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Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s asperous new off-roader, the Ineos Grenadier, has appeared for the aboriginal time in public, displayed at London’s Concours of Elegance alongside the 4×4 icons that aggressive its design.

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The Grenadier will be anchored up abutting to the accumulating of celebrated off-roaders that accomplish up Ineos’ own clandestine fleet, including an aboriginal Mercedes G-Wagen, a Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40, a Willys Jeep and the ancient accepted accumulation archetype of the aboriginal Land Series I. 

Ineos artist Toby Ecuyer said: “At the alpha of the Grenadier project, we brought some of the abundant 4x4s of the accomplished into the collapsed to attending carefully at what fabricated them so enduring. And now, it’s absurd to see Grenadier in the aggregation of these legends.

“You can see accepted architecture ancestry and proportions, and absolutely the aforementioned accuracy of purpose. I anticipate the Grenadier sits absolute artlessly amidst these 4×4 icons, and if others agree, again we’ve accomplished our architecture objective.”

Despite the new car’s affinity to cars like the Defender, the Grenadier is an all-new 4×4 created by a ground-up aggregation and brand, with avant-garde components, a advanced powertrain and possibly an alike added atypical purpose than the figure that it seeks to supplant.

Similar in admeasurement to the latest Mercedes-Benz G-Class and powered by a modular ambit of six-cylinder BMW agent and petrol engines, it’s accepted to be priced from £40,000 aback it hits the bazaar backward abutting year, initially as a five-door base wagon again “soon afterwards” as a four-door analeptic truck. A short-wheelbase car may arise after, alongside added versions.

Production will booty several years to admission up for markets about the world, but accumulation say it will be assisting at an anniversary achievement of about 25,000.

Ratcliffe, artist and majority buyer of the £50 billion British petrochemicals accumulation Ineos, is a abiding addict of the old Defender. He came up with the abstraction of architecture a backup of his own aback Jaguar Land Rover beneath to advertise him its designs or applique to abide aback accumulation accomplished at Solihull afterwards 67 years in January 2016.

Two years ago, afterwards basic Ineos Automotive, Ratcliffe enlisted his acquaintance and favourite superyacht designer, Toby Ecuyer – who is usually based on the south bank of England – to anatomy and advance the Grenadier architecture team. He additionally appointed aloft actinic artist Dirk Heilmann as Ineos Automotive CEO and set him the assignment of creating the 4×4’s automated package, alive with a bandage of engineers based mainly at Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria.

Named afterwards Ratcliffe’s favourite pub in Belgravia, London, the Grenadier is actuality apparent now, 18 months afore its accepted on-sale date, because its creators accept they will acquisition it easier to complete a deeply planned million-mile all-around analysis programme if they can drive it “in apparent sight”. Testing began aftermost winter in Sweden. Meanwhile, two new factories are actuality built: one in Portugal for chassis-making and one in South Wales for final assembly.

Last week, Autocar captivated a basic affair with Ecuyer, Heilmann and bartering administrator Mark Tennant to see the wraps arise off the Grenadier and apprehend added about its purpose and capabilities. We saw the accomplished exoteric but not the “hose-it-out” autogenous Ratcliffe has ordered because capacity are still actuality finalised.

“We’re application the band ‘Built on Purpose’ for the Grenadier,” said Tennant, “because for this project, action charge consistently lead. We’re absorption on a aerial accepted of off-road achievement first, and there’s an Ineos attitude of application straightforward, simple accent for a straightforward, simple car. Not that we’re Luddites; it’s not spartan or out of date. It will accept all the connectivity and awning technology you would expect. And it will be comfortable, too, because owners will absorb abounding hours in their machines.”

Body design

Ecuyer doesn’t shy abroad from animadversion about the Grenadier’s affinity to the Defender but stresses that the aggregation came to the accepted architecture and blueprint afterwards researching a ample cardinal of adversary vehicles, abounding of which were bought for benchmarking.

He said: “We had Jeeps, Land Rovers, Toyota Hiluxes, a Toyota FJ40 [Land Cruiser], Nissan Patrols, Ford Broncos. And we looked at vans, lorries, Unimogs, aggressive vehicles, tractors. African-spec cartage were decidedly interesting. They all shaped our plan for a agent that would be acutely able but additionally absolute honest and uncomplicated.”

The aftereffect is a simple, ample and familiar-looking off-roader with beeline sides, a clamshell beanie ascent aloft flat-topped advanced wings, a steep, adequately collapsed windscreen and a collapsed roof with rain gutters active all the way around.

The grille is simple and vertical, the LED headlights are annular and the ample auto are positioned to minimise anatomy overhangs and booty advantage of rubberised caster arches.

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The base wagon anatomy has three windows anniversary side. Like the windscreen, they and a lot of the panelling arise to be flat, but they aren’t quite. Ecuyer said absolute affable curvature confers a avant-garde composure on the architecture it contrarily wouldn’t have.

Most evocative of the Defender is the Grenadier’s anatomy ‘shoulder’ that runs from the top of the advanced wings in a asleep beeline band appropriate to the rear end. Ecuyer said this gives allowance for ‘stuff’ central the basal bisected of the doors while acceptance their acme to be “no thicker than they charge to be”.

The doors accept alien hinges that advice with the aperture abatement that will clothing some users and accord the car’s architecture the bluntness Ecuyer sought.

“It was absolutely important to us that this architecture should be calmly read, with annihilation complicated or abstruse about it,” said Ecuyer. “You can see how the doors and beanie are attached. There are no hidden pillars or tricks with glass. It’s adequate to be around, not too clever. And there’s none of the able technology bodies accept developed to sanitise big SUVs. It’s aloof honest.”

Ecuyer accepted to affluence of agitation about the Grenadier’s rear-end design: for a continued time, the aggregation were acclimatized on a archetypal breach tailgate, afore chief backward in the day on the big-door-small-door layout.

Tailgates can accomplish cartage adamantine to amount or unload, said Ecuyer, and the swing-out additional caster carrier would accept been “a nightmare”.

The baby aperture can be opened afore the ample one to accommodate admission to the space-saver apparatus alcove that’s innovatively apprenticed into its bark beneath the glass.

The annular tail-lights “share a accepted language” with the annular headlights and are army alluringly on the added amplitude provided by the anatomy shoulder, appropriately area avant-garde law requires them to be visible. “They’re the aftereffect of a absolute applied problem,” said Ecuyer, “not a wafty account in a bistro somewhere…”

Interesting affirmation of Ecuyer’s abyssal architecture accomplishments abounds. The roof can be acclimated to backpack endless afterwards a rack, and one adept blow is the accouterment of four tie confined on the abandon of the roof that attending a lot like the roof lights of an old Land Rover.

There are additionally pre-wired “utility rails” active through the doors and beneath the rear ancillary windows, because Ineos expects owners to use their Grenadiers for camping. These balustrade will acquiesce for the ascent of lights, for example.

Although they’re not talking about the autogenous today, the Ineos aggregation makes bright that it includes added such features. “We haven’t swathed the birr aloof to accomplish it attending nice,” said Ecuyer. “If there’s amplitude available, we accessible it up for use.”

Ineos will architecture factory-fit options and aftermarket kit for the Grenadier but isn’t shy about authoritative it ‘open-source’ so added accessories makers can aftermath add-ons to suit.

“Every owner’s use for their agent will be different,” said Heilmann, “and we’re absolute blessed with that.”

Chassis and powertrain

Heilmann said he expects the Grenadier to be added than the old Defender 110, which is narrower but hardly longer, but that’s mostly because the Land Rover is a appreciably simpler, beneath well-equipped agent with a abundant lighter powertrain. The ambition weight is about 2400kg, but today’s antecedent prototypes are 80kg too heavy, so weight charge be bargain to advance the Grenadier’s all-important off-road performance.

Ineos’s agent best is the BMW B57/B58 family, so anniversary Grenadier will accept a modular 3.0-litre petrol or agent beeline six that sends its drive through a ZF-supplied eight-speed automated gearbox (and a abstracted low-range alteration case). Depending on spec, these engines accomplish annihilation from 261bhp to about 400bhp in their BMW applications.

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Heilmann said that although the Grenadier’s achievement will accomplish off-roading a priority, its on-road adeptness will be “fine for anyone who’s acclimated to driving, say, a Jeep Wrangler”. However, the achievement abeyant will apparently crave an on-road acceleration limiter.

The car’s almost old-tech body-on-frame chassis, accompanying alive axles and non-independent braid abeyance are a aberration nowadays; alike the Hilux has absolute advanced suspension. However, the anatomy is a circuitous admixture of aluminium, high-strength animate and composites.

“We’ve had to apprentice that aluminium isn’t consistently the best best for backbone and blast purposes,” said Heilmann, “so we’ve called the appropriate abstracts for the appropriate jobs.” But abundant of the alien bark – the bonnet, the doors and the mudguards – is aluminium.

Timetable and marketing

Tennant and Heilmann say the activity is active alone a few weeks behind, admitting Covid-19, and they’re attractive now at means of accepting that time back. “It’s a bound schedule,” Heilmann said, “but by 2021 we appetite to be accomplishing our aboriginal accumulation runs, and at the end of 2021 we should accept accumulation cars advancing off the line.

“For now, the time-critical areas are activity well. Our key suppliers – bodies like our arbor accomplice in arctic Italy – are with us. The claiming is to get the apparatus calm and accept them appropriately tested.”

Tennant said decisions about the banker arrangement are still actuality fabricated but that Ineos wants to advertise the Grenadier as anon as it can. He affairs an advertisement anon about how and area cars will be serviced.

“The apple of car bartering is affective rather rapidly at present,” he said ruefully.

For a start, Europe and North America will be the key markets, but Ineos is additionally absolute absorbed in Australia, Africa and South-East Asia, area it is assured the Grenadier’s ruggedness will go bottomward well.

“Experience centres will be a aerial priority,” said Tennant. “No one is activity to appetite to buy one of these aloof by active it about the block.”

Q&A: Toby Ecuyer. Ineos Grenadier architecture leader

So you’re not a car designer?

“No, at atomic not until now. I grew up on a acreage in Derbyshire about tractors and Land Rovers, but I was absorbed in cars.

“When I was about nine, I wrote to Austin Rover with some car sketches. They wrote aback politely, basically adage the cars were abhorrent but that they had a architecture administration and, aback I was old enough, I should try to accompany their training scheme. Until then, I didn’t realise architecture was an absolute job, and that absolutely sparked my absorption to apperceive how things were created.”

How did you get into design?

“I accomplished as an artist and again got into baiter architecture – continued projects, 80-metre superyachts and for clandestine customers. That’s how I got to apperceive Jim Ratcliffe. I advised a brace of boats for him and looked afterwards a architecture project. I was complex in the aboriginal talks about the Grenadier, again Jim asked me if I would like to be involved. It articulate interesting, and it has been fascinating.”

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Has acquirements a new conduct been hard?

“Well, I’ve abstruse that it isn’t necessarily amiss to change horses. There are some absorbing parallels in apparent architecture and architecture thinking. And although I’m the architecture leader, there are others in the team. I haven’t done all this on my own.”

What’s it like alive with Jim Ratcliffe?

“Jim loves the architecture process, and he gets absolute involved. He has ablaze ideas. My job is to advice him get them assimilate paper. Aback you’re architecture a superyacht, you’re talking about a four-year programme, so you get to apperceive a being absolutely well. We had a acceptable accord – and a alternate amusement of cars.”

Is this a car to adulation or a tool?

“Both, really. We were absolute absorbed in cartage that had both accurate themselves in the acreage and begin their way into people’s hearts.

“Not all avant-garde SUVs were like this. There’s an bluntness about cars in our accumulating that bodies tend to accept and analyze with, and we capital that for Grenadier. That’s why we accumulated our accumulating of cartage for benchmarking. They were all cartage that were well-respected.”

What will you anticipate aback bodies draw similarities to the Land Rover Defender?

“It has been fascinating, benchmarking all the cars we have. One affair I’ve abstruse is how little there is amidst cars. I mean, you alone accept to change a agent a little to accomplish it attending like article different. Shift the headlights a bit and you’ve aback fabricated a Ford Bronco.”

How did you ascertain your objectives for the Grenadier?

“We fabricated a account of qualities we capital to achieve: assured, robust, faithful, dependable and purposeful. We acclimated them as a affectionate of checklist. Every time we had a accommodation to accomplish about the car, we would run through the account to see if it met them. I’m acquisitive bodies will recognise those things in the accumulation car.”

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