Land Rover is launching its first-ever hybrid models in the form of the new Range Rover Hybrid and Range Rover Sport Hybrid, which make their world debut next month at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show and go on sale overseas early next year. Both vehicles feature state-of-the-art diesel-electric hybrid powertrains and have not yet been confirmed for sale in the U.S., though a local launch is expected.

The powertrain is common to both: a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 paired in parallel with an electric motor integrated with the ZF eight-speed automatic already fitted across the line. Peak output of the system is 335 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, with the latter generated from as low as 1,500 rpm.

Note, the electric motor by itself generates 35 kilowatts (47 horsepower) and 125 pound-feet of torque. This allows the vehicle to travel at speeds of up 30 mph on electric power alone, but only over a distance of about one mile. This mode, which is selectable by the driver, is purely for stop and start driving around town. The motor also acts as a generator under braking.

The total weight of the hybrid system, including the floor-mounted lithium-ion battery and inverter, is only 265 pounds, helping the vehicles maintain their strong performance and off-road capability. The Range Rover Hybrid weighs in at 5,278 pounds while the Range Rover Sport Hybrid checks in at 5,229 pounds.

They’re not exactly light but that makes the performance of their new hybrid system all the more impressive. Land Rover claims a 0-62 mph time of 6.9 seconds for the Range Rover Hybrid and 6.7 seconds for the Range Rover Sport Hybrid. Top speed is 135 mph and 140 mph, respectively. Combined fuel economy for both models, based on the European combined cycle, is 36.75 mpg.

Importantly, both hybrids retain Land Rover’s peerless four-wheel drive system and work seamlessly with the computer-controlled Terrain Response 2 off-road system, and both offer uncompromised wading and ground clearance despite their floor-mounted batteries.

To demonstrate this capability, three Range Rover Hybrids will embark tomorrow on an epic trip, from the home of Range Rover production in Solihull, U.K. to the home of Land Rover’s parent company Tata, in Mumbai, India. The journey, which Land Rover has dubbed the “Silk Trail 2013,” will see the vehicles travel some 10,000 miles across 12 different countries. They are expected to arrive in Mumbai on October 15.

We’ll get our own first look at the vehicles at the Frankfurt Auto Show on September 10. In the meantime, hit this link for our complete coverage of the German show.


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