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The Ineos Grenadier is one of the most exciting new vehicles on the market. This SUV was originally conceived of as a replacement for the Land Rover Defender, features BMW powerplants, and engineering by the firm that builds the G-Wagen. The Grenadier shares its unique name with Ineos’ founder’s favorite London pub.

The Grenadier started as a continuation Land Rover Defender

The grille of an Ineos Grenadier 4x4 SUV, a snowy mountain range in the background.
Ineos Grenadier SUV pre-production model | Ineos

When Land Rover announced the end of its iconic Defender, Sir Jim Ratcliffe was among the many 4×4 fans crushed by the news. Luckily, Ratcliffe is the billionaire founder of Ineos Chemicals. He immediately set about creating a continuation Land Rover Defender.

First, Ratcliffe approached Jaguar Land Rover about purchasing the original SUV’s tooling to build and sell continuation Defenders. But this deal fell through. So he began to design a next generation of the Defender.

Ratcliffe purchased a bunch of Wranglers, G Wagens, Land Cruisers, and even Ford Broncos. He revealed he was especially interested in the overbuilt African-spec version of these vehicles. His eventual design included an eight-speed automatic transmission, five-link coil suspension, full-time 4WD, two-speed transfer case, a load-bearing roof with integrated tie bars and utility rails, and a two-piece rear door.

The Grenadier features BMW engines, Austrian engineering, and a London pub’s name

The Ineos Grenadier off-road SUV parked on a ski slope for a promotional photo.
Ineos Grenadier SUV pre-production model | Ineos

Ratcliffe ended up choosing BMW I6 engines as his new 4×4’s powerplants. Buyers can opt for either a diesel or gasoline 3.0-liter I6. Both engines come with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission.

To design the rest of the Ineos Grenadier, Ratcliffe retained Magna Steyr. The famed Austrian designer and manufacturer is behind the Mercedes-Benz Gelandewagen, or G-Class. Ratcliffe approached Mercedes-Benz about manufacturing. He ended up purchasing the automaker’s Hambach, France factory to build his SUV.

When Ratcliffe released images of his retro-styled 4×4, over 50,000 SUV fans expressed interest in buying one. Ratcliffe had only planned to build 25,000 a year at his Hambach factory, so this much interest would be more than enough to support the company. He just needed a name for the vehicle.

You may have heard that you’ll never find an answer at the bottom of a bottle. But Ratcliffe is proof that this isn’t always true. Ratcliffe realized that the perfect name had been staring him in the face all along: his favorite pub is The Grenadier, in Belgravia, London.

The public house, originally founded in 1720 as an officers’ mess, borrowed its name from the class of soldier armed with grenades. It was actually renamed (from The Guardsman) in 1818 to honor the heroic Grenadier Gaurds’ role in the Battle of Waterloo.

The Ineos Grenadier is officially in production–you just can’t buy one yet

The Ineos Grenadier 4x4 SUV, designed to replace the Land Rover Defender, driving through snow in Austria.
Ineos Grenadier SUV pre-production model | Ineos

Ratcliffe not only thought of the idea for his Defender-replacement SUV in the Grenadier pub, but he actually held his promotional presentation there. The Hambach factory went into production in July 2022. But if you’re dreaming of buying your own Ineos Grenadier, you’ll have to wait at least a few more months.

Ineos has pledge to complete over a million miles of off-road testing before it begins to sell the Grenadier. But the testing is underway and the Ratcliffe aims to make the first U.K. deliveries in December 2022. He has established a U.S. headquarters in Raleigh, North Caroline, but has yet to announce a North American sales timetable.

Check out more off-road-ready Jeep Wranlger alternatives or watch the Grenadier reviewed in the video below:


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