What is Lewis Hamilton, a Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 race car driver, doing behind the wheel of a BMW-powered SUV? Well, Ineos Automotive is a subsidiary of the chemicals company Ineos Group, one of the F1 team's main sponsors. The seven-time world champion stars in a new video showcasing the Grenadier and he is joined by Ineos founder Jim Ratcliffe. Needless to say, the 37-year-old driver with the most wins in F1 is a big fan of the boxy SUV.
Lewis Hamilton is known for his collection of low-slung supercars, but he seems to be enjoying himself behind the wheel of the high-riding Grenadier while driving off the beaten path. The SUV felt James Bond-like and he'd order one with the blacked-out lights, an extra set of LEDs on the roof, and the biggest all-terrain tyres available. The capable off-roader has a bit more body roll than the type of cars LH usually drives, but he was left impressed with the amount of grip available.
In production at the former Daimler plant in Hambach, France where Smart cars used to be made, the Ineos Grenadier is offered with two 3.0-litre, inline-six BMW engines. There's the B57 diesel with 245 bhp and 406 lb-ft (550 Nm) and the B58 petrol mill rated at 281 bhp and 332 lb-ft (450 Nm).
In the ladder-frame SUV, both work with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission in an SUV equipped with three differential locks like the Mercedes G-Class. The Grenadier is not the only new SUV to use BMW engines as the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport get the bigger V8 N63 from Munich.
You've probably heard the interesting story about how the Grenadier came to be. Jim Ratcliffe originally wanted to buy the rights for the old Defender to continue production, but Land Rover said no. He decided to take matters into his own hands and engineer the go-anywhere from the ground up. A legal dispute followed as the Tata Motors-owned automaker said the Grenadier looked too much like the Defender, but Ineos ultimately won because the design of the original Defender was never trademarked.
Customer deliveries are scheduled to commence in December and Ineos Automotive has confirmed the Grenadier has a starting price of £49,000.