Photo of new Range Rover Sport leaked online
Photo credit: Autoweek
An image of the new-generation Range Rover Sport appeared Wednesday on Facebook community page VMax 200. The page has since been removed.
Land Rover said on Monday that the premium large SUV would be unveiled March 26, on the eve of the New York auto show, ahead of the car's sales start later this year.
The photo shows the front and rear end of the new Range Rover Sport looks much like the rounded Range Rover Evoque, as do its sloping rear window and black window pillars.
The more aerodynamic design is expected to help boost fuel economy.
The Range Rover Sport, with sales of 16,491, was Land Rover's top-selling model in the United States last year. In Europe, Land Rover sold 16,122 Range Rover Sports last year, ranking it third behind the Range Rover Evoque (51,543) and Land Rover Freelander (18,618), according to JATO Dynamics.
Land Rover says the new Range Rover Sport is the company's "fastest, most responsive and most agile vehicle to date."
Media reports say the SUV will be available with seven seats for the first time.
No prices were announced for the new car, which fits between the Evoque premium medium SUV and the Range Rover.
"Traditionally, we have priced it below Range Rover," a Land Rover spokesman told Automotive News Europe this week. The new Range Rover starts at 89,100 euros ($115,900) in Germany.
The new Range Rover Sport will share engines with its bigger sibling, the Range Rover, including a 3.0-liter V-6 diesel and a 3.0-liter V-6 supercharged gasoline. The Sport is also likely to get a version of the hybrid powertrain that will go on sale in the Range Rover this year with a target CO2 figure of 169 grams per kilometer.
The new Range Rover Sport will be the third new or redesigned Range Rover model introduced in two years. It follows the Evoque in 2011 and the redesigned Range Rover in 2012.
Jaguar Land Rover, owned by India's Tata Motors, said this month it would launch eight new or refreshed models this year with an investment cost of 2.75 billion pounds (3.16 billion euros). New cars include the Jaguar F-Type two-seat sports car, while updates include the Evoque with a new nine-speed automatic transmission from German supplier ZF Friedrichhafen, which will make the gearbox at its new U.S. plant in Gray Court, South Carolina.