Home » The Ineos Quartermaster Is The Perfect Work Truck For People Who Can Afford To Pretend To Work

The Ineos Quartermaster Is The Perfect Work Truck For People Who Can Afford To Pretend To Work

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One thing we should remember about the unique new offroaders made by industrial giant Ineos is that these are Sir Jim’s cars. By that I mean the team behind them refers to their boss, Jim Ratcliffe, as Sir Jim. The second Ineos Automotive model, the Quartermaster, is the longer-wheelbase BMW-engined pickup truck I never expected to see. Yet here we are, enjoying the results of a lot of work financed by a 4×4-loving billionaire in Europe.

I’ve indeed been fascinated by the progress of Ineos Automotive since day one. Depending on who you ask, Sir Jim Ratcliffe happens to be the wealthiest or perhaps only the second richest person in the United Kingdom, due to his Ineos Group empire, which includes 39 businesses with 183 sites and 25,000 employees in 29 countries, resulting in a combined annual revenue of something like $19 billion in 2023.

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No wonder Sir Jim could invest in an automotive startup, reminding the general public that launching a new car brand from zero remains a billionaires’ game.

What Is The Quartermaster?

The Quartermaster is basically the “truck” version of the one existing Ineos platform, but the difference is bigger than slapping a bed on the existing truck. This has a 12-inch longer wheelbase than the Grenadier Station Wagon David also got to drive, translating to a 127-inch wheelbase and an overall length of 214 inches. That’s long enough so the bed could easily accommodate a euro pallet alongside several other bulky items. It’s also close to being 84.5 inches wide, including the mirrors, and 79.5 inches tall, standing on a track width of 64.76 inches.

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I got to drive the new overlanding pickup truck on nice mountain roads and rocky forest trails by grabbing the sudden opportunity to join the Italian media group in Tuscany. Before this pickup first drive event, I’d only driven the Station Wagon briefly at a mild off-road track, where one of the journalists tricked by the Grenadier’s unusually slow recirculating ball steering mechanism drove the truck slightly into a tree. Thank the design team for the modular bumpers, which are cheaper to fix after a mishap.

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Some say the Ineos Grenadier looks like the latest Land Rover Defender could have, in case JLR went down the conservative route with the trusty latter frame and solid beam axles instead of the unibody construction, air suspension, and retro shape we got. Ineos says the reassuring form of the Grenadier is the result of outside-the-box thinking, not having to hold back due to common platform or brand image concerns, all thanks to exterior designer Toby Ecuyer, who came to Ineos from the world of luxury yachts.

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I would argue that the real origin of this body shape is the taste of Sir Jim, who owns the very first Land Rover ever made, known as JUE, and wanted to purchase the old Defender production line from JLR before hitting a wall and realizing that designing a brand new utility truck with the help of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class producers at Magna in Austria is a much more reasonable business proposition, especially given his self-funded budget.

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The British motoring press seemed especially harsh towards the Ineos Grenadier project. However, I believe that has to do with the early prototypes not being quite up to the job, plus the questionable steering setup alongside Jim Ratcliffe’s political stance and promised UK production that was quickly moved to France (and thus the European Union) instead. The Ineos car factory is not just any plant, but the former Smartville complex of Daimler in Hambach, where Mercedes-Benz made a €500 million investment to build bigger vehicles before Ineos added another €150 million as part of their complete takeover of the freshly upgraded plant. Somebody made a cracking deal.

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I was told that in Hambach, 1,300 employees produce around 120-140 trucks daily in two shifts. Often classified as commercial vehicles for tax reasons, Ineos will also be happy to sell the Chassis Cab variant soon. That is essentially the Quartermaster pickup truck without the factory bed. We could already sample the possibilities granted by the Chassis Cab option since Ineos bought safari vehicle specialist Kavango Engineering in Botswana. Using this platform, the Grenadier can easily be a specialist vehicle, not unlike the Land Cruiser J70, old Land Rover Defenders, military-spec Mercedes-Benz G-Classes, and certain heavy-duty pickup trucks all around the globe.

How Is It Different From The Grenadier?

At their core, the Station Wagon and the Quartermaster are the same on different wheelbases and with two body styles. While the powertrains come from BMW and ZF, with both six-cylinder engines and the 8-speed automatic gearbox tuned to suit this application, the Ineos-designed 2.5-to-1 ratio two-speed transfer case is a Tremec product. The solid-beam axles are by Carraro, the Italian agricultural machinery specialist. Each axle weighs some 330 pounds and uses kingpins instead of ball joints, with Ineos claiming you don’t need to worry about banging them into anything. Bosch supplies the steering system and other major mechanical and electrical parts. The progressive rate coil springs come from German motorsport legend Eibach, while the seats (that can be fabric or leather) are proper Recaros. In many ways, the Grenadier is like a cherry-picked Lego set. Magna produced the prototypes, Ineos developed the final product, and Sir Jim’s crew ensured that your options remained flexible regardless of which basic trim level you went with.

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That’s why my Quartermaster test car could be the lifestyle-oriented (meaning 18-inch alloy wheels, leather seats, and no front- and rear differential locks) Fieldmaster version still optioned with the Rough Pack, which brought BFGoodrich T/A KO2 tires, the differential locks plus heavy-duty flooring to this Queen’s Red Metallic pickup. As you can probably tell from the pictures, the truck was also equipped with the removable Safari windows and the factory front winch option, supplied by the UK’s Red Winches. The Grenadiers’ interior is hoseable, thanks to the rubber-sealed instrument panel and the drain holes in the flooring. This spec is also how one creates a tough cookie with the leather Recaros.

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Have I talked enough about the components already? It’s heavy metal where it counts for sure, truly built to last by the feel of it. Ineos uses a combination of fully galvanized steel and aluminum, with a ladder frame that’s powder coated and cavity waxed. This exposed frame is also available in three colors, including the fan-favorite red.

What It’s Like To Drive

As far as the initial driving impressions go, the Ineos Grenadier Quartermaster is a long boy with a pronounced off-road focus, clearly emphasized on normal roads by the setup of the hydraulic recirculating ball steering box. This has managed to surprise even the most experienced members of the esteemed Italian motoring press, as I’ve never seen so many unexpected 3-point turns taken on a press launch.

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In case you’re wondering, the Jeep Wrangler’s similarly old-school steering system feels tighter at road speeds. The Ineos Grenadier Station and Utility Wagons have 3.85 turns between locks for a curb-to-curb turning circle of 44.29 inches. Meanwhile, the longer wheelbase Quartermaster pickup needs a 47.57-inch radius. To compare, the Jeep Gladiator’s turning circle is 44.7 inches.

 

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BMW’s much-loved B58 inline-six gasoline turbo is rated at 286 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque, yet that won’t make such a large pickup a performance proposition. The Grenadier Quartermaster weighs 5,875 pounds before options, so with the eight-speed torque converter, acceleration from zero to 62 mph is claimed at 8.8 seconds. I wouldn’t call it lazy, but the Quartermaster feels slower than a few other trucks at this price range, not to mention that it consumed more fuel in the process than the 335-horsepower Ford Bronco Badlands I recently had for an off-roading weekend. Burning gas, the Quartermaster is rated at 18.9 mpg. This can be improved wherever the diesel engine is available.

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Payload with the lighter gasoline engine is at 1,840 pounds, and with its utility belt integrated into the doors and tailgate willing to take on 496 pounds, the Ineos pickup truck will haul your load pretty much wherever you want to take it. These trucks have a wading depth of 31.5 inches, sporting a 35.5-degree approach angle, 22.6-degree departure angle, and 26.2-degree breakover angle. Compared to how a modern Defender behaves in the rough, Ineos says the difference is that you’ll feel everything you do in an Ineos, with that mechanical feedback translating to more control, improved reliability, and a more satisfying driving experience overall.

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During the long development of these trucks, Ineos covered 1.1 million test miles around the globe, taking the Station wagon and the Quartermaster through several desert adventures. The unique, almost helicopter-like interior with the pre-wired axillary switchboard and the off-road functions that can only be activated by double-tapping the weather-sealed buttons all point toward a gentle suggestion to leave the tarmac whenever possible.

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Taking the longer route, doing it the harder way to see the world from a new perspective. Even lacking complicated portal axles, the recirculating ball steering system allows for better wheel articulation. Often without activating its differential locks, the Quartermaster felt both unstoppable and oversized through the tight Toscanian forest trails chosen by Ineos Automotive.

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Purpose-driven, well-equipped, unique, and tough as nails. The Quartermaster has an easy-to-like character with plenty of factory and third-party accessories to choose from. That’s half the ticket already in the overlanding scene, and there’s no denying that a lot of thought went into these.

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Even with the excellent Recaro seats, I wouldn’t necessarily drive a Grenadier thousands of miles on highways. There are better 4x4s for that job. However, the long-wheelbase Quartermaster’s good ride and comfort features combined with its purpose-driven simplicity make for an intriguing companion in a truck you can trust to take you where few vehicles could survive.

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I certainly don’t need a huge pickup where I live, but given the means, I would grab a Grenadier Station Wagon for its Safari windows alone. If you need to haul more, just try out the wildest truck Europe could come up with in decades, optionally ordering your Grenadier Quartermaster in Trailmaster form with the Eldoret Blue body over the Halo Red contrast ladder frame chassis. In my book, such a British-designed, French-made, German-powered, and Italian-bottomed pickup truck is bonkers enough from the factory, and ready to get muddier than the most seasoned of Series Land Rovers. I believe that must have been the brief by Sir Jim.

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Austin Vail
Austin Vail
1 month ago

To everyone in the comments crapping on this for being a useless lifestyle status symbol for bougie influencers pretending to be farmers: It is not intended to be.

This is supposed to be a direct replacement for the old Land Rover Defender, it’s meant to not just look the part but perform accordingly, and for a not ridiculous price. Which it does… in Europe. In fact, Grenadiers are already taking over jobs previously occupied by aging Land Rovers and are proving to be good at it. At least in their homeland they will be used as hardworking utilitarian vehicles.

In America however, both flavors of Ineos get slapped with the 25% import tariff and are therefore more expensive, giving them slightly less appeal as a bare-bones work vehicle and slightly more appeal as a cool-looking status symbol for people who want to look rugged and outdoorsy without having to earn that image by getting dirty.

And honestly? So what if that’s what they’re used for. They’ll trickle down to the used market like anything else, and when they do, they will be affordable enough to actually be used as work vehicles. BMW engine aside (I’m willing to give it a chance at long-term reliability since I hear good things about it, but I’m still skeptical because BMW) there’s nothing on it that strikes me as fragile. It’s solidly constructed and will last a long time. Maybe you’ll have to replace some bearings and rebuild the steering if it loosens up with age, but overall a used one should be plenty, well, usable.

I’m excited to see more of them. I hope they sell really, really well. It’s filling the niche of Defender ownership that many here were otherwise denied. I hope they depreciate to the level where I will be able to afford one someday, because I like that it has buttons and switches and lots of them.

They just look fun, useful, and charming.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
1 month ago
Reply to  Austin Vail

Excellent take.

I prefer it when status symbols have substance; this is why I cannot hate the G-wagen no matter how many of them there are in the East Hampton Citarella parking lot.

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