rides a bloodcurdling bow wave of V8 ruckus from the lighter variable exhaust.

Stopping power

Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography V8

There should never be go, without stop. The 550hp 170mph Velar has the anchors to keep those monstrous numbers in check. Up-rated high-performance brakes hide beneath 21-inch forged wheels. The discs are 395mm at the front and 396mm at the rear. The red brake callers have four pistons at the front. You can get 22-inch diamond-turned wheels as an option if you want a bit more bling for your buck.

Enhanced dynamics

Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography V8

Putting all that performance to ground is the advanced intelligent driveline dynamics system, which can put as much as 100 percent of the Velar SVA’s power to the rear wheels if the situation calls for it. Continually variable dampers work with firmer air springs and an upgraded anti-roll system to keep the supercharged Velar on the flat and level.

First class cabin

Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography V8

It is a Range Rover, after all, so the cabin has to be second to none. As well as a 550hp supercharged V8, your Velar SVA will come with quilted, perforated and twin-stitched leather. Unique also to the SVA is a sports steering wheel and yes, the metal knurling continues on the inside with the infotainment dials and rotary shifter. All the other luxuries you’d expect of a top-end Range Rover are present – 20-way adjustable massaging heated and cooled seats included.

Hot rod baby Rangie

Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography V8

All in all, the Velar SVAutobiography has the air of a skunkworks special about it. It seems almost naughty that you can now get the middle-sized Range Rover with 550hp of supercharged V8 muscle. It now has the performance to match those sleek and sporty looks, now upgraded themselves in SVA trim.

It rather begs the question… if you can get in an SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition Velar for £86,120, why would you pay out near-on £100,000 for an SVR Range Rover Sport? The performance is almost identical and in spite of the Sport’s recent facelift, the Velar retains that next-generation feel to it.

Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography V8

What is worth remembering is that the Jaguar F-Pace SVR also now exists. It’s got that same incredible engine, will get to 62mph 0.2 seconds quicker and top out at 174mph… all for £10,000 less. Still, the heart wants what the heart wants. We quite want this new hot rod Rangie…

Land Rover kills the Range Rover SV Coupe

Range Rover SV Coupe dead

The most expensive version of the ‘best 4x4xfar’ is now to be the least-made 4x4xfar, as the £240,000 Range Rover SV Coupe hits the chopping block.

Today, Land Rover confirmed the news, saying “the Range Rover SV Coupe will not proceed into production”. Although there was allegedly plenty of demand for this most decadent of Range Rover variants, not a single car has been built and delivered to a customer.

Land Rover insists that demand was healthy for the 999 cars that were to be made. While sales are reportedly nothing to do with the cancellation, Land Rover has declined to disclose exactly how many were spoken for.

Range Rover SV Coupe dead

In reality, the SV Coupe, like the C-X75 hypercar of five years ago, is likely a victim of JLR cost-cutting and belt-tightening. The ‘big cat’ was cancelled too, in favour of a focus on volume and profit margins rather than these more expensive (to develop and buy) models.

At present, JLR is gearing up for a £2.5billion saving over the next year and a half. As well as cancelled fancy models, as many as 4,500 redundancies are expected to contribute to the savings.

You’d imagine the big Rangie to cost much less development-wise than something like the C-X75. You’d be wrong, given that all but two of the body pieces are changed over the standard car. The bonnet and the bottom of the tailgate, if you were wondering.

Pushing the boundaries

Range Rover SV Coupe dead

That doesn’t mean it’s the end for JLR Special Vehicle Operations. Many more cars are said to be in the pipeline.

“Our Special Vehicle Operations division is continuing to develop exciting cars that push the boundaries of luxury, performance and capability… we have many more new models in development,” said a spokesperson.

We wonder whether they will be quite as gratuitous as the two-door Rangie. We hate to say it, but…

Happy birthday, Land Rover Discovery: 30th Anniversary Edition revealed

Land Rover Discovery 30th Anniversary Edition

Land Rover has unveiled a 30th Anniversary Edition of the Discovery to celebrate three decades of its capable family 4×4.

There will be 400 examples of the Anniversary Edition, based on the Sd6 SE and available exclusively in the UK. It will feature a full-length panoramic glass roof, Meridian sound system and 22-inch wheels.

Anniversary Editions will be available to order in Corris Grey, Loire Blue, Indus Silver or Santorini Black, priced at £59,995.

“We have added extra value for our customers with the 30th Anniversary Edition, making what is regarded as the ‘Best Large SUV’ on sale today, even better,” said Rawdon Glover, managing director of Jaguar Land Rover UK.

“The Discovery family represents the pinnacle of versatility, and we are proud to celebrate that lineage. Discovery has evolved in its 30-year history to consistently bring technology, capability and relevance to the ever-changing motoring community.”

Land Rover Discovery 30th Anniversary Edition

The Discovery, now in its fifth generation, is a cornerstone model for Land Rover. After the rugged original Land Rover and the (what became) luxurious Range Rover, the Disco served to bridge the gap.

And bridge it has, for the better part of 30 years, and over the course of more than 1.7 million sales.

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