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IN PICTURES: Ineos unveils robust 4x4 aimed at void left by Defender

There has been much hype around the development of the Ineos Grenadier, a vehicle many see as a suitable replacement for the Land Rover Defender of yesteryear, with the company recently revealing the exterior design of the new vehicle. Alex Heath reports.

For the last three years Ineos Automotive has made no apologies in its quest to design and build a rugged and capable 4x4, filling a gap it sees in the automotive marketplace.

 

Following a six-month feasibility study focusing on the demands required by various industries and after much speculation as to the form of the vehicle, the company has recently revealed the exterior design of the Grenadier.

 

It will come as no surprise, that one of the most popular off-roaders and firm favourite of company chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the Land Rover Defender, has provided several styling prompts in the new vehicles design. This includes square front fenders and raised bonnet, boxy tin work and round headlights, sure to strike a chord with those still mourning the loss of the utilitarian Defender.

Ineos says the Grenadier has been built from the ground up on a new platform to meet the demands of its future owners for a rugged, capable and comfortable go-anywhere working vehicle. It has sourced parts from numerous manufacturers that will be familiar within the farming community.

 

Toby Ecuyer, the company’s head of design says; “The brief was simple. We set out to design a modern, functional and highly capable 4x4 vehicle with utility at its core. A design that is ‘easy-to-read’, with no ambiguity about the Grenadier’s role in life.”

 

Mobility technology specialist Magna has been instrumental in the design of the vehicle’s undercarriage, from the inception of the project, through its subsidiary Magna Powertrain. However, for series production, Magna Steyr has also been bought on board. The company was responsible for series production of Mercedes’ G-Wagen, with hints of that iconic vehicle also evident throughout.

 

A box section ladder chassis is found underneath the bodywork. Chosen for its structural rigidity and strength, the company says it has multi-layer corrosion protection. It will also enable the truck to have a 3,500kg towing capacity.

 

Supporting the chassis, beam axles from Carraro are used, offering better ground clearance, articulation and load carrying ability than independent suspension, says the company, as well as being simpler and easier to attach and fix. A coil and damper multi-link suspension arrangement is used; coils sourced from Eibach and dampers from ZF, offering a simple but robust system, the manufacturer says. Permanent four-wheel drive features, with looking differentials.

 

The front-end of the drive train is from BMW, with straight-six diesel and petrol engine variants expected. Power ratings for the modular three-litre units are expected to be between 216 and 400hp, if the tuning stays the same as the parent company’s cars. ZF are also providing an eight-speed automatic transmission, complete with low box. It is not yet known if a manual ‘box will feature.

Externally, Ineos has designed the vehicle to be ‘open-source’ meaning that both its own accessories and those from other manufacturers can be fitted. Belt lines around the doors act as bump strips, but can be used as a ‘utility belt’, fixing jerry cans as an example to the waist of the vehicle, the company says. It has also added wiring exit ports in the roof, both front and rear to facilitate auxiliary lighting and power outlets.

 

The Grenadier has a vertical split rear door; a smaller section on the left for quick access when loading small items and a larger on the right which also supports the spare tyre. When both doors are open, a euro size pallet can be accommodated, making use of its tonne payload.

Production of the new four-wheel drive vehicle will start in the second half of 2021, at a newly constructed factory in Bridgend, Wales creating up to 500 jobs. To start with, the manufacturer is focussing on the five-door station wagon version, but a twin cab pickup version is also in the pipeline, and there may be a short wheelbase version on the cards too.

 

Dirk Heilmann, Ineos Automotive’s CEO, says; “We are delighted to be able to share the design of the Grenadier so early in the process. Most manufacturers would hold back, but we are a new business, building a new brand, and we want to take people with us on this exciting journey.”

 

He adds; “Showing the design now allows us to focus on the critical next phase of the vehicle’s development, testing its capability and durability. We have a very challenging programme ahead, as we put prototypes through their paces in all conditions, on the way to accumulating some 1.8 million test kilometres over the coming year. From today the covers are off. Testing ‘in plain sight’ without the need for camouflage wrapping, foam blocks or fake panels is an added benefit.”

What is Ineos?

  • Ineos Automotive is a subsidiary of Ineos Group, a leading manufacturer of petrochemicals, speciality chemicals and oil products. It employs 22,000 people across 34 businesses, with a production network spanning 183 manufacturing facilities in 26 countries.
  • From paints to plastics, textiles to technology, medicines to mobile phones, materials manufactured by the company can be found in almost every aspect of modern life. In 2018, Ineos had sales in the region of £48.3 billion ($60bn).
  • In 2017, Ineos chairman Jim Ratcliffe, a car enthusiast and experienced adventurer, identified a gap in the market for a stripped back, utilitarian, hard-working 4x4 engineered for modern day compliance and reliability, combining rugged British spirit with German engineering rigour.
  • “I am a great admirer of the old Land Rover Defender and have enormous respect for its off-road capability and our new 4x4 has been inspired by it. But whilst our off-roader might share its spirit, our new vehicle will be a major improvement on previous models,” he said at the inception of the project.

 

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