DETROIT, MI - Range Stormer is a high performance, sports tourer SUV concept car, which showcases a future design direction for Land Rover and the company's increasingly bold approach to new technologies.
It is also the first-ever Land Rover concept to preview a new production model, one that will enter a fresh market segment for the company. This will be an additional model line in the Land Rover portfolio.
‘The supercharged V8 Range Stormer gives a taste of our forthcoming new entrant in the booming high performance SUV segment,' says the managing director of Land Rover, Matthew Taylor. ‘The production vehicle that follows will share many of its styling and technical innovations.
‘Range Stormer is a modern, striking, high-technology vehicle,' he adds. ‘It is very much conceived to be an on-road, high performance machine, as well as class-leading off-road like all Land Rovers. Breadth of capability is one of its many strengths.'
Future technologies previewed with the concept include an all-new platform that will be the basis for future full-size Land Rover models. This advanced, fully integrated platform, unique to Land Rover, will provide the underpinnings for the production vehicle inspired by Range Stormer.
Another major innovation is Terrain Response. This smart and simple-to-use new Land Rover technology delivers the best possible on-road and off-road composure and control, by optimising the entire vehicle set-up including suspension, powertrain, throttle response and traction control. The driver simply selects the appropriate Terrain Response setting from the six available on Range Stormer, varying from ‘dynamic' for high speed work to ‘deep ruts' for extreme off-roading.
‘You'll be seeing an increasing amount of innovative technology in our future vehicles,' says Matthew Taylor. ‘But technology that makes the driver's task simpler not more complicated, such as Terrain Response. You select the terrain. The car then helps you conquer it.'
MUSCULAR AND MODERN DESIGN
The Range Stormer concept car is the sportiest looking vehicle ever to wear a Land Rover badge.
‘The challenge was to translate fundamental Land Rover design values into a concept for a high performance machine that looks powerful, muscular and edgy,' says design director Geoff Upex. ‘We certainly want to challenge established views of our vehicles and yet Range Stormer is clearly an authentic Land Rover'.
He continues: ‘It has classic Land Rover design language, such as the clamshell bonnet, “floating roof”, castellated corners on the hood, the straight waistline and short front overhang. Take one look at the vehicle and it's obviously from Land Rover, and obviously has strong Range Rover genes.'
The pillars are slim to aid visibility – another typical Land Rover quality – and the roof is glass, giving a light and airy feel to the cabin. Less traditional Land Rover cues include the low roofline, power bulge in the hood and the huge 22-inch forged alloy wheels.
The design is peppered with interesting and practical ideas. The doors are a two-piece type: the upper half hinging up and forwards, while the lower half drops to provide a step to the cabin. The doors are electrically powered.
The two-piece tailgate is electric, the upper half lifting and the lower dropping behind the bumper to give optimised access into the loadspace.
Floor compartments rise and lower electrically for improved additional stowage. Fitted leather 'his and her' bags are also neatly incorporated into the side walls.'
Headlamps feature ‘crushed ice' glass lenses and throw out an excellent light spread from the Bi-Xenon bulbs. These diamond-like lights also swivel with the steering wheel to help the car to ‘see' around corners. Side-mounted LEDs also illuminate at appropriate steering wheel angles, further improving the driver's ability to see where the car is heading.
The design lines of the interior are very structural - simple rather than ornate. The dash and centre console flow around the occupants, to deliver a sporty cockpit. Yet there is still the traditional ‘Command Driving' position, a result of the big glass area and comparatively high driver's seat.
The interior features four distinctive individual seats. Their radical design is inspired by the concept of the Möbius strip, the deep brown saddle leather facings being cut from a single hide.
‘The saddle leather not only looks fantastic but it is very hard wearing,' says Geoff Upex. ‘That reflects Land Rover philosophy. Our cars are renowned for their toughness and longevity.'
Natural materials dominate in the cabin, with leather and oak wood alongside aluminium. As well as covering the seats, dark saddle leather is also used on the top roll of the dashboard and centre console. For contrast, the lower facia, door inners and headlining are all finished in ivory leather, and even the floor is covered in a softer, grained leather.
The seat frames, a striking part of the cabin design, are aluminium, as are many of the switches. Others are swathed in leather. Instruments are back-lit, with aluminium faces. The fuel gauge is especially novel. Instead of a needle, a level of liquid drops as the fuel tank empties.
There are two DVD screens in the rear, and one in the front that swivels away when not in use, for the sophisticated information and entertainment systems.
‘The cabin is very simple in its design,' says Geoff Upex. ‘It is very modern and there is clear lineage to the very structural lines of the Range Rover. But it's more cocooning than any current Land Rover product, which we think this is very appropriate for a more sporting vehicle.'
BOLD NEW TECHNOLOGY
Range Stormer showcases a variety of advanced new technology, much of which will be seen in future Land Rover production models.
The concept car is designed to preview Land Rover's new integrated platform, which will not only form the basis of the Range Stormer-based production vehicle, but a future generation of full-size Land Rover models. It combines the torsional rigidity and strength of a monocoque with the advantages and versatility of a body-on-frame chassis.
‘This new platform is unique to Land Rover,' says Matthew Taylor. ‘It is highly advanced and will offer excellent safety, strength and adaptability, in addition to exceptional on-road and off-road driving capability.'
The suspension is by height-adjustable air springs, and is fully independent – for a comfortable ride and responsive handling, plus unmatched off-road versatility. The height adjustment not only improves on- and off-road handling, but also helps entry and exit.
Another important advance from Land Rover's engineering and design centre at Gaydon, England, is Terrain Response. It is designed to deliver the best vehicle performance in all types of on-road and off-road driving conditions, tuning the entire vehicle set-up for optimum composure and control,
With Terrain Response on the Range Stormer, an aluminium rotary switch allows the driver to choose one of six terrain settings:
· dynamic, for high speed or winding tarmac roads · normal, for day-to-day driving · grass /gravel/snow, for slippery conditions · sand · deep ruts · rocks
Terrain Response controls the engine (including engine mapping), gearbox, air suspension (ride height and firmness), driveline controls (such as differential settings), traction control functions (including Dynamic Stability Control and Hill Descent Control) and the brakes (ABS and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution). The car's advanced electronics select the optimal programmes to conquer the appropriate terrain.
‘Terrain Response is technology that makes driving simpler, not more complicated, and is a major advance for optimum vehicle performance both off-road and on-road,' says Matthew Taylor. ‘The special “dynamic” setting reflects the high-performance, on-road bias of the Range Stormer, for example. But in all programmes, the driver always retains overall control.'
The sporty, high performance SUV concept features a supercharged V8, specially developed for Land Rover from the renowned Jaguar engine used in the high performance XJR and XKR models. As well as dedicated power and torque outputs, the engine has been engineered to meet Land Rover's particular and exacting requirements, including the ability to run smoothly at acute fore/aft and side angles and waterproofing, for safe wading.
The engine delivers power to all four wheels by a smooth-shifting ZF six-speed electronically controlled automatic gearbox. Like all Land Rovers, the four-wheel drive is engaged permanently and electronically-selectable low-range is available for tough off-roading.