Jaguar Land Rover is clearly hitting the ground running with its new Special Vehicle Operations division. The only question is, what kind of ground surface is that, exactly? According to the latest intel coming in from the UK, that the skunkworks department could be focusing its attention next on a rough-and-tumble, off-road version of the Range Rover.

The news comes straight from SVO chief John Edwards, apparently speaking with Auto Express at the recent launch of the Jaguar Heritage Driving Experience. According to Edwards, "There are four different types of cars we want to do at SVO." The first is on-road performance models, like the Range Rover Sport SVR. The second is ultra-luxury models like the Range Rover Holland & Holland edition revealed just the other day. Next are small-run "collector's editions" like the F-Type Project 7. But the last category we haven't seen yet – and that's extreme off-road vehicles.

A few weeks ago we caught wind of a plan to make a more radical version of the Defender to send it off into retirement, but Edwards seems even more keen on an off-road-focused version of the Range Rover – whether in addition to or instead of the extreme Defender. The flagship model would be stripped out, with its posh leather upholstery replaced by more durable high-tech fabric, the suspension jacked up for higher ground clearance, the rolling stock replaced with knobbier rubber, the underbody reinforced with skid plates and more.

The idea might not fit, exactly, with how Land Rover plans to compartmentalize its lineup, or how the image which the Range Rover sub-brand has developed over the years. But a ruggedized version of the flagship model could serve to highlight just how capable a vehicle it is – while giving rock-crawling enthusiasts something to sink their teeth into.


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