In July 2021 we saw the INEOS Grenadier debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed surrounded by a cavalcade of road cyclists from the EOS Grenadier Cycling Team as well as up-and-coming rider and British Road Race Champion Ben Swift. The Grenadier 4×4 off-roader was driven by F1 driver, Esteban Gutierrez on the Hillclimb.
The INEOS Grenadier, the dream of one of Britain’s richest men Sir Jim Ratcliffe, will form a suite of 4×4 vehicles and the range will hit showrooms within the next few months. The Grenadier is seemingly another young pretender vying to take the mantle vacated by the old-style Land Rover Defender, with a rugged go-anywhere approach and traditional boxy looks. While Covid naturally delayed production in 2020 along with Ratcliffe’s decision to move production from Wales to a French factory that he bought from Mercedes, the Grenadier now looks to be back on track.
The ethos behind the ‘uncompromising’ INEOS Grenadier is durability, luxury and comfort, all enhanced with the latest tech. INEOS hope that the Grenadier will appeal to 4×4 lifestyle fans who want top-of-the-range luxury as well as those high demanding (for different reasons) commercial users. Despite its classic retro looks, the Grenadier has been designed from a blank sheet so as to not fall into the trap of recreating any weaknesses that similar attempts on the crown of the old Defender (and indeed the original Defender itself) may exhibit.
Inside, the idea has been to create a logical layout and provide a real sense of this being an easy to use and understand vehicle. For example, switches are properly labelled rather than using any of those now ubiquitous icons that we see everywhere. It might seem like a dumbed down approach, but a rugged 4×4 commercial vehicle may have several irregular drivers, each of whom may need to get used to functionality fast to make the most of such a vehicle’s potential.
2, 5 and 7-seater variants are planned, each featuring most of the switches down the spine of the vehicle, mostly on the centre console with some located overhead above the rear-view mirror – rather like an aircraft. This overhead section is customisable to allow control of such additional items as a winch or roof lights. There is also the option to run a power converter rated at 2,000 watts (AC) for power tools and other external electronic devices. Above the centre console array of switches is a 12.3-inch touchscreen which can also be controlled via a rotary dial using the BMW operating system.
The interior design is a match for both luxury and commercial requirements, with splashproof and stainproof upholstery and rubberised flooring and water drain plugs as standard – although if such protection is not likely to be a requirement, luxury leather can be specced.
Storage has also been well thought out, with the 2-seater capable of taking a Euro pallet in the rear and various Isofix securing hooks carefully placed throughout. There is also a dry storage section which slides under the rear seating. Storage is also tailored for smaller items such as phones and wallets; it’s like a high-end hiking backpack on wheels.
INEOS want to emphasise that the Grenadier will last; the one area designed to age is the optional saddle leather available for the steering wheel, which INEOS say will patina as time goes on as well as providing a more tactile driving experience.
Power is taken care of by a choice of either a 246bhp/550Nm torque or 281bhp/450Nm 3-litre 6-cylinder turbo BMW engine. The former being a diesel and the latter a petrol unit, all controlled via an 8-speed gearbox.
As well as 2 – 7-seat options, there is also likely to be a 4×4 Grenadier pickup version too. The pickup and 7-seater will sit on an extended 3175mm wheelbase version. Rumours are that the pickup will be available with a choice of beds, though no confirmation of this as yet. The pickup is likely to follow the initial launch of the 2 and 5-seaters.
Ratcliffe has stated that “we want to build the world’s purest 4X4 and are aiming it at explorers, farmers and off-road enthusiasts across the globe.” Without doubt the INEOS Grenadier 4×4 is certainly one to watch; it genuinely does feel very well thought out and accommodating for various uses.
Images: autocar.co.uk, autoexpress.co.uk, ineosgrenadier.com
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