New Range Rover Velar model to be built in Solihull

A floating roof, an unbroken waistline, and rounded corners culminate in a tidy rear featuring almost vertical cutlines from the roof to the bumper. That would be superficially justifiable but premature, for this fourth Range Rover, which sits between Evoque and Range Rover Sport, has genuine design merit.

Velar's design standards have demanded a close collaboration between design and engineering teams to ensure the lines and proportions of the first sketches weren't compromised.

Although it doesn't have a low-range transfer case, Land Rover engineers claim the Velar is still more off-road capable than most SUVs.

Created from a clean-sheet design based on JLR's lightweight aluminum architecture, which also underpins the F-Pace, the Velar's construction consists of approximately 80 percent aluminum, the balance being comprised primarily of magnesium and steel.

Despite its high-style demeanor, the Velar is meant to slot between the Range Rover Evoque and the Range Rover Sport, and it will be available in four trim levels when it goes on sale in the USA this summer.

Up front, the Velar is immediately recognizable as a member of the Land Rover lineup. "Hidden until lit" controls-they illuminate with a touch-add to the calming effect of the interior. In reality, the sustainable material that Land Rover's talking about is inside the cabin - a special textile takes the place of leather on the seats. They initially expect approximately one in 20 buyers will choose the option at a small premium.

Dubbed Touch Pro Duo, the top screen has a thin polycarbonate capacitive display that follows the curvature of the dash for a flush fit when the vehicle is switched off, but flips forward when the ignition is activated - another piece of "theatre" in the start-up process, something Jaguar and Land Rover are renowned for.

The new Range Rover will be available in six powertrains ranging from a 180PS 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel with Carbon dioxide emissions of 142g/km, to a 380PS supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol version that will be nowhere near as green. A supercharged 3.0-litre V6 with 375bhp will target the slightly more powerful Porsche Macan Turbo.

All Velars will be four-wheel drive, and all will get an eight-speed automatic transmission.

"It's a good reference that feels appropriate", says Massimo Frascella, Land Rover's exterior creative director, "I'd take that analogy as a positive". Top speed is electronically limited to 155 miles per hour.

For audiophiles, there is a choice of four audio systems - the top-end being the 1,600W Meridian Signature Sound System with 23 speakers. For even more control, V6 models get adaptive air suspension as standard, with the system an option on the top-powered four-pots. Still, if going off-road is in your future, you'll likely want to pony up for the diesel or the six-cylinder. Think of it as partial autonomous assistance for drivers who suffer from trailer-backing anxiety. The Velar boasts more wheel travel than the F-Pace, and the finely calibrated Land Rover Terrain Response system delivers better off-road performance.

At launch is a special First Edition model available exclusively in one of three colors: Corris Grey, Silicon Silver or Flux Silver. The price for all this exclusivity is $90,295.

The Velar will go on sale in mid-July with a choice of the standard look or a more sporty R-Dynamic style with deeper front bumper and less shiny brightwork.

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