Not to be outdone at its own game by Volkswagen property Bentley, Land Rover is hoping to regain its role as the leading SUV manufacturer with a 200,000 British pound (about $303,000) range-topping model — a direct response to the newly revealed Bentley Bentayga of similar-but-less pricing structure.
“I’ve never been worried about the Bentley threat – I have always thought it brings an opportunity to grow the segment,” John Edwards, head of Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations, told England’s Auto Express. “It recognises we have created a segment and it is flattery that Bentley and Rolls-Royce soon want to join in. If you look at what we have done to Range Rover over the last five years, we have stretched the breadth of the product, the commercial footprint.”
The top-of-the-line Land Rover peaks at the $139,000 or so Autobiography, at least in America. Buyers are treated to high-end materials throughout, every conceivable option (like massage seats), and at least internationally, a choice in powertrain. Virtually every aspect is customizable, too.
But the new model would go beyond that — far beyond that, implied by the rumored $303,000 asking price (per Auto Express’ figures). That’s Rolls-Royce money, a league that Land Rover has flirted with but hardly committed to.
“Five years ago we knew we could stretch it, but I am not sure we knew how far and we have surpassed our expectations. So I think it could stretch a bit further,” Edwards told AE. When prodded about the car breaching the 200,000 pound mark, he added, “The strength of the Range Rover is that you can still get a £75,000 entry car and I don’t think we want to leave that behind.”
No other details were offered, but it’s likely that Land Rover has two goals for its new luxury flagship: speed and new levels of comfort and luxury for the brand.
Though Land Rover has the SVR — a brilliantly quick, 550 horsepower track-tuned SUV — the Bentley Bentayga scooped up the World’s Fastest SUV title with its W12 rated for 600 horsepower and 663 pound-feet of torque. “That’s enough power to hit 60 miles per hour in exactly four seconds and to keep charging up to 187 miles per hour,” we said in our coverage.
In addition to that lofty target, Land Rover will have to retain its reputation of being among the most off-road capable SUVs in the world. But it will also have to contend with the Mercedes G-Wagen — an SUV so iconic and capable that it’s been hardly changed for decades. In go-fast G65 AMG trim, well-heeled buyers have a tough choice. So, Land Rover is going to out-luxury Bentley, aiming for customer dollars on the higher end of the spectrum and head off Rolls-Royce’s Project Cullinan, which is still in development.
The new Rangie should feature more bespoke paint jobs and tailored interior options, and, according to AE, is likely to be available next year.