Range Rover hits 40

Range Rover announces two new models as part of its birthday celebrations

Happy Birthday Range Rover, 40 today. That’s a pretty good milestone to reach, so to mark the occasion Land Rover has released details of two new Range Rovers.

The less important one is the Autobiography Black, a limited edition to celebrate the anniversary. Nothing much to report except it’s jet black, has a full complement of whistles and bells and around 700 will be made.

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Of more interest is the 2011 model year car which now features a 4.4-litre (up from 3.6) TDV8 diesel and the new eight-speed ZF gearbox as used by BMW, amongst others. This is noteworthy not just for its power and performance improvements, but because of where else in the Jaguar Land Rover empire it might be used.

For the time being what matters is that it develops 309bhp and 516lb ft from 1500-3000rpm and gets itself to 60mph in 7.5sec, while returning 30.1mpg on the combined cycle. Not bad for something that weighs two and three-quarter tonnes. It’s still in the top CO2 band, though.In addition the Terrain Response system has been modified, and new options include electric reclining rear seats and a 1200 watt Harman Kardon stereo.

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That’s not all, though. Roger Green has been driving the Range Rover across Wales and you can read about his experiences here, while Ollie Marriage has been racing a Land Rover Freelander against a plane...

A brief history of the Range Rover

1966            Work began on the first Range Rover prototype, known as the '100-inch station wagon' 1970            The original two-door Range Rover – known as the Classic – goes on sale 1971            Range Rover receives the RAC Dewar award for outstanding technical achievement 1972            The Range Rover is the first vehicle to cross the Darien Gap on a British  Army Trans-America expedition 1974            Range Rover completes west to east Sahara desert expedition – 7,500  miles in 100 days 1977            A modified Range Rover wins the 4x4 class in the London-Sydney Marathon, a gruelling 30,000 km (18,750 miles) event and the longest ever speed-based car rally 1979            A specially modified Range Rover wins the first Paris-Dakar rally (a Range Rover wins again in 1981) 1981            First production four-door Range Rover appears along with the first factory-produced limited-edition Range Rover – the 'In Vogue' 1982            Automatic transmission becomes available on Range Rover 1983            Range Rover 5-speed manual gearbox is introduced 1985             The diesel-powered Range Rover 'Bullet' breaks 27 speed records, including averaging more than 100mph for 24 hours 1987            Range Rover launched in North America 1989            Range Rover is the world's first 4x4 to be fitted with ABS anti-lock brakes 1990            Limited Edition CSK – named after founder Charles Spencer King – is launched as a sportier Range Rover 1992            Range Rover Classic is the world's first 4x4 to be fitted with electronic traction control (ETC) 1992            Long-wheelbase LSE (known as County LWB in the US) launched 1992            Automatic electronic air suspension introduced, a world first for a 4x4 1994            Second-generation (P38a) Range Rover goes on sale 1996            Range Rover Classic bows out after total production of 317,615 units 1999            Limited Edition Range Rover Linley appears at London Motor Show 2001            All-New Range Rover (L322) launched 2002            Half-millionth Range Rover produced at the Solihull plant 2005            Second model line – the Range Rover Sport – launched 2006            Terrain Response and TDV8 diesel introduced 2009            Range Rover features all-new LR-V8 5.0 and 5.0 supercharged petrol engines and technology updates 2010            Range Rover celebrates its 40th anniversary 2010            All-New compact Range Rover to be revealed at Paris Motor Show

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