The Land Rover Discovery Sport has made its debut in Paris ahead of the 2014 motor show – on a specially built 80m barge in the middle of the River Seine surrounded by seven pairs of giant welly boots. And a supermodel.
Two new Disco Sports put on an on-water off-road display as part of the event, before the barge took the pair on a cruise down the river. The stunt is intended to demonstrate Land Rover’s ‘unique take on outdoor life’, and prove the junior Discovery is a worthy replacement for the Freelander.
What on earth is Land Rover thinking?
Well, you need to make some kind of scene if you want to steal sales off the Germans, and the 2015 Discovery Sport is set to go head-to-head against the Audi Q5 and BMW X3. To Land Rover’s advantage the Disco Sport has a 5+2 seating arrangement – hence the number of pairs of Wellington Boots – which no other premium compact SUV can rival.
Designed to be comfortable off road yet comprehensively capable off it, there will be just a single engine choice at launch: Land Rover’s existing 187bhp 2.2-litre SD4 turbodiesel with four-wheel drive. This can be paired with a six-speed manual or new nine-speed ZF automatic gearbox. Later a new 2.0-litre eD4 turbodiesel from Jaguar Land Rover’s in-coming Ingenium engine family will join the line-up; with two-wheel drive this will emit just 119g/km CO2.
Will the 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport off-road?
As you’d expect from a new Land Rover, the Discovery Sport features Terrain Response electronics. It also has 600mm wading capability (hence the pond in the middle of the barge) – not to mention 25 degree approach, 31 degree departure and 21 degree breakover angles, making it perfect for even the nastiest speed bumps. It’s built from a mixture of aluminium and steel.
Other tech highlights include a pedestrian airbag and a new 8-inch touchscreen infotaiment system. Buyers can specify as many as four 12v sockets and six USB ports, should they plan on ram-raiding Maplins.
2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport: pricing and on sale date
Pricing for the new Land Rover Discovery Sport will be sub £30,000 when the eD4 variant arrives, but the SD4 that goes on sale on first (order from 21 November) starts at £32,395.
First deliveries are scheduled for January 2015, with the eD4 coming later in the year.
The supermodel, in case you're wondering, is Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. She appeared alongside the Discovery Sport on the barge. And promptly fluffed her lines...