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Future models - Land Rover - Range Rover - Long wheelbase

LA show: Stretched Range Rover on the way

Long odds: The long-wheelbase Range Rover features 140mm of additional rear legroom over standard variants.

Long-wheelbase Range Rover set for local berth, but no hybrid power for now

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Land Rover logo29 Oct 2013

By TIM NICHOLSON

LAND ROVER will bring a stretched version of its Range Rover premium SUV to Australia in 2014 after simultaneous world motor show debuts in Los Angeles and Guangzhou, China, next month.

The long model marks a return of a long-wheelbase (LWB) Range Rover after a 20-year absence, with the British marque selling a stretched version of the HSE in Australia between 1992 and 1994.

First local deliveries will start in the second quarter of next year, and while pricing is yet to be confirmed, LWB variants are expected to carry a premium over regular versions.

Land Rover said in a statement that the LWB Rangie will “cater for a growing group of consumers looking for the ultimate SUV, and an alternative to the traditional long wheelbase saloon cars in this segment.”

LWB variants feature an additional 140mm of rear legroom over the standard model, which Land Rover said was achieved by lengthening the body-shell at the front of the rear wheels.

A rear bench seat will be standard on LWB models, but Land Rover will offer the option of its airline-like “Executive Class” second-row seating that features two plush seats that can recline to 17 degrees, eight degrees more than the standard-wheelbase version.

The front passenger seat can slide forward for even more rear space. This option on standard-wheelbase variants costs $6150 extra.

Sister company Jaguar unveiled its updated XJ flagship in August this year, featuring a similar reclining airline-style seat on long-wheelbase models.

Standard gear on the LWB includes power side door blinds, a panoramic sunroof, extra cargo space and an 'L' badge behind the front wheel arches.

The LWB Range Rover will be offered in Vogue, Vogue SE or Autobiography specifications and with a choice of either the 190kW/600Nm 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6, 250kW/700Nm 4.4-litre diesel V8 or 375kW/625Nm 5.0-litre petrol V8 powertrains.

The Tata-owned brand already has confirmed that its new diesel-electric hybrid powertrain will be made available in Australia next year in Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models, but Land Rover Australia public affairs spokesperson James Scrimshaw said there was no announcement yet on whether the hybrid tech would end up in LWB variants.

The simultaneous launch at both the LA and Guangzhou motor shows highlights the importance of the premium segment in the Chinese market, with long-wheelbase versions of luxury sedans doing big business there.

Jaguar Land Rover group marketing director Phil Popham said the stretched Range Rover provides an alternative to long-wheelbase sedans currently available on the market.

“With the addition of the Range Rover long wheelbase to our portfolio of luxury SUVs, customers can now choose a vehicle that offers superior levels of interior space and comfort to compete in a market dominated by saloon cars up until this point,” he said.

Local Range Rover sales are on the rise after the launch of the third-generation model in February, with 211 sales for the first nine months of the year, a 54 per cent boost over the same period last year.

The announcement of the LWB's local berth comes in the same week that Land Rover launches its all-new Range Rover Sport SUV in Australia.

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GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.