Land Rover revealed its exciting vision of its future with the LRX concept at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show. The LRX concept is a bold evolution of Land Rover design that signals the brand’s shift into new areas of the market, while remaining true to its core values. As the company prepares to celebrate its 60th anniversary during 2008, the three-door LRX, with its more compact size, lighter weight and sustainability-focused technologies, clearly addresses the needs of a changing world and offers the potential of 120 g/km CO2 emissions.
The LRX concept is described as a cross-coupe and dramatically extends the scope of what Land Rover represents. Though 149 mm (5.9 in) shorter than the Freelander 2 / LR2 and 205 mm (8.1 in) lower, LRX was conceived as a premium car, designed to appeal to new customers in the luxury and executive sector – those who want many of the benefits of a 4×4 and the presence of a larger vehicle, but in a more compact package. Its many recognizable Land Rover design cues include bold new interpretations of the signature clamshell bonnet, the floating roof and the solid ‘wheel-at-each-corner’ stance.
LRX is conceived as a highly fuel-efficient, US Federal-specification, 2.0-litre, turbodiesel hybrid, capable of running on bio-diesel. In combination with other Land Rover technologies, this powertrain could reduce fuel consumption by as much as 30% compared with other 4x4s of comparable size, and reduce emissions to approximately 120 g/km.
LRX’s improved efficiencies are the result of advanced mechanical and electrical energy-saving elements, which are combined to achieve cumulative gains in many areas.
The concept’s integrated Electric Rear Axle Drive (ERAD) is particularly significant in Land Rover terms as it would allow LRX to use electric drive alone at lower speeds while retaining full (even improved) 4×4 ability in tough conditions. Unlike the hybrid technology used by some 4×4 rivals, Land Rover’s unique solution retains mechanical drive to all four wheels. Off-road, the ERAD would provide additional torque only when it is needed, and with maximum electrical torque from standstill, this solution offers even better low-speed control and enhanced pull-away on difficult surfaces (such as packed snow or wet grass) or when towing.
On the road, the ERAD would allow low-speed traffic creep up to 20 mph (32 km/h) on electric power alone, with the Integrated Starter-Generator (ISG) function re-starting the engine automatically when needed. The electric drive would then continue to assist the mechanical drive until the engine is running in its most efficient range, benefiting both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The ISG would also stop the engine automatically when the vehicle halts in traffic, so the engine does not idle needlessly, and restart it quickly and smoothly as required.
The electrical drive system uses power stored in a dedicated high-voltage, high-capacity, lithium-ion battery pack, independent of the normal 12-volt battery. This is charged by a regenerative braking energy system, also working through the ERAD.
Although LRX is compact, clever use of space makes it impressively roomy, and many neat design touches maximize its practicality. A second touch-screen area gives a fully interactive display and control for LRX’s iPhone docking facility.
On either side of the horizontally-split, power-operated tailgate, removable and power-adjustable speakers include an iPod docking station. There is also a coolbox, plus a bottle chiller that can be clipped to the lowered tailgate. The tailgate also has integral aluminum cupholders between two padded seating areas, for a new twist on the idea of a traditional Land Rover tailgate lunch.