The front-driven model won't even be available at launch, instead following a short time after the standard all-wheel-drive model. The 2012 LRX is expected to make its official debut this fall at the Paris Motor Show before going into production in early 2011.
The reasoning behind the switch to FWD? The same as BMW's: fuel economy. By shedding the weight and drivetrain losses associated with a four-wheel drive system, the entry-level LRX will cut CO2 emissions by about 10 grams per kilometer, or around 16 grams per mile. In carbon-conscious Europe--and elsewhere--that's becoming more and more a priority, especially for the smallest cars from the many luxury brands.
Stay tuned for the official unveiling in Paris this September, as we'll be on hand to cover the event live. For more on the 2012 Land Rover LRX, check out our previous coverage and see our spy shots of the LRX test mule.