Imagine you are Jim Ratcliffe, the founder and CEO of the third largest chemical petrochemical group in the world with a turnover of $ 91 billion (2020 data), and has a great passion for cars. Specifically, the hard and pure off-road vehicles like the Land Rover Defender. Why not make one with your own brand?
Broadly speaking, theIneos Grenadier was born like this. Conceived to be the “true” heir of the Defender, it is a vehicle without any kind of compromise and which calls into question practically all current trends in the automotive world.
And we got on board for an Italian preview in Campodarsego (PD), the headquarters of the Carraro, one of the partner companies of Ineos in the super off-roader project.
Born from synergies
Ineos, who had never designed a car before, had to tighten several collaborations to turn your vision into reality. In practice, one of the most important partnerships is that with the Carraro Group. The company specializes in the production of off-road vehicles for agriculture and construction and supplied the rigid axles, one of the main components of the side member chassis.
Then there are the equally fundamental contributions of Great Steyr (who thought about engineering), Brembo (for the brake system), Frap (for suspension and steering) e BMW (engine and gearbox manufacturer).
By combining all the pieces you get an old-fashioned off-road vehicle.
Boxy and customizable
First of all, here are the size: the Inéos is 4.93m long, 1.93m wide and 2.03m high. In general, it is an off-road vehicle that challenges many current trends in the automotive world and which, according to the company, aims to fill a “hole” created with the departure of the old Defender.
And if the car’s goal is to create aerodynamic models, the Inéos proudly displays its boxy shapes.
The design has been a matter of discussion between Land Rover and Ineos given the allegations of plagiarism addressed to the Jim Ratcliff brand. The English court, however, established the “innocence” of the petrochemical group, which was able to continue developing the car.
Overall, the lines are also very simple. This is because the car is a kind of “blank sheet” and can be customized with accessories such as ladders, protections, snorkels and additional tanks drawing from the long list of official and unofficial options.
In front there is a regular shaped grille that incorporates the circular LED headlights and fog lights in the center, while below you can see the rounded bumpers to improve the angle of attack and two red hooks to get out of trouble in the most difficult situations.
Even in the rear, the design is minimalistic and the spare wheel on sight cannot be missing. Then there is the stylistic addition of the double chromed tailpipe.
The basic equipment foroff-road is notable: permanent all-wheel drive, BF Goodrich All-Terrain tires, three lockable differentials (center, front and rear), skid plates for the underbody, towing capacity of 3.5 tons and, as we will see in the off-road test-drive, 8-speed automatic transmission with reduced gears developed by ZF.
On board a jet
Another trend of modern cars is to minimize the presence of dashboard controls and to concentrate everything on the infotainment touch screen. The Grenadier, however, is old school.
The cockpit it looks like that of a jet with a center console full of buttons to manage climate control and other functions for comfort and entertainment. Above the passengers’ heads, on the other hand, there are other controls with various settings for off-road vehicles, such as locking the differentials.
The small digital dashboard and 12.3 “screen of theinfotainment they raise the technological rate of the passenger compartment. The latter includes compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and an off-road specific navigation system that allows you to save the route backwards.
Overall, however, the Inéos can count on 50% less than electronic control units compared to other cars: a real strength in the age of chip crisis and a relief for the workshops.
For the rest, the interior retains the practical spirit typical of off-road vehicles. THE Recaro seatsin fact, they are made of resistant fabric and are designed to be washed. For the more demanding, however, leather upholstery is also available.
The cargo area is regular and rather wide. There are also side rails for storing luggage and equipment. I remember that this is a 5-seater model, but the Inéos will also be available in a 2-seater N1 truck version (to have even more space for work materials) or with a body. And there is also a 7-seater version for “civil” use.
Off-roading is his job
As mentioned, the engines are of BMW origin. Again, the Inéos goes against the grain and relies on non-electrified thrusters to minimize complexity. Here, then, are the 6 cylinders in line 3 liter turbo petrol e turbodiesel with Euro 6d homologation with powers of 285 HP and 249 HP. The automatic gearbox it is the same 8-speed ZF as many other Elica models.
And if there are still those who have little faith in such a young and little known model (unlike the famous rivals Defender, Wrangler and Bronco), here’s a curiosity: the Inéos has been tested for 2 million kilometers in the most extreme environments. of the Earth. From the suffocating heat of Death Valley in the United States to the North of Sweden. In between, the exam passed with honors on the Mount Shöckl, the proving ground for the Mercedes G-Class.
At the wheel, the Grenadier is as expected: it feels like being in a real luxury tank. This is because every obstacle can be overcome without problems, but in a well-kept and quiet environment.
The absorption is very effective and the traction in the most difficult points is surprising. I say “surprising” because, unlike the rivals, there are no specific driving modes here for rock, sand or mud. The Ineos is so in nature and is ready right away for tests of this kind.
In my opinion, the only flaw for off-road driving concerns the dimensions: 1.93 meters wide is a lot on the narrowest mountain or country roads. But it’s also true that rivals like the Defender and Mercedes G-Class are no less bulky.
Prices and availability
The phase of pre-order of the Grenadier. Those who have already expressed their interest in recent months can connect to the official Ineos website and proceed with the configuration. From 14 October, however, the reservation is open to all with a refundable deposit of 450 euros.
The premium deliveries will take place in the summer of 2022 through a network of 10 salespeople in Italy with an agency contract. The price is the same throughout Europe and is 60.500 euro (VAT included, without IPT and putting on the road).
Naturally, the car can also be ordered in showrooms over the next few months and you can choose with M1 vehicle homologation or as an N1 homologated 2 or 5 seater truck. Next, the 7-seater Grenadier and the pick-up truck will arrive.
The Ineos is sold with a 3-year warranty and breakdown service through Bosch Car Service workshops and “flying doctors” for special problems.