The new variant, simply titled ‘L’, has a 198mm (almost eight inches) longer wheelbase than the standard L405 – the same extension the LSE offered over its contemporary Range Rover base. There’s an ‘L’ badge on the bottom finisher of the fake door vents, in case you don’t spot the extra length in the rear doors. Subtle restyling has disguised the extra bodywork well.
The extension, which takes the wheelbase up from 2922mm (115in) to 3120mm (122.8in) is all in the rear door area of the aluminium monocoque, and gives 186mm more legroom for rear seat passengers. It also allows the optional individual Executive Class rear seats to recline to 17 degrees – eight degrees more than on the standard wheelbase. Powered side door blinds and a panoramic sunroof are also standard, as well as increased stowage.
Only available on Autobiography or new Autobiography Black trim levels initially (see here), the new model is intended to steal sales from traditional luxury saloons, such as Bentley, Rolls-Royce and high-end Mercedes-Benz – none of which can go off-road like the Range Rover.
Phil Popham, Group Marketing Director, Jaguar Land Rover, says: ‘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.’
Off-road, the long wheelbase means the Range Rover’s ramp breakover angle drops to 153.9 degrees when in off-road height mode (standard L405, 151.7 degrees) – the same as a Freelander 2. At standard height it’s 161.6 degrees for the L; 160 degrees for the regular L405. Approach and departure angles are unaffected.
Order books are open now, with customer deliveries beginning in March 2014. The L will make its public debuts at the Los Angeles, USA and Guangzhou, China shows on November 20-21.