Only the third model in its 32-year history and the first since 1994, the new Range Rover has undergone a radical transformation under its still familiar shell. Although there are no body panels in common with the previous model, traditional Range Rover design elements such as the horizontally split tailgate and simple grille remain, the major shift being the replacement of the separate box-section chassis with a steel monocoque offering greater levels of torsional stiffness. The totally new sub frame-mounted independent suspension with interconnected air springs provides large wheel travel (270 mm at the front and 330 mm at the rear - a significant increase over the previous generation Range Rover) and ground clearance. 'Terrain Sensing' software that determines if the vehicle is being driven off-road and adjusts the suspension accordingly via electronic traction control systems. Both the 4.4 litre V8 petrol and 3.0-litre common rail sixcylinder turbo-diesel engines are available featuring fully automated and steptronic manual shifts.
Another useful refinement is the ability to shift from high to low ranges (and vice verca) on the move, and as in the second generation Range Rover, the entire vehicle can be gently lowered to ease entry and egress - in the new model this can also be pre-programmed so the body is at the correct height as the vehicle rolls to a stop. There's more interior space created by the extensive use of aluminium for weight reduction in the body and a choice of styles and features - leather, walnut and chrome interior fittings complemented by an integrated telecommunications system including telephone, three levels of hi-fi with six or 11 speakers, satellite navigation with off-road functionality and an in-dash widescreen TV. Forty-five pre-production prototypes were driven more than 2.4 million kilometres to test the new generation Range Rover before its release.
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