BMW heart and a chunky suit: Ineos Grenadier is (almost) ready to rumble

By Pritesh Ruthun Time of article published Jul 1, 2020

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Johannesburg - A couple of weeks ago, Ineos hosted a round table discussion on the forthcoming Grenadier off-roader vehicle. With a ladder frame chassis, designed from the ground up to be one of the best off-roaders ever made, the company confirmed that BMW will provide the engine and that Magna Steyr in Austria is its key engineering partner. 

Most importantly, Ineos showed for the first time what the all-new Grenadier is going to look like, leaving most journalists in attendance at the virtual conference speechless (in a good way).

The Grenadier is a no-nonsense 4x4 vehicle "for the world", built from the ground up on an all-new platform to meet the demands of its future owners for a rugged, capable and comfortable go-anywhere working vehicle.

In fact, in the Q and A session at the end of the programme, the Ineos executives even joked that this is not a vehicle for posing; it's meant to be driven...hard.

Form follows function

“The brief was simple. We set out to design a modern, functional and highly capable 4x4 vehicle with utility at its core”, said Toby Ecuyer, Head of Design. 

“A design that is ‘easy-to-read’, with no ambiguity about the Grenadier’s role in life. There to do everything you need, and nothing you don’t. Nothing is for show. Modern engineering and production techniques ensure the Grenadier is highly capable, but we have been able to stay true to the essence of creating a utilitarian vehicle that will stand the test of time”.

Dirk Heilmann, INEOS Automotive’s CEO, added: “We are delighted to be able to share the design of the Grenadier so early in the process. Most manufacturers would hold back, but we are a new business, building a new brand, and we want to take people with us on this exciting journey.

“Showing the design now allows us to focus on the critical next phase of the vehicle’s development, testing its capability and durability. We have a very challenging programme ahead, as we put prototypes through their paces in all conditions, on the way to accumulating some 1.8 million test kilometres over the coming year. From today the covers are off. Testing ‘in plain sight’ without the need for camouflage wrapping, foam blocks or fake panels is an added benefit.” 

You might be wondering why the world needs another burly off-roader? Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Chairman of INEOS, explained: “The Grenadier project started by identifying a gap in the market, abandoned by a number of manufacturers, for a utilitarian off-road vehicle. This gave us our engineering blueprint for a capable, durable and reliable 4x4 built to handle the world’s harshest environments. But it had to look the part as well. As you will see today, Toby and his team have done a great job in delivering a design that is both distinctive and purposeful.”

Keep an eye out for it

As part of the Grenadier's durability testing, several test mules will be running around South Africa in the coming months. Heilmann said that South Africa and Africa would be a key market for the vehicle, but he also foresees demand in the Middle East. 

He also said that while the Grenadier will use BMW engines, you won't be able to service at a BMW outlet. Ineos will be looking to set up a franchise network in SA, not as large as the bigger players but will aim to provide full-service vehicle maintenance operations at least in the early stages of launching the product here in 2022.

Pricing, well...they said it won't be as outrageously priced as a Mercedes-Benz G-Class, but that could mean anything. We'll bring you more information on the Grenadier as it becomes available.

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