2008 Land Rover LRX Concept

December 13, 2007

Land Rover’s concept for the Detroit show has two doors and a compact body — and if it sounds a little like GM’s HUMMER HX concept in name and duty, it’s merely coincidence that both brands are aiming at a similar spot in the market.

The LRX concept is a three-door that emphasizes smaller size, lighter weight, and sustainable technology, Land Rover said in a release issued today after European publications broke an embargo.

The LRX is described as a “cross-coupe,” a market niche also explored by Audi in recent concepts. It’s conceived as a smaller vehicle than Land Rover’s existing LR2, but the LRX still would be a premium vehicle in its niche if produced.

Like other Land Rovers, the concept sports a clamshell hood and four-wheel drive, but the drivetrain takes a distinct turn toward on-road performance. In its first release of information on the concept before its Detroit show unveiling, Land Rover says the LRX’s powertrain will adopt elements of its “green” Land_e concept, while its ride and handling have been tuned toward on-road performance. Even so, the concept sports Hill Descent Control, Terrain Response, and other hardware associated with Land Rover’s tougher utes.

The exterior design was developed under former Lincoln stylist Gerry McGovern, and translates the look of the Range Rover Sport into two-door form, with a see-through panel on the roof, distinctly Land Rover front-end styling, and large 20-inch wheels.

Inside, dark leather and aluminum highlight the cockpit, which features an LCD instrument panel with three-dimensional graphics and personalization features for individual drivers. The cabin lighting also changes according to the driving mode — green for economy, blue in everyday driving, and red under extreme driving conditions. Dual touchscreens run the interior functions and there’s even a docking station for an iPhone.

A power tailgate exposes the cargo area of the concept, which the seats inside are designed to “float” above their rails, providing better foot and cargo storage areas.

As for sustainability, the LRX concept’s design integrates polycarbonate plastics, which are 40 percent lighter than glass. The leathers are tanned with vegetable dyes; the aluminum trim is recyclable; and the suede-like material inside is recycled material made from plastic bottles.

Stay tuned for more photos and details on the LRX as TheCarConnection.com reports from the Detroit auto show, starting January 13, 2008.

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