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All-New LR3 is Distinctively Land Rover

By: Brad Nevin | Ford Communications Network

The all-new Land Rover LR3 is a premium SUV designed to deliver outstanding performance both on and off-road. For more information on the LR3, visit DEARBORN, Mich., July 19, 2004 -- New Land Rover vehicles do not come along everyday. But when they do, SUV enthusiasts around the world take notice. The all-new Land Rover LR3 is a premium SUV designed to deliver outstanding performance both on and off-road. With a bold design that is distinctively Land Rover, the LR3 offers exceptional space, comfort and flexibility for up to seven adults.

“The LR3 is a new generation Land Rover, a vehicle of great conviction that points the way forward for the company,” said Land Rover managing director Matthew Taylor. “As you would expect from a Land Rover, it is awesome off-road. What may be more surprising to some is its great performance on-road too. The result is the widest breadth of capability in the class.”

LR3 is the first vehicle wholly developed by the new management team that took over Land Rover in July 2000, following the purchase by Ford Motor Company. The LR3 is a new vehicle in every way. Developed by and for Land Rover, it is a modern architecture that is designed to offer excellent on-pavement behavior while upholding Land Rover's rigorous off-road standards. Building on the philosophy established by Range Rover, it introduces a breadth of capability and a level of luxury that sets a new standard for the category.

The all-new 2005 Land Rover LR3 is a new vehicle in every way developed by and for Land Rover. LR3 features a spacious cabin packed with clever stowage locations and seating for either five or seven passengers. The third-row seats in the seven-seat version are roomy enough for 95th-percentile adults. All rear seats fold into the floor when not in use to create a vast, flat load space. Design director Geoff Upex says the LR3 was designed "from the inside out."

“Our priorities were cabin space, comfort, a command driving position and elevated ‘stadium seating’ in the rear,” says Upex. “The exterior design is a reflection of those interior priorities. It is very geometric, very minimalist, very modern. Everything is there for a reason. It is pure product design, rather than fancy automotive styling. The best vehicles inevitably are. It is also distinctively Land Rover. You won’t confuse this vehicle with anything else.”

Under the hood, LR3 gets a 4.4-liter 300 horsepower V-8 engine that is based on Jaguar’s AJ-V8 4.2-liter engine. Unique developments for the V-8 include increased low-end torque, greater weather-proofing (especially against dust and water ingress) and revised breathing for wading in rivers. The engine is mated to a six-speed "intelligent shift" electronically controlled ZF automatic transmission. The transmission offers a "sport" mode which delivers more performance-oriented throttle response and gear shifts, and it also features Land Rover’s Command Shift™ operation which gives the driver full manual control of gear changing.

Of course, power goes to all four wheels. Electronic Traction Control and Dynamic Stability Control modulate power supply and braking, ensuring maximum grip in all conditions. Throttle response, gear change patterns and suspension settings are also computer controlled, determined by speed and road (or off-road) conditions. Low range is also available, for tough terrain.

Among the LR3's list of new technologies is Land Rover’s patented Terrain Response™ system, previewed on the recent Range Stormer concept car. Terrain Response is a major advance that improves drivability, comfort and traction. The driver chooses one of five terrain settings via a chunky rotary dial on the center console: There is a general driving mode, one for slippery conditions (grass/gravel/snow), and three off-road modes (mud, ruts, sand and rocks). Terrain Response then automatically selects the most appropriate settings for the vehicle's advanced electronic controls and traction aids. Vehicle functions controlled by Terrain Response include ride height, engine torque response, Hill Descent Control (which limits downhill speed), Electronic Traction Control, transmission and differential settings.

“Terrain Response is a good example of Land Rover’s commitment to offering ‘smart’ technology that aids the driver,” says Matthew Taylor. “It is easy to use. It simplifies rather than complicates driving.”

To test these components, the LR3 has gone through one of the toughest and most varied testing programs of any vehicle ever offered for sale. It has been put through its paces over four million miles on five continents in conditions as varied as the Nürburgring race circuit in Germany and the sand dunes of Dubai. It has been tested to extreme in the Australian outback, been punished on military off-road tracks in Southern Africa and England, been driven at minus 40ºC on frozen lakes in northern Canada, and it has undertaken 12 weeks of almost non-stop testing at maximum speed on the Nardo test track in Italy.

"We believe few, if any, vehicles have ever undergone a more punishing and varied series of tests," said chief program engineer Steve Haywood. "The LR3 promises the broadest range of capabilities in its sector."

LR3 goes on sale later in 2004. Pricing will be released closer to launch.