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Range Rover Velar world premiere

Range Rover Velar world premiere

Chris Russon, 2017-03-01

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THIS is the new Range Rover Velar - the latest addition to Land Rover's royal family of SUVs that will bridge the gap between the top selling Evoque and the high performance Range Rover Sport.

Priced from £44,830, the Velar will be on sale in July topping out at £85,450 for an exclusive First Edition model.

New features include a twin touchscreen virtual control panel in the cockpit, retractable door handles and the arrival of the first of Jaguar Land Rover's Ingenium petrol engines.

Looking sleek and sophisticated the Velar had its world premiere in front of a VIP audience at London's Design Museum in Kensington.

Ultra-thin LED headlights give the Velar a dashing appearance while the overall design makes it the most aerodynamic model Land Rover has produced.

The low drag combined with lightweight aluminium construction give the entry level Velar an official fuel return of 52.5mpg with emissions of 142g/km.

That version is powered by a 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel engine developing 180bhp which results in a 0 to 60 acceleration time of 8.4 seconds.

The most powerful Velar comes with a supercharged V6 petrol pumping out 380bhp taking the 0 to 60 time down to 5.3 seconds, although emissions are up to 214g/km and fuel economy down to 30.1mpg.

Velar was the codename Land Rover gave to the original Range Rover prototype in 1969 and the newcomer becomes the fourth derivative to wear the Range Rover badge.

Taking the striking design first seen on the Range Rover Evoque to a new level, the Velar sits on alloy wheels with rims ranging from 18 to 22 inches.

Every aspect impresses with distinctive light signatures front and rear, day or night but it is the interior which really sets new standards.

Land Rover has gone for a high tech, minimalist feel replacing almost all of the switches with two 10-inch touchscreen panels in the centre of the dashboard.

They come alive as soon as the ignition is switched on and give access to all of the car's technology via full colour graphics for everything from the air conditioning to off-road drive modes.

With a 12.3-inch high definition digital instrument panel and a head-up display the facia has been turned into a feast of virtual reality.

Classic Range Rover luxury abounds with full leather trim on higher grade versions while a new cloth and suede-effect upholstery developed in conjunction with Danish textile company Kvadrat is available as an alternative.

Another first for the Velar is the arrival of the new Ingenium petrol engine which is being produced alongside the existing diesel blocks at JLR's multi-million pound powertrain plant in Wolverhampton.

The Velar itself is built at the Land Rover works in Solihull, where all other Range Rovers, except the Halewood-manufactured Evoque, are made.

Developing 250bhp, the new 2.0-litre petrol Velar will be priced from £52,150 and the engine will be available in all but base level trims.

Performance is said to be 0 to 60 in 6.4 seconds, a maximum of 135mph with fuel economy of 37.2mpg and emissions of 173g/km.

An uprated version, boosted to 300bhp will be joining the line up later while other engines being used in the Velar are a 240bhp twin turbo Ingenium diesel and a 300bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel. All are mated to eight-speed auto boxes.

At 15ft 8ins in length the Velar is some 18 inches longer than the Evoque and also has a greater wheelbase making for more room inside. Boot space ranges from 632 to 1,731 litres which is significantly bigger.

Adaptive damping and torque vectoring will feature on every model while those with V6 engines have air suspension to improve ride quality.

Although roomy inside, the cabin has an intimate feel and the Velar is best thought of as a luxury four seater. The third seat in the rear is compromised by a fold-down armrest cum storage box.

As with any Land Rover, the Velar has full all-terrain ability and uses the brand's electronic Terrain Response system to maximise off-road performance.

Ground clearance is more than eight inches, almost 10 inches with the variable air suspension and the Velar has a safe wading limit of around two feet.

All Terrain Progress Control, which works as a low speed cruise control in harsh conditions, is an option as is an upgraded automatic Terrain Response set up, although both are fitted as standard on the First Edition models.

The Velar has a towing limit of 2.5 tonnes and can be fitted with Land Rover's automated trailer manoeuvring and hitching technology which is operated from the driving seat via the central touchscreen and a rotary control to guide the vehicle.

Other technology being made available includes a driver fatigue monitor, automatic cruise control, cross traffic alerts when reversing and a semi-autonomous drive mode which can lock on to the vehicle ahead while in traffic.

Connectivity makes use of a 60GB hard drive and includes Wi-Fi for up to eight devices as well as the ability to track the vehicle remotely via an App or heat it up on a winter's morning from the comfort of your armchair.

On the convenience front, the tailgate operates automatically and for outdoor leisure purposes JLR's Activity Key - a weatherproof wristband which replaces the conventional key fob - is another option.

In every way the Velar is a stunning creation and designed to impress at all levels. From the way the door handles pop out as you approach the car then retract at 5mph to the sheer exclusivity of the interior, this is a Range Rover par excellence and epitomised by the First Edition models.

These come with a 1,600 Watt Meridian sound system, sit on 22-inch alloys and have LED matrix headlamps that can scythe more than a quarter of a mile through darkness without the risk of dazzle.

And as an exclusive touch they also feature special paint jobs including a hand-sprayed satin silver finish carried out at JLR's special vehicle operations centre in Coventry.

Following its London reveal last Wednesday the Velar has just made its European debut at the Geneva Motor Show.

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