Jaguar Land Rover’s big electric switch-on starts today with the premiere of the first plug-in Range Rover.
The highlight of a refreshed Range Rover Sport line-up, the new P400e, is a Range Rover like no other since the first in 1970. The company’s first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), it arrives ahead of JLR’s pledge to have electrified versions of every model in the showrooms by 2020.
As a plug-in, it is in marked contrast to the existing hybrid in the range – a diesel with an electric motor that gets its power from regenerative braking. With four-cylinder petrol power and the ability to run in silent electric mode, the new P400e is far more representative of JLR’s electrified future.
So how does it work?
The P400e combines a 2.0-litre Ingenium petrol engine with an electric motor fed by enough lithium-ion power for it to travel up to 31 miles on electric power alone, at speeds up to 85mph.
Electric-only running, selectable by the driver, is said to be just as relevant off-road. With no ‘creep’ but lots (472lb ft) of torque from zero revs, Land Rover says the plug-in Sport offers improved low-speed control and pull-away on low-grip surfaces.
The low-range transmission and Hill Descent Control all work as normal in EV mode for when the going gets really tough. You can still wade through water 850mm deep – although Land Rover recommends you start the petrol engine to keep water from going up the exhaust pipe.
Likely to be of more interest to owners are the new model’s official CO2 rating of 64g/km and its headline-grabbing 101mpg. The former is excellent news for tax purposes – it is lower, for instance than the Porsche Cayenne Hybrid’s CO2 – even if the fuel consumption, like that of any PHEV, is unlikely ever to translate to the real world.
All this – plus the Sport’s traditional luxury – comes with an all-up weight of 2471kg, a hefty 388kg more than the P300 non-hybrid model with the same 2.0-litre Ingenium petrol engine. It is also heavier than the diesel Sport SDV6 Hybrid that this new model replaces.
That’s evident from quoted acceleration times. Despite a potential combined power output of 398bhp, 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds is only the same as that of the outgoing diesel hybrid. P400e top speed is 137mph.
Charging can be done either by special 32amp wall box (for a full charge in two hours 45 minutes) or by plugging in a domestic 10amp cable in which case a full charge takes seven hours 30 minutes.
The plug-in access point is behind the Land Rover badge on the front of a redesigned grille in the new-look nose. In line with all other models in the expanded Sport range, there are also slimline new LED matrix lights and a more assertive bumper profile.
Changes inside include a more minimalist look with a pair of high-definition 10-inch touchscreens; Land Rover says Touch Pro Duo infotainment is the most advanced ever created by Jaguar Land Rover. There is also a new rear-seat entertainment display with touchscreen for the first time.
And with all that electricity in the air, the Range Rover Sport P400e naturally gets power points – 12 of them in fact, including two domestic plug sockets. With provision for up to eight 4G wi-fi connections, it’s also the most connected Range Rover ever.
A two-inch higher boot floor (to accommodate the batteries) means slightly less luggage capacity (down 77 litres, at 703) than other Range Rover Sports, and there’s no seven-seat option with this version.
The facelifted Sport is not all about electric dreams. All the changes, plus more besides including an enhanced chassis for more dynamic handling, are available in a new hero model, the SVR 575 with the V8 in 567bhp form as used already in Jags. It’ll do 176mph and crack the 0-62 run in just 4.5 seconds – and you won’t have to plug it in once!
The new SVR does cost a couple of hundred pounds short of £100k though. And the P400e hybrid? That starts at £61,315 with delivery in the new year. Here’s to an electric 2018!