Powertrain upgrades for Land Rover

  • 01-May-2009 02:18 EDT
A new 150-bar (2180-psi) direct fuel injection system permits an increase in compression ratio to 11.5:1 on Land Rover's new V8, maximizing the engine's efficiency.

Land Rover unveiled a pair of new engines to its product family at the recent New York Auto Show, the first being a direct-injected, 375-hp (280-kW), 375-lb·ft (508-N·m) naturally aspirated V8 and the second a 510-hp (380-kW), 461-lb·ft (625-N·m) supercharged version of the same engine. Both engines achieve Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle II certification.

This marks an improvement of 25% more power and 19% more torque for the normally aspirated engine and of 29% more power and 12% more torque for the pressurized engine, with no claimed increase in fuel consumption.

The new naturally aspirated Range Rover accelerates from 0 to 60 mph (0-97 km/h) in just 7.2 s, which is only 0.1 s slower than the outgoing supercharged model. The new supercharged Range Rover sprints to 60 mph in 5.9 s.

All of Land Rover’s models except the LR2 use the ZF HP28 six-speed transmission, which has been calibrated by Land Rover for smooth, fast shifts, according to the company. The supercharger is an Eaton twin vortex design similar to that seen on the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1.

The company’s engineers have worked hard to optimize the details of these new engines, explained Phil Hodgkins, Director of Product Development for Land Rover. “The new engine was designed internally in Coventry,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of competence internally.”

Other achievements include reduced internal friction, a quick-warmup reverse-flow cooling system, and an idle speed that is 600-700 rpm lower than before, Hodgkins pointed out.

These Land Rover models already enjoyed a sophisticated adjustable air suspension system, but now the company has added continuously variable Bilstein dampers to that, replacing the previous two-stage dampers. "This helps the vehicles bridge the chasm between on-road smoothness and off-road capability even better than before,” said Hodgkins.

The Terrain Response system’s calibration has been upgraded, improving the performance of these Land Rover models on challenging surfaces. When crawling rocks, for example, brake and traction control reaction times are reduced, improving vehicle control.

The V8 models have also gained more plush cabins, with more soft surfaces and additional leather on major surfaces. "After a review, Land Rover executives had concluded that we’ve got to improve the ‘premium-ness' of our vehicles," explained Hodgkins.

Balancing the infusion of traditional leather inside the vehicles, there is also plenty of electronic excitement. The Range Rover sees the industry’s first use of a Visteon-supplied 12-in LCD display, replacing all of the traditional physical instruments on the vehicle’s dashboard. The LR4 and Range Rover Sport feature a 5-in LCD panel nestled between the conventional tachometer and speedometer.

All of these vehicles offer an on-screen, five-camera, 360º view to aid with parking and low-speed maneuvering.

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