Land Rover Freelander 2

Production Cars 2 Jul 2006
Land Rover Freelander 2

The first official information and pictures released by Land Rover for its all-new Freelander 2, the heir of the top-selling 4×4 in Europe.


Land Rover Freelander 2The original Freelander (launched in 1997) was the top-selling 4×4 in Europe for five years.

The all-new Freelander 2 is improved in every way: better performance, more economical, more refined, higher quality and substantially roomier. It is more capable both off-road and on-road, with transformed handling, ride and comfort.

Design

The exterior and interior design of Freelander 2 is completely fresh, integrating the company’s unique design language with a form that is instantly recognisable as the latest Land Rover.

"We purposely kept strong cues from the original Freelander, such as the clamshell bonnet, stepped roof and the basic form," says Land Rover design director Geoff Upex. "But the overall look is new and much more contemporary. The design is chiselled, geometric and simple – it looks like it’s hewn from the solid. We have kept a close design relationship with the new Discovery 3 and Range Rover Sport, but interpreted the design language to suit the requirements of customers for a more compact 4×4."

Exterior Design

Land Rover Freelander 2"Freelander 2 is a fresh and contemporary design, with its chiselled lines, chunky good looks and sporty energy. Though the genes of the highly successful original Freelander are still clearly recognisable, the new model looks more premium and more grown-up, without losing its sense of fun." says Geoff Upex, design director.

Chiselled lines, smooth and simple surfaces and interlocking elements were three of the key principles that guided the Land Rover design team as they crafted the all-new Freelander 2. These combined well with the vehicle’s near-ideal proportions – especially the height, long wheelbase, and short front and rear overhangs – to create the purposeful, sporty stance that the designers wanted.

Upex and his team, including Earl Beckles (lead exterior designer) and Martin Buffery (lead interior designer), were also determined to develop a vehicle with clear family links to Land Rover’s successful new Discovery 3 and best-selling Range Rover Sport. From the Discovery, according to Geoff Upex, "we took the simplicity of the surfacing, the strong shapes, the bold and consistent graphics, and the strong rear D-post styling. Range Rover Sport inspired the flow of the wheel arches, a lot of the stance, and the dynamics of the waistline.

Land Rover Freelander 2"But there are also clear visual references to the original Freelander. Its distinctive shape is widely recognised and popular, especially in Europe," says Upex. "So we took the best bits, the real signatures from that car, and enhanced them. These include the clamshell bonnet and the stepped roof."

However, these inspirations were subordinate to a clear vision of how a vehicle such as Freelander should look. While still definitively a Land Rover, it has always had – and needed to retain – a strong appeal to customers more used to conventional saloon cars.

"The design of Freelander 2 had to reflect its balance of capabilities – as a great road car and a great 4×4," says Geoff Upex. "This was absolutely at the top of our minds. It could not be too overt a 4×4, in the way that a Discovery is. It had to be tough – but not too tough. It had to reassure people trading up from premium cars. So this balance – tough 4×4 versus premium car – was crucial in the design language."

According to Upex, 4x4s typically look more geometric, more aggressive and harder-edged. Cars tend to be more organic – and friendlier – in form. So the Freelander 2 mixes strong geometric shapes and flowing, car-like softness.

The fast-angled windscreen, the raised roof and the tapering rear pillar all reflect the car’s dynamic, sporty on-road abilities, as does the smooth shoulder line. Also contributing significantly to the flow of the design are the body-coloured A- and D-pillars, while the black E-pillars at the rear give a graphic which resembles the ‘floating roof’ of Range Rover.

Land Rover Freelander 2 Interior DesignThe body sides on Freelander 2 are sharp and chiselled. But in the plan view, the surfaces are smooth, sheer and one-directional. The surfacing is also taut and very defined, to give the vehicle a lean, muscled look.

The grille is a strong and confident design statement (with different versions for petrol and diesel models). The rear is also cleaner, significantly helped by relocating the external spare wheel of the original Freelander underneath the cargo area floor, and by the new one-piece tail-lamps.

"The whole design is simple, much less cluttered than before, more premium and more desirable. We wanted a minimal number of components that interlock to form a meaningful and attractive whole," says Geoff Upex. "The headlamps and tail-lamps, for instance, are watch-like in their detailing. The metallic side-vents help engine breathing, but also provide a strong family link with both Discovery 3 and Range Rover Sport."

Functionality was a fundamental driver of the design. The narrow front A-posts help achieve excellent all-round visibility. The bonnet castellations help the driver place the vehicle more accurately on the road or track. The wheel-out stance and wide track help deliver agile handling and great grip. The short front and rear overhangs and high underbody are essential for go-anywhere off-road performance. The body-side protection guards against stone chips and helps keep the sills clean.

"We believe the end result is a design that is sculptured and sophisticated, dynamic yet refined, premium and tough," says Geoff Upex.

Interior Design

Land Rover Freelander 2 Interior DesignThe interior package of Freelander 2 is a major improvement over the outgoing vehicle. Although only 50 mm longer, the Freelander 2 has more generous head, shoulder and legroom, in both the front and rear.

Large glass areas emphasise the spacious feel and complement the elevated ‘command driving’ position – a Land Rover hallmark – and ‘stadium seating’, where rear passengers sit slightly higher than front occupants, for a clearer view of the world outside.

Boot space is also among the best in class and 38 per cent larger than that of the outgoing Freelander (with rear seats up – 755 litres vs 546 litres)

Technical Features

The body is a five-door monocoque structure, with a 28,000 Nm/degree torsional stiffness. Ultra-high-strength steel is used more extensively than in any previous Land Rover, in the door beams and for various strengthening reinforcements.

DP600 dual-phase steel – which requires special pressing because of its strength – is used for the A-posts, lower sills, cantrails, front side members and dash to help provide a first-class, weight-efficient safety cell.

The suspension is fully independent and uses Roll Stability Control (RSC), a technology that helps mitigate the risk of roll-over.

Technical highlights of the Freelander 2 include two new engines: a 3.2-litre straight-six petrol and a 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel.

The 233 hp (171 kW) i6 petrol engine provides a top speed of 124 mph (200 km/h) and 0-60 mph acceleration in 8.4 seconds (0-100 km/h in 8.9 seconds). Combined fuel economy is 25.2 mpg (11.2 litres/100 km). The engine is matched to a new six-speed automatic transmission, with Land Rover’s CommandShift™ offering manual sequential gear changes when required. There is also a driver-selectable sport mode, for livelier performance.

The diesel engine chosen for Freelander 2 is an all-new 2.2-litre four-cylinder. The 160 hp (118 kW) unit delivers peak torque of 400 Nm (295 lb ft), with over 200 Nm (148 lb ft) of torque from 1000 rpm all the way to 4500 rpm. The engine has a combined average fuel consumption of 37.7 mpg (7.5 l/100 km). An optional catalysed Diesel Particulate Filter (cDPF) is also available for even cleaner performance. Two transmissions are offered: a new six-speed manual gearbox and the same six-speed automatic used on the petrol engine (diesel auto available from spring 2007).

Freelander 2 is available with a wide variety of wheels and tyres, ranging from 16-inch to 19-inch diameter.The biggest tyre offered is a 235/55R19.

All photographs and engineering data in this press pack are from pre-production prototype work.

(Source: Land Rover)

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