Ineos Automotive has revealed the first images and details of its Grenadier, calling it a “no-nonsense 4x4 for the world”.
There’s no doubting where the Ineos Grenadier takes its inspiration - in looks or purpose - and even comments from project founder Jim Ratcliffe confirm that this is a car for people who lament the death of the original Land Rover Defender.
Design- form over function
The Grenadier is still 18 months away from production but Ineos says that unveiling the finished design now will allow it to focus on testing without worrying about keeping the car’s shape under wraps.
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The design is immediately familiar. Ratcliffe tried to buy the original Defender tooling from Land Rover and despite being knocked back, the Grenadier’s looks are a clear nod to the car it aims to emulate and are a matter of form over function, according to its designer.
“The brief was simple. We set out to design a modern, functional and highly capable 4x4 vehicle with utility at its core”, said Toby Ecuyer, head of design. “A design that is ‘easy-to-read’, with no ambiguity about the Grenadier’s role in life. There to do everything you need, and nothing you don’t. Nothing is for show. Modern engineering and production techniques ensure the Grenadier is highly capable, but we have been able to stay true to the essence of creating a utilitarian vehicle that will stand the test of time”.
That means short overhangs, a bluff, upright front end; a broad, flat bonnet; straight sides with a Defender-like through line from front wing to round tail lights, and external hinges so the doors can be removed quickly and easily. There’s a vertically split tailgate that opens wide enough to take a Euro pallet and carries the spare wheel, and a familiar three-pane glasshouse.
Roof rails are integrated to allow carrying and the black strip along the middle of the doors isn’t for show, it’s a “utility belt” with a clip system for carrying bits and pieces.
The new images show a five-door station wagon body as well as four-door crew-cab pick-up variant.
Size-wise, Ineos says the Grenadier will be around the same length and height as the Mercedes G-Class, which stands 4.9m long by 2m high.
Chassis and drivetrain
Full details of the Grenadier’s powerplants are still to be announced but we know it will use a range of 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol and diesel units from BMW matched to an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox.
To meet the stated ambition of being a rugged workhorse, the Grenadier uses an old-school ladder frame chassis with separately mounted body rather than the monocoque favoured by the new Defender. Suspension is multilink but with beam axles and coil springs to give it the go-anywhere abilities its creators desired.
Towing capacity will be 3.5 tonnes, enough to match the most capable of pick-up trucks which have come to dominate the utility 4x4 market.
A planned 1.2 million miles of testing is set to be carried out before the car is launched.
Technology and pricing
Ineos is keeping details of the car’s interior under wraps for now but says, unlike the cars that inspired it, it will offer 21st century levels of comfort and technology, with all the equipment modern buyers expect.
As to pricing, it’s remaining tight lipped. Ineos Automotive CEO Dirk Heilmann told Top Gear that it “will not be cheap” but it will be “competitive”. With commercial versions of the Land Rover Defender and Toyota Land Cruiser starting at around £35,000, expect a similar pre-VAT price when the Bridgend-built Grenadier goes on sale in early 2022.
This article first appeared on The Scotsman