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by Brett Davis

The iconic Range Rover has been a much-loved luxury four-wheel drive ever since it’s release back in 1970, that’s right, it has just turned the big four zero. Many critics say the Range Rover is the ultimate package and compromise due to it’s comfort, off-road capability and, especially with the later models, on-road stability and sedan-like feel and handling.

Over the years there’s been three different generations of Range Rover. The original Classic – released in 1970 under British Leyland ownership – which used a platform so good it was produced until 1994, although under multiple parent companies – Rover Group (1986 through until 1988) and British Aerospace (1988 through until 1994).

In 1994, BMW bought the rights and with it released an all-new second generation known as the P38A. It was produced from 1994 until 2001. The P38A was available with various engine packages, including a BMW 2.5-litre six cylinder option. There were also improvements made to the original 4.0-litre and 4.4-litre Rover V8s. This model also saw big improvements made to the automatic and manual, height-adjustable air suspension system.

The third and latest generation, known as the L322, was produced from 2001 and is still being produced today. Ford took over the rights of the brand in 2000 until 2008, when Tata Motors bought the rights and currently still holds ownership. Although the Land Rover range has been around for much longer, the rugged utility wagon hasn’t made quite the same impact as the more luxurious Range Rover on an international scale, as Phil Popham, managing director of Land Rover, describes;

“Land Rover has a unique history of product innovation. But the Range Rover probably remains the most historically significant vehicle we have ever launched. It is one of the most important vehicles in the history of motoring.”

On the eve of Range Rover’s birthday, the Rover group have just released details about its 2011 model too. They say there will be a new 4.4-litre twin-turbo diesel V8 engine available, as well as a 3.6-litre turbo-diesel V8 – which boasts vast economy and emission improvements.

There’s also a new eight-speed automatic transmission on the way and two new ‘Terrain Response’ traction systems incorporated into the drive control. Subtle styling enhancements have also been made to the new model. Expect more details from us as its release progresses.

(with autoevolution.com)




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