Picture your ideal car. Now imagine it doesn’t exist. Instead of settling for something else, you decide, instead, to just build it yourself. This is pretty much what Sir Jim Ratcliffe did when he decided to build the Ineos Grenadier. I’m not jealous, you’re jealous.
THE STORY GOES LIKE THIS…
In 2017, INEOS Chairman Jim Ratcliffe, a car enthusiast and experienced adventurer, identified a gap in the market for a stripped back, utilitarian, hard-working 4×4 engineered for modern day compliance and reliability. INEOS Automotive Limited was formed and a senior team of automotive professionals assembled to bring the vision to reality with a fresh perspective of 4×4 development and manufacturing.
Combining rugged British spirit and design with German engineering rigour, the Grenadier will be a truly uncompromising 4×4 built from the ground up. Engineered to overcome all conditions, it will provide best-in-class off-road capability, durability, and reliability to those who depend on a vehicle as a working tool, wherever they are in the world.
And just like that, the Grenadier has filled the gap that the Land Rover Defender left. It has been built for explorers, farmers and true off-road enthusiasts. And before you mention that it looks just like the Defender, one must bear in mind that the modular design works. Curves and the rest make for complications. So Defender-ish it is.
WHAT’S IT LIKE INSIDE?
One of my favourite things about the cabin of the Grenadier is that it’s not all touchscreen, touchscreen, touchscreen. Mr Ratcliffe knew that if you’re driving in places like Iceland you will be wearing gloves and have you ever tried to operate a touchscreen with gloves on? It doesn’t work. It is a pain! So the cabin is all about buttons and knobs. It is like an aircraft inside. I was so tempted to press and flick every switch I could.
Making it even more practical is the fact that you can hose down the entire interior. There are plugs in the floor to let the water out. It is for the utilitarian.
There is one thing that would bother me, though, and that is the hooter. Or what Mr Radcliffe calls the “tooter.” He feels that you can ever so gently warn a cyclist that you are passing by with the sound of a ‘toot toot.’ I am all for a foghorn sounding hooter if I am honest. I enjoy giving cyclists or bad drivers an almighty fright when its required.
WHEN CAN YOU GET ONE?
Well you can reserve your very own Grenadier right now if you want. It will be delivered in October. It will cost you just under R1.4 million but there will be an array of accessories on offer. Local companies like Alu-cab will also be involved to ensure you are able to customise the crap out of your vehicle.
You won’t have to worry about servicing as some BMW service centres will have you covered. There will also be Ineos-specific centres based in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. Most African countries will also be covered with partners in case of any problems.
Well that’s because BMW has provided the twin-turbo straight-six engines in both petrol and diesel. You will recognise the BMW gear lever when you you climb in.
“Offering no-frills utilitarianism, complete purity of purpose, unquestionable authenticity and ultimate engineering integrity, Projekt Grenadier will be a working 4×4 that supports a varied mix of customers around the world, from Africa to Australasia, Europe to the US.”
Although I didn’t get to drive the Grenadier myself, we rode shotgun in a prototype, I can assure you that this will be everything the project set out to be. It is rather exciting and what a breath of fresh air to experience a car that has never existed before now. I cannot wait to get behind the wheel of one, which should be soon. Watch this space.