Land Rover Astronaut Edition
Exclusivity is the name of the game for high-end automakers. While mainstream brands are busy chasing down volume, they’re courting your betters. Unfortunately, not every manufacturer can simply tag a vehicle with a lofty MSRP and call it a day. They have to convince their smaller customer base that they’re getting something special in return. Enter the most insane special edition we’ve seen in a while: the Land Rover Astronaut Edition.
As the name suggests, this is an SUV literally reserved for those who have been in space — or, more accurately, have set aside the necessary funds to do so through Virgin Galactic.
The vehicle is the offspring of a longstanding partnership between Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations and Richard Branson’s space-fairing lovechild, so owners will actually be more astro-tourist than astronaut. That said, they’ll still be able to proclaim they’ve been to sub-orbital space and motion to their “Zero Gravity Blue” SUV to prove it.
The Astronaut Edition is based on the short-wheelbase Range Rover Autobiography and comes in two flavors. Those interested in virtue signaling after utilizing the planet’s finite resources to engage in some cosmic sightseeing will appreciate the P400e plug-in hybrid’s eco-friendly 2.0-liter four-cylinder and electric motor. But everyone else will probably want the high-performance P525, which comes with a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 making 518 ponies.
Regardless of powertrain, all Astronaut Edition vehicles receive white leather interiors with contrasting blue stitching and a smattering of carbon fiber. Obviously, space-themed badging abounds — extending all the way to a bespoke puddle lamp design featuring a silhouette of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. However, the most interesting inclusion has to be the custom cup holder crafted from the spaceship’s front landing skid, which can be swapped.
From Land Rover:
Inside, the Astronaut Edition features a crafted piece of the spaceship’s front landing skid that flew on Virgin Spaceship Unity’s first space flight in December 2018. Part of that skid, which provides the spaceship with a highly effective, lightweight braking mechanism, has been re-purposed to form two discs within the cup holders. One of these references a quote which Richard Branson often makes to his fellow Future Astronauts — ‘See you up there’ -and the other features the details of the space flight. Once a Future Astronaut has flown to space, and becomes an astronaut, this will be swapped out with part of the wooden skid from that customer’s own spaceflight, personally inscribed with the specific details of a life changing experience.
As a ticket to space currently costs $250,000 with Virgin and only exist in limited quantities, very few Land Rover Astronaut Editions are likely to be manufactured. The automaker has not yet specified a price tag for the model, but it’s going to expensive — not that it matters to any of us little people stuck on the ground.
[Images: Jaguar Land Rover]
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