Small changes for big Range Rover in 2008

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It's had a lot of challengers, and to stay at the top, Land Rover has been rolling out consistent updates to its flagship Range Rover model. Last year it was the upgraded engines: the 305-hp 4.4-liter V8 and the supercharged 400-hp 4.2-liter V8. For this year, the Range Rover gets upgrades to the interior and to its traction systems.

Inside, the Range Rover's luxurious cabin has been updated with a new instrument panel, air-con unit, new airbags and new trim, switchgear and storage compartments. The front seats have been outfitted with new head restraints designed to minimize whiplash, as well as an in-seat air-cooling system (optional on HSE and standard on Supercharged models). Underneath, the Land Rover's Terrain Response system has been fitted as standard equipment, as well as an electronic rear differential (which, like the seat cooling system, is optional on HSE and standard on Supercharged models) to supplement the center e-diff. There's also a new electronic parking brake that automatically disengages when you start driving.

The new changes might not amount to much, as Land Rover draws up plans for the Range Rover's all-aluminum replacement, but with heavy competition from Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, Land Rover can't afford to rest on its name alone.

Press release after the jump, and high-res images in the gallery below.

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Land Rover's prestigious Range Rover line receives several upgrades for the 2007 model year to sustain its status as the world's most capable and complete luxury SUV. Range Rover's legendary on- and off-road prowess is improved by the addition of the patented and highly acclaimed Terrain Response™ system as standard equipment. A handy control dial positioned on the center console automatically optimizes a host of powertrain and chassis systems to suit driving conditions. A driver may select one of five available modes to handle situations ranging from normal dry-pavement driving to snow, mud, sand, and extreme rock crawling. A new infinitely variable locking 'e' (electronically controlled) rear-axle differential has been added as standard Supercharged and optional HSE equipment to further enhance Range Rover's legendary traction. A center e-differential is standard on both models.

A thorough redesign of the Range Rover's cabin is the second major development for 2007. The instrument panel, climate control system, airbag layout, trim fittings, switchgear, and storage facilities are all newly designed to reflect the latest advancements in aesthetics, ergonomics, and technology. Front seats are redesigned to incorporate new whiplash-reducing head restraints. Front seat cool-air ventilation is now available as an option (standard on Supercharged) to supplement the standard seat-heating feature.

Richard Beattie, Land Rover North America's executive vice president sales and marketing, explains the rationale for introducing new Range Rover engines last year followed by significant changes for 2007: "We're constantly vigilant for opportunities to upgrade our flagship's comfort, capability, and prestige to maintain its status as the world's most complete luxury SUV. With Land Rover sales on the rise and Range Rover enthusiasm higher than ever, it's our duty to exceed our customers' most ambitious expectations. The new interior and chassis enrichments are precisely what owners expect of Land Rover, the luxury SUV category's leader."

Land Rover's design director Gerry McGovern notes, "The changes we've incorporated in the 2007 Range Rover are for the most part practical and aimed at enhancing the

day-to-day driving experience. We've made major strides in stowage and control location. The arrival of a new electronically-controlled parking brake system facilitated moving the shift lever closer to the driver and increasing center-console storage capacity. Twin glove boxes-one stacked atop the other and opened by an electric release button-make convenient use of the passenger side of the instrument panel."

"The new instrument panel not only conforms to the latest safety requirements, it's also the next iteration of our much admired architectural design theme," McGovern continues. "Luxury and craftsmanship both rise to a higher level. The Range Rover's command view driving position is improved, we've added a knee airbag for the driver, and the passenger-side airbag has been reengineered for enhanced deployment. In the gauge cluster, the instruments have new, more legible graphics and bezels exhibiting a richer brushed-aluminum finish."

Cabin comfort is improved in multiple areas. The addition of a higher-capacity evaporator increases cooling ability by 15 percent. Two vents have been added at the top of the instrument panel to enhance circulation and to reduce the noise level when the HVAC fan is operating at high speed. Three-zone climate control is standard. A new acoustic windshield is laminated with a triple-layer polymer capable of reducing the transmission of exterior noise by up to six decibels.

Front seats not only offer enhanced safety, thanks to a new head restraint design that helps guard against whiplash injury during a rear-end collision, but are also more comfortable. Electric cushion heating is standard to take the edge off winter mornings. A new option is dedicated air-conditioning units that circulate cool air through center trim perforations in both the cushion and backrest areas (standard on the Supercharged model). Separate controls are provided for the driver and the front passenger.

The new switchgear is ergonomically designed for intuitive operation, convenient reach, and a fine tactile feel. The new parking brake control is a one-touch lever activated by a light pull. The parking brake disengages automatically with forward travel or it can be manually released.

Relocating side-impact airbags from the doors to the seatbacks facilitated a more attractive door panel design with more extensive use of genuine wood trim. Throughout the Range Rover's cabin, the feeling is that of custom-made craftsmanship.

Another notable 2007 Range Rover upgrade is the installation of Land Rover's highly esteemed Terrain Response™ system. A simple turn of this control dial sets a comprehensive range of chassis and powertrain systems to suit drastic differences in terrain. Throttle response, automatic transmission operation, electronic differentials, anti-lock brakes, the air suspension, traction control, and Hill Descent Control all click into synch to give any driver the confidence to traverse challenging terrain. The five available Terrain Response™ settings are: general driving, grass/gravel/snow (applicable to any slippery condition), sand, mud and ruts, and rock crawl.

An electronically controlled infinitely variable locking rear differential is new for 2007. Standard on the Supercharged Range Rover and optional on the HSE, this device aids

traction and handling on- and off-road. An infinitely variable locking electronic center differential is standard on both models. Another change for 2007 is an upgrade of the HSE's suspension calibrations (spring and damper rates) to match those already in successful use on the Supercharged model.

Through three generations spanning over three decades, the Range Rover's status as the most complete and capable luxury all-terrain SUV has never been seriously challenged.

Life at the top is never easy, hence the improvements for 2007. These refinements are built upon a firm foundation. The Range Rover's integrated monocoque body and chassis is fortified with three steel subframes. The main body shell is galvanized on two sides with aluminum-alloy doors, front fenders, and hood to save weight. The permanently engaged four-wheel-drive transfer case is equipped with two speeds and an electronic center differential. The six-speed automatic offers both Sport and CommandShift™ (manual) modes. An extensive range of electronic controls regulate the center differential as well as the ABS disc brakes, four-wheel traction control, air suspension, dynamic stability control, and hill descent control. Four-corner independent suspension with extra-long wheel travel, air springs, and automatic leveling provides a poised highway ride, sure handling, and practically unstoppable off-road mobility. Nine airbags, a body structure designed to absorb energy during a collision, and head restraints configured to help protect against whiplash injury are just three examples of the Range Rover's comprehensive safety systems.

Two new engines with superior performance were introduced for the Range Rover line last year. The flagship's Supercharged and intercooled DOHC 4.2-liter V8 delivers 400 bhp, a 35 percent gain over the previous V8. The 420 lb.-ft. of available torque, up by 25 percent, provides effortless passing acceleration and quiet highway cruising. The Land Rover HSE is powered by a sophisticated 4.4-liter DOHC 32-valve V8 engine delivering 305 bhp and 325 lb.-ft. of torque. Extensive measures are taken to assure that these engines perform reliably during off-road extremes. They're well protected from rock damage, water and dust ingestion, and oil starvation while driving at steep angles. Special throttle calibrations are in place to provide the driver with sensitive control of the torque delivered during low-speed off-road treks.

Summing up the Range Rover's merits, Beattie notes, "What makes this Land Rover a Range Rover is its sheer breadth of capability. This SUV inspires confidence even in trying circumstances. There's effortless performance for daily driving as well as deep reserves available when adventure calls. The refinements added during the past two model years have raised the bar far beyond the reach of any competitor. The two Range Rovers are more sophisticated and technically advanced than any product we've offered in the past. We're confident that their reputation as the world's most complete luxury SUV is secure."

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