Put down the pitchforks, purists. While it's true that Land Rover has just announced a brand-spanking new take on its LR2/Freelander 2 that forgoes the company's go-anywhere all-wheel drive in favor of a more efficient front-wheel drive setup, the drivetrain is only available on a single diesel model. What's more, Land Rover officials tell Autoblog that we won't be seeing the FWD model on our shores (we don't get the diesel anyway). The trucklets should hit dealer lots in the UK toward the end of September, offering a more efficient take on high-riding luxury with a 2.2-liter turbocharged diesel engine with around 150 horsepower. When bolted to a manual transmission, the engine turns out 38 mpg US. On second thought, maybe we could do without those rear tires kicking. If you're a Statesider and like the idea of a front-drive Landie, there's still a chance you'll be able to get your wish – the forthcoming Evoque crossover is also slated to be available so-equipped, although it isn't immediately clear if such models will be available here.
Land Rover will also let UK buyers bolt the thrifty little oil burner into an all-wheel drive model, though doing so carries a penalty of about 5 mpg. If you find yourself living in the Old Empire and want a little more power out of your pint-size Rover, you can opt up for a 190 horsepower gasoline engine, too, though it's worth pointing out that you can only get that mill with an automatic gearbox.
Even if North America doesn't receive the diesel or front drive, we will get the 2011 model's modestly updated look and upgraded interior. You'll have to look closely to see the changes, but there's a new bumper cap with revamped fog lamps, a revised grille finish, as well as 'improved' headlights and new taillights. Perhaps most noticeable are the Freelander 2's new alloy wheel patterns.
The baby Rover's interior has also received a badly needed update, but it only includes reworked gauges, seats, carpets and revised stowage, well shy of the interior rehabbing that the rest of the LR lineup received for 2010. Hit the jump for a look at the press release and try to spot the exterior changes in our high-res gallery below.
[Source: Land Rover]
* New upgraded diesel engine available with either 150PS or 190PS
* Stronger performance and improved efficiency throughout the range
* The 2.2-litre 150PS TD4 manual has improved by 8 per cent to 165g/km with a corresponding improvement in fuel economy of 9 per cent to 45.6mpg
* The 2.2-litre 150PS TD4 and 190 PS SD4 automatics see a 14 per cent improvement in CO2 emissions to 185g/km and a matching fuel economy improvement delivering 40.4mpg
* Revised exterior with new front bumper assembly plus three new colour schemes and new alloy wheel options
* Interior tweaks with new instrument dials and Premium Pack option
* Customers offered more choice with addition of 2WD eD4 derivatives
* Frugal eD4 model capable of 47.2mpg and 158g/km CO2
* Improved intelligent Stop/Start technology as standard on manual transmission
The 2011 Freelander 2 model range, on sale in the UK from the end of September 2010, benefits from a new 2.2-litre diesel engine available with either 150PS or 190PS outputs, a new look exterior plus interior alterations including new instrument dials and a new Premium Pack option.
Land Rover's new turbo diesel engine is available in the 4WD TD4 150PS model featuring a manual transmission and intelligent Stop/Start technology as standard (an automatic gearbox without Stop/Start is available as a cost option), or the new SD4 model delivering 190PS (available in automatic transmission only).
This new engine is quieter, more efficient and both derivatives have 20Nm more torque than the outgoing engine. This means the 2011 Freelander 2 offers improved engine response and more mid-range strength for towing. CO2 emissions have been significantly reduced to 165g/km and 185g/km respectively with corresponding fuel economy benefits.
However, despite reductions in consumption and emissions, there has been no compromise in performance. The flagship 190PS Freelander SD4 accelerates from rest to 60mph in 8.7 seconds with an increased top speed of 118mph. The Freelander 150PS TD4 manual and automatic versions match the performance of their predecessors.
As well as being upgraded from EU4 to EU5, both versions have a new variable geometry turbocharger and have been extensively re-calibrated to deliver new levels of power, meet emissions regulations and reduce CO2 emissions. They are fitted with a catalysed diesel particulate filter as standard and are now compatible with 10 per cent biodiesel rather than 5 per cent.
As an addition to the Freelander 2 range, Land Rover will also offer customers a 2WD derivative, available in the UK from January 2011. This will be called the Freelander 2 eD4 and it will be the most efficient Land Rover ever produced, with fuel consumption of 47.2mpg combined, and CO2 emissions of just 158g/km.
"The new Freelander 2 eD4 moves Land Rover into the hugely popular and fiercely contested two wheel-drive SUV market," said Land Rover managing director Phil Popham. "The European market for two-wheel drive SUVs represents 23 percent of the segment and we intend to compete strongly here.
"A 2WD option is just one way in which we are developing our vehicles' efficiency whilst adding to the Land Rover range and expanding our appeal to a broader group of customers. We will continue to make the 'world's finest all-terrain vehicles' for those customers who require 4WD but will also now offer an alternative."
This groundbreaking Freelander 2 eD4 is powered by the new 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine, delivering 150PS. It is only available with a six-speed manual transmission featuring Stop/Start technology as standard.
The exterior of the latest Freelander 2 gets a new look for 2011. Marked out by a new front bumper assembly incorporating new front fog lap bezels, a new front grille finish, improved headlights and tail lamps, new full width tailgate appliqué and new 18- or 19-inch alloy wheel styles. There are three new colour schemes for 2011 Kosrae Green, Baltic Blue and Fuji White.
Inside the cabin, Land Rover's design team have revised the instrument dials, and there are four new seat styles with the option of a Premium Pack that includes Windsor Leather upholstery, an 8/6 way electric seat, plus premium carpet mats and covered centre stowage.
The 4WD TD4 and SD4 models are on sale in the UK from the end of September.