The enhanced stiffness has been achieved even with a full-length, and standard, panoramic sunroof. Vehicle programme director Nick Miller said any loss of lateral stiffness caused by removing such a large piece of steel is cancelled out by the installation of a high-strength glass panel, which serves the same load-bearing function.
The structure has also been designed to maximise efficiency: so-called ‘aero shields’ run the length of the car’s underbody to channel air efficiently towards the rear, and even the rear suspension elements have their own aero-optimised covers, which “deliver a controlled separation of the underbody airflow”.
There has been a shake-up of the Range Rover’s powertrain offering: there are now no four-cylinder options, the plug-in hybrids use a completely new powertrain with significantly improved performance and the top-rung model swaps its supercharged 5.0-litre V8 for a twin-turbo BMW unit.
The range opens with a choice of 3.0-litre Ingenium straight sixes (two petrol, three diesel), all with 48V mild-hybrid assistance and power outputs ranging from 246bhp in the entry-level D250 diesel to 395bhp in the P400 petrol.
Around three months after launch, these will be joined by a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid option with a new 38.2kWh battery that has a WLTP-certified electric range of 62 miles, giving the Range Rover one of the longest electric ranges of any PHEV on sale. The new ‘Extended Range’ PHEV variant, based on a six-cylinder engine for the first time, offers combined outputs of either 434bhp and 457lb ft or 503bhp and 516lb ft, and is estimated to be capable of covering 75% of all journeys with the engine off, according to Land Rover’s research.
It is also equipped with 50kW charging capacity, so an 80% charge can be achieved in less than an hour, while a brake regeneration system helps top up the battery – which is located under the floor for optimal weight distribution – when on the move.