Larger and much lighter where it counts, here’s the best glimpse yet of next-year’s Land Rover Discovery 5.
LOWER, longer, lighter, and way less boxy than before, the next Land Rover Discovery is set for a world premiere in Paris at the end of September.
Sprung wearing less camo than ever before, the much-anticipated replacement for the 13-year old current-generation model (dubbed “Discovery 4” but really just a facelift of 2003’s Mk3 version) won’t hit Australian dealerships before the middle of next year at the earliest, as pent-up demand for this series is reportedly very high around the world.
It is clear from these pictures that the British 4x4 icon will take the fight right up to the Audi Q7, Volvo XC90, and Mercedes-Benz GLS – as well as the upcoming BMW X7 – in terms of three-row seating versatility and interior space, making this the largest Land Rover to date. Blimey!
Whether punters will warm to the Solihull-built Discovery’s newfound sleekness is another matter. Gone are the geometric upright lines for a very Discovery Sport-esque silhouette, featuring a similar jutting nose cone, hockey-stick C-pillar, and blacked-out wrapround-style rear window treatment. Much of the look dates back to the Discovery Vision Concept unveiled at the New York International Auto Show more than two years ago.
Note, though, that the trademark stepped-roof shape carries through to allow for stadium second- and third-row seating. And speaking of interiors, running with premium brands such as Audi and BMW has dictated a massive step-up in cabin design and quality, meaning that the Discovery 5 is believed to be the most luxuriously equipped – as well as the most technologically advanced – vehicle to ever wear that nameplate.
To help achieve the desired levels of refinement, the current model’s body-on-frame chassis has been binned for a development of the Range Rover’s “Premium Lightweight Architecture”. Employing bonded and riveted aluminium monocoque body panels, this will lop off hundreds of kilograms compared with today’s model (we’re hearing up to 400kg), ushering in much greater strength and rigidity. Besides being quieter, this should translate to huge improvements in steering, handling, roadholding, and ride characteristics.
That said, being a Land Rover, class-leading off-road capability is a given. A development of the company’s lauded Terrain Response system, potentially featuring a remote off-road driving mode, will be made available so the Discovery 5’s reputation as a formidable mud-plugger isn’t, ahem, muddied.
What will lurk underneath that signature clamshell bonnet is up to conjecture, though modified versions of the long-serving 3.0-litre turbo-diesel and supercharged petrol V6s – all tied to an eight-speed automatic transmission – is the safest bet. We also believe it will utilise the box-fresh Jaguar/Land Rover Ingenium four-cylinder engine family, perhaps with a mild hybrid system to boost performance and economy.
Pricing won’t wander too far away from today’s Discovery 4, so expect the base 3.0 V6 diesels to kick off from about $70,000, topping out at $100,000 for the flagship variants.
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