Everyone knows the Range Rover is the ultimate luxury SUV that's dually suited for advanced off-roading, but when it comes to on-road performance…well, it has certainly improved the past few years, but its 282 HP shrinks in the wake of the 340 put out by the Porsche Cayenne S (worse – the Porsche’s Turbo makes a cool 450!)
So, what's Land Rover's answer? The Range Stormer concept vehicle (also known as the Range Rover Sport – final production name still TBD), a vehicle that looks more like it came from James Bond’s Q-branch than from the drawing boards of Solihull. This is a Land Rover that screams!
Starting under the hood, the Range Stormer carries a supercharged V8 32-valve engine with a six-speed automatic — the same one that powers Jaguar's current S-Type R and XJR. At about 400 HP with 399 ft. lbs. of torque, that’s a fast and powerful engine, but the body styling moves you into the future of SUV design even faster. Its lines are reminiscent of the current Range Rover, but its low-to-the-ground stance and muscle bulging hood are like no other Land Rover (or SUV for that matter) you’ve ever seen.
Still, the Range Stormer isn’t just a muscular engine wrapped in sleek sheet metal. There is a lot new here. The doors are actually a two-piece, gull-wing design, with the larger upper portion swinging up and forward (think Lamborghini) while the lower portion drops down, forming a step to give you a leg up to your seat. Though pundits speculate these gull-wing doors will not be part of the production model in the U.S. (not conducive to the low-ceiling garages and carports here…) The power-operated tailgate is also a unique feature. The upper half lifts upward while the lower section drops down behind the bumper to give you unrestricted access to the cargo area. And here, concealed within the floor, are secret compartments that raise and lower at the touch of a button. Just the kind of thing James Bond would love.
Up front, the Land Rover Range Stormer's interior is dominated by sweeping aluminum and complemented by high-grade leather. In back, rear passengers have two DVD screens, should the James Bond in you ever decide to have children.
Finally, underneath is yet another new concept: Terrain Response. Designed to maximize both on-road composure and off-road capability, the system offers six terrain settings — dynamic, normal, grass/gravel/snow (for slippery conditions), sand, deep ruts and rocks. Terrain Response manages all engine, driveline, suspension and braking functions, and automatically chooses the appropriate setting for the given conditions. James Bond, of course, can override this system and manually select the setting he wants.
The Range Stormer is built on Land Rover's new Integrated Body-Frame T5 platform. This is the next generation platform for Land Rover designed to provide superior on-road and off-road capability and performance and slated to be used on virtually all new vehicles to come from Solihull. The T5 will first be unveiled with release of the 2005 Land Rover LR3 (or Discovery 3 as it's known outside North America).
Will all this technology, sweet sheet metal and Q-branch inspired doors and secret compartments make it onto your Land Rover showroom? It’s hard to say…but Land Rovers have always broken new ground, haven’t they?
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