Two new HST models in March, and a host of upgrades to look forward to in ’09!
With the ownership transfer of Land Rover to India’s Tata Motors all but concluded - and record-breaking sales worldwide - things are certainly looking good for Land Rover these days. (The rumor that Tata is taking the assembly away from the UK appears to be squashed.)
It starts in March, when Land Rover will introduce the elite new HST models for both the Freelander 2 and the Range Rover Sport.
The Freelander 2 HST will feature a “sports styling pack” with new side moldings, bumper aprons and roof spoiler, 19-inch alloys, privacy glass and spiffy metallic paint that will make it look even more unmistakably Range Rover Sport-ish. Engine options are limited to the TDV8 outside the U.S. or the supercharged gas engines we'll get here.
If $63,000 still isn’t enough coin to part with, you can kick it up a few notches to around $118,000 and get yourself the new Range Rover Sport HST with 20-inch “Stormer” alloys, beefier body moldings, a rear spoiler, electric sunroof and rectangular exhaust pipes integrated into the rear bumper.
But wait (as they say on TV) there’s more! Inside also gets its share of upgrades, with leather seats or sports seats as a no-cost option. Then there’s what’s under the hood; a new 5.0-litre V8 gas engine with a seven-speed automatic gearbox, which will replace the current 4.2-litre V8 motor in the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. This new powerplant will be available in both normally aspirated and supercharged form, the latter developing some 500bhp yet somehow helping them to comply with upcoming European emissions laws. There is also a new seven-speed automatic gearbox being developed by ZF, but that is scheduled to debut in the BMW 7-series before being introduced on the Range Rover.
In the coming model year you’ll also be seeing a series of cabin upgrades to the Range Rover, LR3/Discovery and Range Rover Sport. The current satellite navigation system will be replaced with a touch-screen unit (reducing the number of buttons on the dashboard), a new four-spoke steering wheel, plus some Jaguar-derived switchgear which will help to cut costs on the production line. Along with the usual mild cosmetic changes to the bumpers and grilles, you’ll see Land Rover’s new premium-feel interiors, which they’re hoping will eliminate the Discovery’s utilitarian feel. It’s also likely that you’ll see the LR3's current 2.7-liter V6 diesel grow to 3.0-liters.
So get in line…and start saving those coins.
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