Some of the best ideas are born from a conversation in a pub. Bands are formed, movies are imagined, relationships started, and in the case of the Ineos Grenadier, a new car starts its life.
In the Grenadier pub in Belgravia, London, a beer-fueled chat about what a car to follow on from the outgoing original Land Rover Defender would be like has turned in to an actual car: the Grenadier. It would need to be stripped back and utilitarian, leaning more towards workhorse than family wagon. It should be able to tackle the wilds of the world without issue, and be easy to fix. It would take over from where the old Land Rover left off.
See, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Chairman of multinational chemical company Ineos, is a keen adventurer and car enthusiast, as are his mates. They spotted a gap in the market for a no-nonsense off-roader and were rather keen to have a car that suited their globetrotting needs—not a super plush diluted version thereof. To make it happen, Sir Jim hired a group of auto industry professionals to make his car a reality.
The Grenadier has finally broken cover and, to the untrained eye, it could be mistaken for the old Landie. It’s tall, slab sided, and looks utilitarian. Its two-box shape is certainly familiar, though there are key differences dotted all over the car. See those dark rails along the doors? They’re fixing points for… stuff like gas cans, and bulkier items that you might not want inside. The things that look like windows on the leading edge of the roof are actually cut outs for bars to lash equipment to. In the rear, there’s a storage box that allows you to store muddy/damp/unpleasant items safely, but outside the vehicle so your interior can stay unsullied. Ineos is developing its own line of accessories to fit to the Grenadier, but it also wants customers to use existing kit, and for third party manufacturers to create their own accessories to suit different applications. The Grenadier, says Ineos, has been designed to be a blank canvas for owners to tailor the car to their own requirements.
The rear has two doors, a small one (that opens first) so you can throw smaller stuff in the back, and a larger one to give access to its full load space. Ineos says it can take a full euro pallet stacked as tall as the vehicle will allow, or carry 2200lbs of gear. It’ll tow three times that as well.
Toby Ecuyer, Ineos Automotive’s head of design commented that he wanted to design an uncompromising vehicle, one that you’ll want to be part of your family.
At the moment, Ineos hasn’t shown the interior, though it has said it’ll meet the expectation of the 21st century consumer in levels of comfort and technology. Expect elbow room for drivers, for example. The seats will be comfortable and cosseting, there’ll be screens (because everything needs screens now) to show drivers what they need to see, plenty of light, and space to stretch out. For those disappointed by the new Land Rover Defender’s lack of hose down-able interior, the Grenadier’s got you covered. Hose away, off-road fans… There are two panels on its roof, removable so you can go full tank commander if you need to.
Spec and looks-wise it’s as practical as they come then. Ineos states that it’ll have a number of applications—for enthusiasts who want to climb mountains, parents wanting something (very) different for the school run, governments looking to move around inhospitable terrain, NGOs, search and rescue, farmers, estate managers, hire companies, and pretty much everything in between. If you’ve need of something on the more rugged side of off-road, Ineos says the Grenadier will have you covered.
While full technical details are yet to be revealed, there’s a fair bit we do know. It’ll sit on a ladder chassis, have a mechanical transfer box, have a center-locking differential as standard (front and rear optional) be running permanent four-wheel drive, and it’ll get its BMW straight-six power delivered to each wheel by a ZF gearbox.
During a press briefing, Ineos Automotive CEO Dirk Heilmann commented that even before the deal was done, a BMW powertrain was top of the list. In Europe, its motor will meet stringent Euro6 and later Euro7 emissions regulations. Buyers will have the option of BMW’s B57 diesel engine, or the B58 petrol. That’s for now at least, but Ineos is looking forward. Heilmann alluded to an alternative future for its powertrains. He said that as reliability and durability are key, an EV would be ideal, but as it stands that would difficult to implement and let the car do everything it needs to do. He added that the company has been looking at hydrogen fuel cells as a future method of propulsion, though there are no firm plans just yet.
Ineos says it meets all the relevant European crash regulations as well.
While Ineos is expecting the Grenadier to see the bulk of its sales in Europe and North America (25,000 a year at peak), it will be available all over the world. Not every chunk of the planet has access to state-of-the-art mechanical facilities, so the Grenadier needs to be reliable, and easy to fix on the fly. Over 1.1 million miles of testing, Ineos says it wants to make sure it can get you where you want to go, and back.
Size-wise, no firm dimensions have been revealed, but that its wheelbase “is about the same as the G-Wagen.” Similarly, no firm pricing has been announced either. However, Ineos is pitching it at the small pick-up/commercial vehicle segment, which tends to sit in the later $40,000 to early $50,000 segment in Europe.
Grenadier will be part of a family of cars, a station wagon and a pick-up will get the ball rolling but more are set to come. We’ll hear more from Ineos later this year.
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