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Range Rover Sport gets 15,000 orders ahead of launch

Land Rover already has 15,000 orders for the new Range Rover Sport, even though it is not yet available anywhere in the world.

It will be in showrooms in Europe this autumn and in other markets soon afterwards, with other models that will further broaden its appeal scheduled to be launched in 2014.

In the UK it will initially be available with 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel and 5.0-litre V8 supercharged petrol engines, priced from £51,550.

A less-powerful V6 diesel and a 4.4-litre V8 diesel will be added around the turn of the year, and Land Rover has a diesel hybrid with CO2 emissions of only 169g/km under development.

Land Rover has also confirmed that in time there will also be a model with a four-cylinder engine, likely to be seen in 2015.

While a four-cylinder power unit might outwardly be seen as feeble for a large sports-luxury SUV, the new Sport's all-aluminium monocoque construction - in place of the steel body on frame of the previous model - makes it viable.

The new Sport is up to 420kg lighter than its predecessor, and a four-cylinder engine will take this to more than half a tonne.

Land Rover has not confirmed whether the four-cylinder engine will be a petrol or a diesel - it has both in its armoury and available in the Freelander and Range Rover Evoque - but the favourite would be the 2.0-litre petrol unit.

This would significantly lower the price of the car by making the most of the taxation structure in the all-important Chinese market.

Although the Sport is based on the new body architecture of the regal Range Rover, there are significant differences between the two beyond their styling. The Sport, which is the better-selling and more family-oriented of the two, now offers five-plus-two seating, with a pair of electrically movable flat-folding child seats, a one-piece tailgate and a lower ride height.

Land Rover is also hinting that there will be additional versions of the Range Rover and Sport, including a long-wheelbase version of one or both of them targeted at the chauffeur-drive Chinese market.

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