Land Rover is today unveiling a family of gently chiselled full-size 4x4s – think of it as Solihull’s answer to the changing zeitgeist and the next step in Land Rover’s greening of its range. The new Discovery gains a clean new diesel and can now claim a 30mpg average; there’s also a new interior and an exterior facelift – enough to warrant a new Discovery 4 badge.
The big news under the bonnet of Discovery 4 is the arrival of the new Jaguar Land Rover 3.0-litre V6 diesel. It’s an evolution of the current 2.7 TDV6 (which continues for base-end versions) and is equipped with the very latest in common-rail technology and a particulate filter to trim emissions to 244g/km, meet EU5 exhuast limits not due in until 2011, and hit an average of 30.4mpg.
So the new Land Rover Discovery 4 is a tad cleaner… hardly an eco saint though!
True, but the Discovery 4 gobbles around 10% less fuel than before; remember these 4×4 behemoths weigh in at a sturdy 2.7 tonnes or so. That kerbweight hasn’t really been addressed in this facelift – lighter weight Land Rovers won’t arrive until the next generation of all-new models arrive in the next decade, utilising lighter weight construction methods.
Only the two turbodiesels will be sold in the UK, although overseas markets will be offered the new naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8. The 3.0 TDV6 offers an impressive range of talents, with 29% more power (242bhp) and 36% more torque (443lb ft) than the breathless 2.7. That’ll be why it chops a quarter off its 0-60mph time, now achieved in 9.0sec.
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It’s a new Land Rover. Guess it’ll go off road?
You bet. The Terrain Response system is updated with a new soft-sand setting. Perfect if you happen to live near a desert or are a part-time lifeguard. A new rock crawl setting is added (handy for any lizards out there), while the stability systems are retuned to hold the car on hills. But there wasn’t much wrong with the Disco’s off-road mud-slinging antics – and we’re sure the new one will keep the standard high.
Land Rover is claiming better on-road dynamics for Disco 4; new suspension knuckles, bushes and dampers are fitted to reduce the roll centre and a recalibrated steering rack is used. We’re driving the new models in summer 2009, so we’ll soon know for sure.
How will I notice the new Land Rover Discovery 4 on the road?
Quite an easy facelift to spot, this one. The front end adopts a more Range Rover style with a hexagonal-patterned twin-bar grille and LED-trimmed lights front and rear, there are body-coloured door mirrors (at last!), and the interior gains a serious makeover with an all-new cabin sporting a noticeably improved material quality. It’s seriously comfy in here: the Disco still seats three rows of seven adults in genuine comfort – not bad considering it has a smaller footprint than a Jaguar XF or Mercedes E-class.
Being a mid-life facelift, Land Rover has added a smattering of new tech too: there’s a 360deg camera system to avoid kerbs and rocks off-road, a hill holder, a system to guide you to your towing trailer, auto-dipping headlamps and keyless entry. All of this enabled by a new electrical architecture shared on all three new large Land Rovers (improved e-reliability is one claimed advantage).
The new Discovery 4 arrives in showrooms in September 2009. Don’t expect prices to change much from today’s levels. There’s little to criticise in the tech update, but are we alone in missing the architectural purity of the outgoing Disco? Design director Gerry McGovern admits Discovery 3 is too brutal for some markets and he’s had to tone it down. So there has been plenty of work to minimise the visual mass of this car, although the actual dimensions tell another story…
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