Lewis Hamilton Test Drives The INEOS Grenadier

"It definitely felt James Bond-like."

Lewis Hamilton Test Drives The INEOS Grenadier

Image: INEOS

He’s normally all about rear-wheel drive cars, but Sir Lewis has swapped his Formula 1 car for an INEOS Grenadier in his latest stunt, taking the highly anticipated off-roader for a spin throughout the British countryside.

The seven-time Formula 1 World Champion joined INEOS CEO and father of the Grenadier, Sir Jim Ratcliffe for a test drive of the tough new SUV, which is a spiritual successor to the discontinued, original Land Rover Defender.

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Hamilton didn’t hold back, driving the car at high speeds on the bitumen (it’s cool to see that even in a big 4×4, he still tries to take the racing line) and then ploughing ahead off-road. It’s a hell of a watch – and cool to see the normally guarded Lewis share a bit of banter with Jim.

We’re just a bit jealous he’s got to drive it before the rest of us…

Watch Lewis Hamilton go off-roading in the INEOS Grenadier below.

INEOS, a British multinational chemicals company that’s mostly in the business of making plastics or natural gas production, has been the talk of the motoring industry ever since they unveiled their plans to produce the Grenadier, which they hope to sell to both the public as well as commercial clients such as miners, oil field workers and farmers.

Like the classic Defender, the Grenadier features boxy bodywork, a steel ladder chassis, solid axles and will be available as either an ‘estate’ or with a ute tray. Unlike the classic Defender (or at least early versions of it), it will feature multi-link coil spring suspension as well as modern safety aids like airbags and LED/xenon lights.

Set to be powered by either a petrol or diesel 3.0L BMW turbocharged inline-six, INEOS is also working closely with Hyundai to develop hydrogen fuel cell technology (a savvy move, considering INEOS produces 300,000 tonnes of hydrogen a year).

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Lewis during his Grenadier drive. This pre-production vehicle is left-hand drive. Image: INEOS

It will be produced in Hambach, France, previously the main production site for the Smart ForTwo: production has been stymied by the COVID-19 pandemic, however. Orders are now open in Australia with customer deliveries slated for late 2022, although the bulk of orders will start rolling out from early in 2023, CarExpert relates.

The Grenadier has put through serious off-road and inclement weather testing in Austria, Italy, Sweden, and most recently, outback South Australia, where the testing team was caught in a “one-in-a-hundred-year flood event”. INEOS plans on returning to Australia to complete testing, along with undertaking an expedition of the Canning Stock Route, Drive reports.

We wonder if we’ll see any bouncing around at the Australian Grand Prix as well…

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