A Brand New 4WD !
Category: INFORMATION FOR MEMBERS
Last Sunday I went for a test drive of the pre-production prototype of the Ineos Grenadier at the RACG Driving Centre at Mt Cotton. For those not in the know here are a few “bare bones” of the Grenadier story.
The Ineos company is a petrochemical giant in the UK headed up by Jim Ratcliffe. For many years Ineos has sponsored a not-for-profit UK based mine clearance organization and part of their sponsorship was the provision of vehicles for the Organisation. These vehicles were Land Rover Defenders. When LR decided to pull the plug on the venerable Defender, and, not replace it, Ratcliffe/Eneos decided to buy the rights to make the Defender from LR. This did not go far and only really succeeded in Ineos getting the rights to the slab sided shape with some body pressing equipment. So Ineos/Ratcliffe set up Ineos Automotive to build a replacement for the Defender since the new LR Defender was a soft roader not an off roader.
Since the replacement for the Defender was to be a no nonsense work horse some of the design parameters became obvious. Without going through the evolution let me just say the Grenadier (as it was to be called) was in many ways reverse engineered in a move to build in more reliability and more ease of repair, without specialist equipment, in the bush.
Here is the result:
Engine, diesel or petrol 3 litre BMW
Gear box, 8 speed ZF box and purpose built transfer case
Box chassis, beam axles, coil springs, 17 inch steel or alloy wheels
400 kgm roof rack
Extras: winch, bull bar, diff locks
How did it drive? My closest comparison would be the V8 Range Rovers that I drove before the Discovery came along. My Rangies were raised, had very heavy coils and were manuals. That is how the Grenadier drove, not like a Defender but like my original trip Rangies. I must say I liked it, suspension a bit rough and a bit of body roll but I felt at home. The eight speed ZF performed faultlessly and the transfer case, while clunky, was a very positive manual change.
It was good to see a mechanical handbrake, mechanical transfer shift and a general lower reliance on gimmicks. It is of now the only real 4WD being sold new. You can check it out below, Now all I have to do is convince Barbara that it is the car for her!