The next-generation Land Rover Freelander has been spotted again. Wearing an arctic camouflage, the spotted car was a high-performance variant, identified by its dual exhaust system and a tailgate mounted spoiler. With a global debut planned at the 2014 Paris Motor Show in October, the car is expected to go on sale in 2015.
Codenamed L550, the new model will follow in the footsteps of the Range Rover Evoque. It borrows styling cues as well as the LR-MS aluminium platform of the Evoque, though the wheelbase will be stretched by 150mm. The extended wheelbase provides for the extra legroom and boot space. The car will for the first time be provided in both five-seater and seven-seater configurations. The ‘baby Discovery’ features a sporty stance owing to the rounded wheel arches, a sweeping beltline with a huge C-pillar and a raked windscreen.
The engine lineup is expected to be refreshed with the inclusion of a new range of ‘Hot-fire’ engines. Built at the company’s new plant near Wolverhampton, the engines have been developed to return better efficiency figures and reduce carbon emissions. Land Rover is also planning to introduce more efficient front-wheel-drive variants of the new car. We can also expect the car to feature the newly developed nine-speed automatic gearbox.
The Freelander 2 is Land Rover’s best selling model globally. Being sold here since 2009, the Freelander 2 recently got a makeover in 2013 with a few cosmetic and equipment upgrades. As a part of its strategy of splitting its segment into three divisions- Luxury, Dual Purpose and Leisure, Land Rover is planning to discontinue the ‘Freelander’ nameplate and will integrate the new model into the Discovery lineup.
The car was seen testing on public roads in Trivandrum with UK registration plates before, which indicates that the car will also be launched here soon after the international launch. Owing to the increase in size and jump in the segment, expect a big price hike for the car. Currently, the Freelander 2 range in India starts at Rs 39.19 lakh and goes up against BMW X3, Audi Q5, Mitsubishi Montero and Volvo XC60.