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Tuesday, 22 July 2014 14:15

AND FASTEST RANGE ROVER EVERThis year’s Festival of Speed at Goodwood saw the introduction of what you might think was a somewhat incongruous new model. For those that don’t know, the Festival of Speed highlights all that is great in global motorsport, with a strong leaning to classic motorsport hardware. This year, however, one of the stars was a Range Rover Sport SVR, the fastest and most powerful production Land Rover ever produced. A highly camouflaged version of the SVR, delivered some 542bhp up the famous Goodwood hill, in the ‘First Glance’ class – nothing much to do with classic motorsport but certainly a clever way for the Festival of Speed organisers to get high profile manufacturer support and publicity for the event – well it’s made it into the pages of a 4x4 magazine, so it obviously works!

The model is the first to come from the company’s recently announced Special Operations department, but it will be built alongside the ‘standard’ Range Rover Sport models, and will be available through the normal dealership network. Full technical details of the SVR had not been announced as we closed for press.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014 14:12

ATTENTION: SPECIAL OPSFollowing a company tradition that goes right back to the vehicle’s initial production, Jaguar Land Rover has just announced the launch of a new Special Operations division, aimed to offer discerning customers ‘bespoke commissions, heritage products and branded goods.’

The new centre will be led by Paul Newsome, Director of Special Vehicle Operations, who arrives at JLR from Williams Advanced Engineering and he will be based at a new dedicated technical centre. There will be no less than 150 technicians at the centre, working to offer ‘a halo of vehicles ranging from high luxury to extreme performance.’

The emphasis here will be on bespoke and personal commissions, not quite the same as the company’s original special vehicle operations that produced commercial conversions for Land Rovers as fire tenders, field ambulance and the like. However, besides the new Special Operations operation a new heritage vehicle workshop will be created at Browns Lane in Coventry. This is actually the original home of Jaguar, and it will be the site for the recently announced production site for the six lightweight E-Type sports car recreations. It is hoped that this centre will also look at Land Rover heritage specials in the future. We await future announcements from both the Special Operations and heritage centre with great interest.

Polaris Limited Editions
Tuesday, 15 July 2014 00:00

ATV specialist PolarisATV specialist Polaris has just celebrated its 60th Anniversary, with the launch of the Ranger 400 Limited Edition and Ranger Diesel Limited Edition. These models are also fitted with gun scabbard mounts for shooting. Fittingly, the models were launched at the Clay Pigeon Shooting World English Sport Championships at West Wycombe, in Buckinghamshire.

Freelander Upgrade
Tuesday, 08 July 2014 00:00

freelanderWith all the excitement around the Discovery’s 25 years, plus the news of the new Concept vehicle (see page 22) pointing the way to the new Discovery ‘range’ in the future, it would be easy to forget the trusty Freelander. Not so it seems, as Jaguar Land Rover has just announced the new Metropolis model, introduced as ‘the most luxurious Freelander yet’. It is based on the HSE LUX model but has (appropriately enough!) Windsor leather, electronically adjustable seats, panoramic sunroof, xenon headlights, reversing camera and 19inch alloy wheels. The Metropolis is top of the Freelander range, but there are also new SE and SE Tech models for the 2015 model range; the SE being the entry level model. The SE Tech has the excellent 380W Meridian audio system, touchscreen-controlled navigation, automatic headlights and 19inch alloys. The new 2015 Freelander model range is available from dealers now, with a starting price of £27,765 for the SE manual, up to £35,995 for the Metropolis SD4 automatic. This magazine will be running a Metropolis in our Long Term fleet, starting next month. This is actually the first time that the magazine has had a present day Land Rover in its fleet, so we are looking forward to reporting just how we get on with it. Of course, if we need to get an understanding as to what it’s like to live with a latest Freelander, we could ask Princess Anne, since we spotted her very smart black version at Windsor. If it’s good enough for her, it should be OK for this magazine, don’t you think!

Tuesday, 01 July 2014 00:00

OFF-ROAD AT THE  HOUSE OF WINDSORTo celebrate the UK debut of the Discovery Concept and the 25 years of Discovery, we were permitted to drive along her Majesty’s front drive at Windsor Park. The three mile long drive is arrow straight. Standing at the start, the grandeur of Windsor Castle is obvious, but it does seem a long way away. OK, so we trundled along at a very slow speed, avoiding the many pedestrians enjoying the spring sunshine but it was something of an honour. While my drive around the park was indeed special, it was increased by the enjoyment of getting behind the wheel of Land Rover Discovery F981 ENV. This is the first production model of what later became known as Series 1 (it’s doubtful at the time that confidence was high enough to consider if there would ever be a Series II, let alone III, IV and now the Concept). This actual vehicle was handed over to the Heritage Collection directly from the production line and it probably looks even better today than it did back in ’89! Climb aboard and it feels like yesterday. The Terrance Conran-inspired interior still looks stylish and modern, the ultimate compliment for any design. Thinner A-pillars help as well, but it is still a great place to sit; the high roof helping, big hats are no problem in a Series 1. Turn on the ignition and the 2.5-litre 200TDi four-cylinder turbocharged diesel rattles to life, the steering wheel vibrates and there’s a hum through the whole body. Having previously been driving the very latest super-smooth Discovery, this comes as something of a shock. It’s not a criticism, however, just a comment that today we forget just how damped and noise-supressed modern new 4x4s are.

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