UNVEILED AT THE 2008 Detroit Auto Show, the Range Rover LRX concept was something of a show-stopper. Late last year, Land Rover confirmed that the LRX will go on sale in 2011.
Early reports had suggested that the new smaller 'Rangie' would appear on the market by June this year, marking 40 years for the Range Rover brand. As these new spy photos show, talk of a June launch may be a tad premature.
While early spy photos have shown the LRX platform being tested beneath the body of a current-generation Freelander, these new photos reveal that development of the new compact Range Rover is drawing to a close.
Land Rover says the new Range Rover will be the smallest, lightest and most efficient vehicle the carmaker has ever offered.
Phil Popham, Managing Director of Land Rover said: "Feedback from our customer research fully supports our belief that a production version of the LRX Concept would further raise the desirability of our brand and absolutely meet their expectations."
Land Rover has not announced any major mechanical details for the production LRX, although the British luxury marque confirmed last week that the small SUV will be offered in both front- and four-wheel-drive variants.
Petrol, diesel and hybrid versions have been suggested, with the hybrid engine expected to be able to run in three modes: electric, petrol, and a petrol-electric hybrid mode.
Land Rover, in the meantime, has added stop-start and brake-energy regeneration technology to the 2010 Range Rover line-up.
"The new vehicle will be a natural extension to the Range Rover line-up, complementing the existing models and helping to define a new segment," Gerry McGovern, Land Rover design director said.
"It will be true to the concept and have many recognisable Range Rover design cues including the signature clamshell bonnet, the floating roof and the solid 'wheel-at-each-corner' stance."
The LRX was conceived with new technologies in mind, including a lightweight design and a 2.0 litre turbo-diesel hybrid powertrain quoted as capable of achieving 4.7 l/100km on bio-diesel.
The Tata-owned British marque says that the three-door LRX will address the "needs of a changing world with a car that is very much a Land Rover, but a very different type of Land Rover".
The concept LRX was shown based on a Land Rover Freelander chassis.
In Detroit Auto Show trim, it featured full-time four-wheel drive, Hill Descent Control and Land Rover’s Terrain Response to optimise traction on icy roads or grass, gravel and snow.