The 4×4 You’ve Been Waiting For: Ineos Grenadier
Toby Hagon recently returned from Scotland, where he spent several days onboard the Ineos Grenadier and with its chief engineer. Here's what he had to say about it.
Nothing like a soupy piece of slushy mud to put a 4x4 to the test. It was the ideal task for our Ineos Grenadier in its maiden outing, attempting to entice folks away from a LandCruiser 70-Series or earlier Land Rover.
The creek slicing through the badly rutted muddy trail added to the difficulty. A few strategically placed rocks added to the excitement. It took at least twenty tire tracks before it cut things up perfectly.
The mix of muck and a steepish slope tested tire traction as much as it did the skills of the Grenadier, the most thrilling four-wheel drive newcomer in years. The Grenadier plowed through with all three diffs engaged and some momentum on board, the occasional grazing of the steel bash plates doing little to hinder progress.
That was an excellent display for a four-wheel drive we suspected we'd like before stepping into the boxy - and high - interior.
Land Rover-Inspired Styling
The Grenadier is old school, even down to the Land Rover-inspired appearance; the business approached Land Rover about purchasing the tooling for the previous Defender.
There are front and rear live axles, a sturdy ladder frame chassis, and enough underbody protection. You pick low-range by wrestling with a stubby gear lever and applying the handbrake by pulling on a lever. There's even a wade mode that turns off the thermal fan briefly to lessen the chance of damage while navigating up to 800mm (31.49" inches) of water.
The most recent addition to the four-wheel drive scene also lacks electronic seats, allowing you to water off the interior without fear of sparks and inactivity. All of this provides you an insight of the Grenadier's thinking. This is no average off-road vehicle. The automobile is the consequence of a wild night in a London bar and a crush on the 'real' Defender.
The men downing those beers were executives from the British petro-chemicals conglomerate Ineos, which also owns one-third of the Mercedes-AMG F1 team.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the company's CEO, is also Britain's richest person, and he'd gladly trade the corporate aircraft for the dust and dunes of Africa. He has successfully produced his ultimate 44.
"What we attempted to do with the Grenadier was try to make it looking fairly stylish.. Land Cruiser durability and off-road capabilities as excellent as it gets," Ratcliffe tells us as we set off on our Northern Hemisphere adventure in a magnificent Scottish castle. "That is where we started five years ago." I believe that's where we'll ideally end up."
Sir Jim owns Mercedes-Benz G-Wagens and evidently appreciates Land Rover Defenders. But he also wanted a car that checked all the off-road boxes - competent, trustworthy, practical, and purpose-built - without being so expensive that it sat shiny, schmick, and underutilized in the garage.
With the final genuine Defender leaving the Solihull assembly line in 2016, Ineos concluded that action was required.
A sketch was made and the cast was set. Ineos would be building a car.
Which Brings Us To Scotland
Of course, misty green fields and mossy rocks are a far cry from the red soil and enormous corrugated plains that characterize the Australian outback. Yet it's enough to know that the bones of 4x4 greatness are present.
The curb weight tells part of the story.
The Ineos is somewhat shorter but broader than the Prado. While lacking most of the safety technology and luxury seen in current vehicles, the Grenadier weighs about 2.7 tonnes. There is a wagon variant with two seats that can accommodate a full-sized pallet, but all others have five seats.
Engineers confess quietly that they overcompensated with the size of the driving shafts and the ladder structure, which took three years to complete. Evidently, no corners were cut during the overall development voyage, which spanned dozens of nations (including Australia) and 1.8 million kilometers (1.1 million miles). It also ran 50% over budget, eventually costing 1.5 billion Euros ($1.6B USD) , or around 2.3 billion ($2.4 USD).
The engines, which were purchased from BMW, share the same engineering approach. There is a 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder turbocharged petrol or diesel engine option.
The petrol engine produces 210kW (281Hp) and 450Nm (331 ft lb Tq), while the diesel produces 183kW (245Hp) and 550Nm (405 ft lb Tq). Each is linked to an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission.
It's established technology, albeit Ineos has reduced the top engine rpm from what a BMW achieves. Everything with the goal of putting less load on the engine and making it endure a few more years.
There's considerable pull in either guise, the petrol like to be pushed harder, whilst the diesel growls.
Notwithstanding the German ancestry - which is emphasized by the dual British and German flag on the front guard - the engines are more gravelly in their approach. It's a welcome dose of personality that oozes from every nook and cranny of the Grenadier.
Its personality pervades its driving manners as well. It's a handful on the road - literally. Recirculating ball steering requires a good twist to elicit any form of reaction, and it must be unwound while exiting a turn, that will keep you occupied.
Thankfully, the cabin is a comfortable area, save for the elevated floor under your left foot, which is caused by the exhaust pipe beneath the floor and raises things unnaturally. Nonetheless, the supportive Recaro seats hug in all the right places, and the large central infotainment screen (which also houses the instrument cluster) adds some tech and trinkets. The roof-mounted switches and buttons are a charming touch - and practical, especially if you're adding extras.
It Handles The Terrain
The Grenadier's handling of bumps is more realistic, with adequately soft coil springs soaking up anything in its path. It's also well-controlled, with the boxy body settling quickly.
During our first encounter with the Grenadier, though, those tiny bitumen stretches were uncommon. There were several gravel routes, many of which were rutted, rough, and riddled with potholes. The Grenadier stomps on them without any fuss. There's a sense of stability and assurance that pushes you to keep going. It's certainly a 4x4 who isn't scared to take some huge knocks. Its payload capacity of roughly 900kg (depending on equipment and extras) is noteworthy.
Our Scottish excursion also included many spells in low range. Descending steep slopes demonstrates excellent engine braking once in first gear. For those who prefer to let the electronics do the job, there is electronic descent control.
Climbing steep and bumpy trails demonstrates the suspension's outstanding articulation. While not in use, the wheels fold deep into the arches and droop. It serves as a reminder of the advantages of live axles.
Underbody scuffs are limited by 264mm (10.3" inches) of clearance, yet the protection protecting vital components gives you confidence to press on. The same goes for the recovery points. Each end has two, each rated at 4.5 tonnes and capable of being pulled at a 45 degree angle.
An Adventure Ready Vehicle
Yet it's the intelligence packed into the Grenadier elsewhere that indicates it's ready for adventure. Quick-release rings are used for exterior accessory 'belts' and baggage tie-down points. The alpine windows are really tie-down hooks for anything you attach to the roof (it also has a static load limit of 420kg), and the tailgate-mounted spare wheel has a tiny storage binnacle for wet or filthy goods.
There's also a plethora of accessories, such as a higher air intake (which isn't water tight) and snorkel that bolt into the side air intake with minimum modification to the plumbing. Mounting extra lights is a breeze thanks to pre-wiring.
What Will It Cost Me?
Pricing starts at $97,000 and goes up from there depending on how far you want to go the accessories. Regular Grenadier, Trialmaster, and Fieldmaster are the three primary models. The ordinary model lacks the front and rear lockers of the others, but it does give the essentials for those who want to accessorize elsewhere. The Trialmaster preserves the cool-looking steel wheels but adds optional Bf Goodrich KO2 LT rubber, a ladder, and an auxiliary battery beneath the back seat. The Fieldmaster has alloy wheels, safari windows in the roof, leather, heated seats, and carpet floor mats.
The one thing we can't evaluate during two days and over 1000 kilometers (620+ miles) is how it will handle hundreds of thousands of kilometers (miles) on rough Australian roads or anywhere else for that matter. That's where you come in, after many years of punishment and hundreds of laps around the nation.
On sale: Q2 2023
Price: From $97,000
Body: 4-door wagon
Length/width/height/wheelbase: 4855mm/1930mm/2050mm/2922mm (191" in/75" in/80.7" in/115" in)
Curb weight: 2618-2717kg (5771-5989 lbs)
Gross vehicle mass (GVM): 3550kg (7826 lbs)
Gross combination mass (GCM): 7000kg (15,432 lbs)
Payload: 833-932kg (1836-2054 lbs)
Tow capacity: 3500kg (7716 lbs)
Dynamic roof load limit: 150kg (330 lbs)
Static roof load limit: 420kg (925 lbs)
Diesel engine: BMW 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder turbo; 183kW/550Nm
Petrol engine: BMW 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder turbo; 210kW/450Nm
Fuel tank capacity: 90 liters (23.7 Gal) (larger tank to be offered as an accessory)
Transmission: 8-speed ZF auto
4WD system: Dual-range permanent 4×4
Tires: Bridgestone AT or BF Goodrich AT KO2 LT
Tyre size: 265/70 R17 or 255/70 R18
Ground clearance: 264mm (10.39" in)
Approach angle: 36.2 degrees
Rampover angle: 28.2 degrees
Departure angle: 36.1 degrees
Wading depth: 800mm (31.49" in)
Wheel travel: 585mm (23.03" in)
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