This is the first look at the highly anticipated Ineos Grenadier, the first car from the company owned by British petrochemical billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe.
Like all the best ideas, it started as a conversation in the pub. The Grenadier pub in fact. Thankfully they didn’t meet at the Duke of Wellington. The proposition that came up over a beer was that if Land Rover was phasing out its beloved Defender off-roader, why not produce its spiritual successor?
As you might be able to ascertain from these first pictures, there’s certainly a resemblance. One that the respective brands' lawyers have apparently been discussing.
Ineos’s chief designer, Toby Ecuyer, who started as an architect and then a designer of superyachts, says the inspiration for its stripped back looks was found in lots of "hard-working vehicles" from helicopters to the classic Willys MB US Army jeep.
Its number one remit was to be useful. In the era of the comfortable SUV, this is consciously a UV, aimed at filling the hole left by the Defender for genuine off-road mobility, durability and all-round utilitarian sense of purpose.
Ineos are quick to point out that despite its no-nonsense character it is still a modern car, with bluetooth and USB ports but nothing will be for the sake of it. In their words “you shouldn’t have to suffer for having a utilitarian car”.
It will use BMW's 3.0-litre straight-six petrol and diesel engines and will be made at a new factory in Bridgend, Wales. Austrian engineering company Magnar is responsible for the chassis and suspension.
Most notably it will be the first in a family of Ineos models and has been designed to be easily customisable to its customers requirements, be they farmers, trackers or Cornish surfers.
We will have to wait until later in the year to find out how it performs in the conditions it was built for.
Given the popularity of the hugely expensive Mercedes G-Wagn's design, it will be interesting to see whether the Grenadier's more affordable pricing will pick up as much interest for its minimalist form as its everyday function.
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