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Land Rover really is on a roll at the moment. The UK manufacturer has just announced hybrid versions of the new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport – the first ever by Land Rover.

The company’s 3-litre SDV6 turbodiesel engine has been mated with a 35kW electric motor. They work together through an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission to give stunning performance, reduced CO2 emissions and better fuel economy.

Range-Rover-Hybrid-6Now why would Land Rover do this? Having just been on a huge weight saving campaign with the Range Rover (and Sport), why add the heavy electric system? Most of the time, you’re just carrying around all that extra dead weight. Land Rover says the hybrid’s electric drive weighs just 120kg, which is pretty good, but still the weight of one-and-half adults.

The answer is two-fold. First, manufacturers are having to meet a target for emissions across their whole range and the hybrids move Land Rover closer to that target. But it’s also about image. Not so much Land Rover’s but some of the high-profile buyers of the Range Rover. It’s de rigeur for some A-listers to drive a eco-friendly car these days.

Take a look at one particular figure for the Range Rover Hybrid. In electric-only mode (one of three modes the driver can choose), the Range Rover Hybrid can drive for just one mile (1.6km) at up to 30mph (48km/h) before the batteries scream “re-charge us” and the diesel engine restarts automatically.

However, there’s no doubting the performance gain. Land Rover says the output of the diesel engine and electric motor together is 340PS at 4,000rpm and a class-leading 700Nm torque between 1,500-3,000rpm. This gives SDV8-style performance.  Both cars accelerate to 62mph (100km/h) in under seven seconds, and deliver strong mid-range performance with a top speed of 135mph (218km/h). The big figures though are a 26 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions to 169g/km, which is equivalent to 44.1mpg on the combined cycle.

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SILK TRAIL 2013
To launch the Hybrids, and to give some Land Rover style credibility to the cars, three Range Rover Hybrids are embarking on an overland trip from Solihull, Land Rover HQ, to Mumbai, India, home of parent company Tata.

The ‘Silk Trail 2013’ 10,000-mile (16,000km) expedition visits 12 countries and takes in some of the world’s most challenging roads, passes and trails. The 4,000 mile Silk Road connecting Asia with the Mediterranean is one of these. The convoy should arrive in Mumbai on 15 October.

The ‘Silk Trail 2013’ expedition featuring the new Range Rover Hybrids is scheduled to visit France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, China and India.  The expedition will be broken into 10 separate legs, with the Range Rover Hybrid vehicles driven by teams of Land Rover development engineers and invited media – arriving in Mumbai on October 15.

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SPEC
Range Rover Hybrid/ Range Rover Sport Hybrid
Engine 3.0 SDV6 Turbodiesel
Power 340PS@4000
Torque 700Nm from 1500-3000rpm
0-62mph 6.9/ 6.7 seconds
Top speed 135mph (218km/h)/ 140mph (225km/h)
CO2 Combined 169g/km
Combined consumption 44.1mpg (6.4 L/100km)
Weight (from) 2394kg/ 2372kg

LINK
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