LAND ROVER’S unrelenting new-model charge will continue this year with the long-awaited replacement for the Discovery 4.
Dubbed Discovery 5 predictably enough, the new-from-the-ground-up seven-seater SUV is set for a splashy unveiling in London in the middle of this year, before manufacturing and exports commence for the 2017 model year.
Don’t expect to see it in Australia before the second half of 2017 at the earliest.
Aimed straight at the BMW X5, Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90 heartland, the three-row 4WD breaks away from its 2003-vintage predecessor by being visibly lower and longer, boasting a sleeker silhouette that at long last consigns the boxiness to history.
Land Rover previewed the new look nearly two years ago at the 2014 New York International Auto Show with the Discovery Vision Concept. These winter spy pix hint at the latter’s shovel nose, gently rising window line, and hockey-stick C-pillar treatments.
Despite its newfound sense of style, the Discovery 5 will follow in the footsteps of its forefathers by striving for class-leading off-road capability.
To that end, the latest version of the company’s pioneering Terrain Response system will surface, offering laser-scanning tech on some models that can read the road ahead to better prepare the vehicle.
That said, a massive weight drop (said to be in the region of 400kg) is expected from the abolition of the old ladder-frame chassis in favour of Premium Lightweight Architecture, featuring bonded and riveted aluminium monocoque body panels as per the latest Range Rover Sport. That ought to make for a far better driving machine than before.
Additionally, less mass means a strong likelihood of Land Rover/Jaguar’s feted new Ingenium 2.0-litre four-cylinder units for some markets, as well as the familiar range of 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel and supercharged petrol engines that will most probably power Australia-bound vehicles. All are expected to employ an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Along with a sizeable step-up in cabin design, connectivity, and quality, the interior should also be far more space efficient than the current version, with enough room for actual adults in the third row.
Pricing, of course, is still a long way from being confirmed, but expect the new Discovery 5 to duplicate the existing seven-year old Discovery 4, which in 3.0D turbo-diesel V6-only guise, currently ranges from $70,000 to $100,000 (plus on-road costs).
The 2017 Discovery 5 is the second of what is believed to be a trilogy of Discovery prefixed Land Rovers, following the super-successful launch of the L550 Discovery Sport in 2014.
A smaller, C-segment sized replacement for the old Freelander is thought to be in the works to take on the popular Audi Q3, though when that will be released is still anybody’s guess.
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