Land Rover today revealed the fourth member of the Range Rover family, the Velar, in London, ahead of the model’s debut at the Geneva motor show next week. Underpinned by the same technology as the similar-sized Jaguar F-Pace, the Velar will slot between the Evoque and the Range Rover Sport internationally.
Land Rover's chief design officer Gerry McGovern called the Velar design a “masterclass in design reduction”. He said, “It’s reduction by design and engineering. If something is on the car, you take it off and it makes no difference, it shouldn’t be there anyway.”
He also revealed that the Velar is the most aerodynamic Land Rover yet and that its design changed little in the three years since it was first presented internally. He also said that he didn’t consider the SUV to have a new design language, instead regarded it as an evolution.
The car also ushers in a new, more high-tech Land Rover interior design that is expected to be rolled out across the rest of the range as the next generation of models is introduced.
The key feature of the cabin is a new Touch Pro Duo infotainment system with two 10-inch touchscreens, described as ‘secret-until-lit’ surfaces. Between them, these configurable displays reduce the switchgear to an absolute minimum, while the lower part of the centre console ahead of the gear and Terrain Response selectors is turned into a screen itself.
The car’s chief engineer, Kevin Stride, said the interior had been designed around these screens. The brief was to get rid of as much switchgear as possible while still making it usable and engaging.
Stride said the more conventional upper touchscreen housed less-frequently-changed information, which is the opposite of the lower screen. However, the system is fully configurable, with the lower screen given “lightning-fast responses” to ensure there is no lag in functions traditionally controlled by a button.
Under the hood, the Velar is set to be offered with a choice of six engines. There’s a base 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ingenium diesel unit in 180hp and 240hp guises. The entry-level petrol engine is a new 2.0-litre Ingenium unit with 250hp. A more potent 300hp version of this engine is expected to join the line-up by the end of this year.
The V6 range-toppers are a 300hp diesel and a 380hp petrol engines. The petrol V6 is supercharged — the only non-turbo engine in the range — and will power the Velar from 0-100kph in 5.3sec.
The Velar will be available with all-wheel drive as standard with Land Rover’s full suite of off-road technology, including Terrain Response 2, an active rear locking e-differential and a Torque Vectoring by Braking system. Initial models will also get a system called Configurable Dynamics, which allows for stiffer suspension, improved throttle response and reduced assistance for the power steering, as standard.
While the model is fully capable for off-roading, it has been developed as the most road-biased model yet in the Range Rover line-up. "As a mid-sized SUV, it has less inertia [than larger models in the line-up]," said David Doody, vehicle programme director. "It's a lot more agile. The intention is that it's a lot more sporty than a full Range Rover."
The all-new Range Rover Velar is set to go on sale internationally before the end of the year. Expect an India launch sometime in 2018.