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Auto blogWed, 26 Feb 2014 19:00:00 EST
Of all the tuners this side of AMG, none are as close to Mercedes-Benz as Brabus. After all, when Daimler needed a tuner to spruce up the Smart car, it was Brabus that it turned to. But Brabus tunes vehicles other than Mercedes - it just uses, let's call it, a pen name. It brands them Startech, like the widebody kit it's developed for the new Range Rover Sport and will present at the Geneva Motor Show next week.
The modifications center around the carbon fiber body panels Brabus (excuse us, Startech) has developed for the British sport-ute that give it over two inches of added width. The wider fender flares encompass 23-inch wheels that are forged, ceramic-coated, skinned with low-profile rubber and fitted to a lowered suspension. The front and rear bumpers have been redone in plastic and can be fitted with or without the wider fenders, and there's a three-piece roof spoiler at the back.
Startech is also offering an upgrade for the 3.0-liter twin-turbo-diesel V6 that squeezes out an extra 31 horsepower and 59 pound-feet of torque for a total of 323 hp and 501 lb-ft, dropping the 0-62 time from 7.2 seconds to 6.9. The German tuner also has a wide array of interior modifications on offer, details of which you can read about in the press release below and scope out in the high-resolution image gallery above.
Care for a bit more proof that the Jaguar Land Rover portfolio of vehicles is the best it's ever been? Well, the Indian-owned pair of brands saw a record year in 2013, while 2014 has seen a 14-percent increase in sales. The crazy thing is, though, is that figure could be even higher, provided the company had the production capacity.
JLR is running a six-month waiting list on two of its most popular models, the Range Rover Sport (above) and Range Rover. According to Mark White, the company's chief technologist for body engineering, the blame can be placed on the paint shop at the company's Solihull factory, in the UK.
"We will probably max out the paint shop before we max out the body shop. Putting the second body shop in has given us the flexibility to ebb and flow the different models that go through there and meet the capacity demands we've got," White told Automotive News. "However, you always hit a bottleneck somewhere. And the paint shop is probably going to be the next biggest obstacle."
Jaguar-Land Rover is not what you'd call a volume automaker by any stretch of the imagination. But in the dozen years since it started manufacturing at its Halewood plant near Liverpool, England, the automaker has already built its millionth vehicle.
The landmark vehicle is a Range Rover Evoque, done up in white with red roof and mirrors, black wheels and a red and black interior. The crossover is set to be donated to Cancer Research UK, which will auction it off next year to help fund its projects in the north-west of the country.
Halewood started manufacturing the Jaguar X-Type in 2001, then went on to assemble the Land Rover LR2 / Freelander 2 before taking on production of the Evoque a year and a half ago. The facility reached the 300,000-unit milestone just last year as production moved to a 24-hour cycle for the first time in either marque's history.