Land Rover Sets Sights On BMW X6 With A Potential Rival Model
New model will reportedly get "Range Rover Sports Coupe" nameby Kirby Garlitos, on
Jaguar Land Rover appears to have something in store for Range Rover by taking it into what amounts to “parts unknown” for the luxury SUV brand. Word has it that there’s a strong likelihood that we’re finally going to get a sportier and road-oriented SUV from Range Rover, one that will compete directly against the likes of the BMW X6 and the Mercedes GLE-Coupe. No official announcement has been made, and for good reason. JLR is keeping details about this model under lock and key for the time being. That said, word on the street is that the model carries the codename “L560” and will eventually evolve into the Range Rover Sport Coupe.
The Sport Coupe, or “Evoque XL” as it was referred to when Land Rover unveiled its three-pillar brand strategy back in 2013, is being developed with the goal of slotting it between the Evoque and the Range Rover Sport. It’s believed that it will carry the same alloy chassis that’s currently being used by its cousin from Jaguar, the F-Pace. More importantly, the Sport Coupe will be built with a clean slate. That means we can expect a completely new and different look from any of the models Land Rover already has around.
Specific design elements are already being considered, including the prospect of seeing a sloping roof line, tight rear overhangs, and a luxurious and cockpit-like interior that will rival that of the X6 and the GLE. New materials and finishes, specifically for the cabin, are also expected to be included in the development of the vehicle.
As far as engines are concerned, the Sports Coupe will likely utilize JLR’s range of six- and eight-cylinder gas and diesel engines. A four-cylinder is also possible, although don’t expect to see one if the British automaker is set on developing the SUV as a straight-shot rival to the X6 and the GLE. A hybrid powertrain is also a possibility, as is an all-electric version and a range-topping variant that will utilize the same 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 that its counterpart in Jaguar, the F-Pace SVR, will also use.
Given the extensive “details” that’s been leaked about the model, I suppose JLR will make an announcement sooner than later, especially with the launch timetable for the Sports Coupe supposedly set for 2017.
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Why it matters
We really must be living in different times when Land Rover is beginning to see the appeal of competing against coupe-SUVs like the BMW X6 and the Mercedes GLE-Class. I for one didn’t see this one coming, which is probably why it’s also a little bit exciting to see what the British automaker has up its sleeve.
Let’s face it; Land Rover isn’t the type to compromise its luxurious image. The closest it probably came to veering down that path was with the Range Rover Evoque and even then, the company chose to develop the SUV by integrating its new-school design with as many of the traditional design elements that it’s been known for. The result was impressive, even if Range failed to account for the slightly disappointing powertrain.
The Range Rover Sports Coupe, on the other hand, appears to be a different animal altogether. First, there’s that nod towards the X6 and the GLE. Then there are the bits and pieces of details that are being thrown around, all of which seem to allude to a model that will boast a new design, new interior layout, and most importantly, a new image. Is it really possible that Land Rover is really venturing down this road after years of resisting it? We won’t know the answer until the British automaker confirms it, but seeing as how it’s become important for companies to bolster their SUV lineups these days, I wouldn’t put it out of the realm of possibility.
I hope Land Rover does it, if only for the purpose of seeing the company relent on how the market for these SUVs is shaping up to be. Coupe-SUVs like the X6 and the GLE may not be the nicest vehicles to look at, but they sure attract attention, something I think Land Rover wants a piece of.
Read our full review on the Land Rover Range Rover Sport HST here.