Land Rover will rock up to the Frankfurt motor show in September with two important new variants of the L494 Range Rover Sport: a diesel-electric hybrid model and a conventional model powered by Land Rover's diesel V8.
And there's a four-cylinder 'EcoBoost' engine in the Range Rover Sport's future too, but that's an engine variant that won't see the light of day for some time yet. So says Stuart Frith, Land Rover's Chief Programme Engineer for Range Rover Sport.
"The significant weight reduction... [of] 420kg has allowed us to put an I4 [inline four-cylinder] engine in the car – which will come later in the life cycle of the product. Prototypes that we've made, with the I4 in, the car really still is truly a Range Rover; it still has the performance and off-road capability, because of that weight saving."
Asked when we might expect the four-cylinder Sport to see the light of day, Frith was reticent. However, he had more to offer on the subject of the hybrid and V8 diesel variants that will reach showrooms before the end of the year.
"Another addition -- really a reintroduction for Range Rover Sport -- is a V8 diesel, so the SDV8 rejoins the line-up at the end of 2013, and that's got 700Nm of torque.
"Also later in 2013, our first hybrid will join the range."
Frith told motoring.com.au that the target CO2 emissions for the hybrid variant (in NEDC combined-cycle testing) is 169g/km – with a diesel V6. Hybrid hardware will be located under the floor of the Range Rover Sport, meaning the car's seven-seat capacity and luggage space will be unimpaired.
In response to the speculation that the hybrid – fitted with the same ZF eight-speed transmission as every other Range Rover Sport variant – would feature a motor/generator unit between the engine and the transmission, Frith said: "It's very safe to assume that."
Frith also revealed that the hybrid-drive technology will also be introduced in the L405 Range Rover "at the same time."
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