2013 Range Rover L405 has an all-alloy structure

At first glance there’s not much difference between the new-generation Range Rover and the outgoing car. But under the conservative skin the L405, as the new car is known internally, is all-new and boasts all-alloy monocoque construction – a first for its class.

Jaguar Land Rover is no stranger to aluminium structures – big Jaguars have been using alloy construction for years.The company claims the new body structure in L405 is 39% lighter than the old car’s steel body, despite an increase in wheelbase and overall length of around 100mm. The result is vehicle weight savings of up to 420kg, giving the new car a kerb weight of around 2400kg. This should bring with it gains in performance, fuel economy, CO2 emissions and handling – though it is still heavier than many competitors.

The structure has been optimised with refinement in mind, working with acoustic lamination of the windscreen and side door glass.The monocoque is supplemented by aluminium front and rear subframes which carry redeveloped air suspension, which is said to improve agility and roll control without harming the ride. The L405 comes with the latest version of Land Rover’s Terrain Response® system, which analyses the current driving conditions and automatically selects the most suitable vehicle settings for the terrain.

Three engines will be available at launch: a supercharged 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine as used by Jaguar, the 3.0-litre TDV6 diesel which is shared with the Discovery and the 4.4-litre SDV8 diesel from the current Range Rover.

Jaguar Land Rover says the new shape reinterprets classic Range Rover design cues, while the interior clearly develops themes introduced in the outgoing L322 Range Rover.

2013 Range Rover interior

L405 Range Rover interior develops ideas introduced in the previous model.

“Designing the next generation Range Rover, following over 40 years of success, came with a huge responsibility,” said Gerry McGovern, Land Rover Design Director and Chief Creative Officer. “Our design team worked incredibly hard to capture the elegant proportions and pure surfaces which have been a feature of the best Range Rover designs.”

John Edwards, Land Rover Global Brand Director, said: “The new Range Rover preserves the essential, unique character of the vehicle – that special blend of luxury, performance and unmatched all-terrain capability.  However, its clean sheet design and revolutionary lightweight construction have enabled us to transform the experience for luxury vehicle customers, with a step change in comfort, refinement and handling.”

Prototype L405 Range Rover in testing

Prototype L405 Range Rovers have been a familiar sight in the English Midlands over the last year.

The L405 Range Rover is now nearing the end of an 18-month test programme which has seen prototypes working in more than 20 countries, in a wide variety of climate and road conditions. Camouflaged vehicles have been a common site on the roads around Jaguar Land Rover’s Gaydon engineering centre in central England. It will be built at the company's Solihull production plant, which is being requipped to build the new alloy structure. Jaguar Land Rover will be hoping the redeveloped production line and intensive testing will result in a big step forward in quality – something the brand badly needs.

The Range Rover will be available to order from September 2012 with customer deliveries scheduled to start from early 2013.