This is the next Land Rover Discovery in all its glory. Officially named the Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept, this car will be shown for the first time at the New York motor show as a prelude to the new Land Rover family.
What’s so important about it?
This concept heralds a new beginning for Land Rovers, which have played second fiddle to the Range Rover, especially the hot-selling Evoque. Now, this car, the company says, previews what will become a family of Land Rovers, not just the new Discovery. ‘We announced at the Geneva motor show in March that the Discovery family is set to evolve,’ says Jaguar-Land Rover Group Marketing Director, Phil Popham. ‘It is apt that in the 25th anniversary year of the original Discovery that we preview how this evolution will take us forward into a daring new era. The Discovery Vision Concept gives us the first stunning glimpse into this hugely exciting future.’ The three family pillars for the brand will be Range Rover, Discovery the next Defender, due in 2016.
Tell me about the concept
This concept doesn’t preview the new seven-seat Discovery: it’s a combination of the seven-seat and the smaller five-seat version, according to Land Rover Design Director, Gerry McGovern. While it’s an inch longer than the current Discovery, which it will directly replace, the concept shows off the fresh design language: the profiled corners, which help aero, and the wraparound lights at either end, which reduce the impression of bulk. ‘In the past, our cars looked the way they did because of what they did,’ says McGovern. ‘But design has become central to our brand, and the benefits can be seen in our success.’
It looks a bit like a Discovery met a Range Rover
That’s deliberate: McGovern says that current Disco owners have asked for a bit more Range Rover in terms of styling, but there are still key Land Rover elements: the stepped roofline, the Alpine windows in the cant-rail, as well as the body-coloured C-pillar that contrasts the black pillars. There’s also the asymmetrical tailgate – which is actually one piece, now, with a deployable step and pop-out ‘social seating’ – so you know it’s a Land Rover, not a Rangie. We’re supposed to ‘see these as Land Rover cues, not Range Rover cues,’ according to McGovern.
What about practicality?
The third row seats in the concept are actually marginally bigger than those in the second row, but the cleverest part is that they can be folded or dropped into the floor with a swipe of the dash-mounted touchscreen. There’s also loads of high-tech gadgetry that won’t make it into production soon: things such as the Remote Control Drive, which lets you drive the Disco via your iPhone or using a detachable controller. Then there's the ‘Smart Glass’, which can establish where you are by scanning your eye movements over a unique landmark, for instance, and apply that to the nav to pinpoint your location.
What about real-world stuff?
Forget the Transparent bonnet that’s designed to super-impose the road below through the engine bay, helping you negotiate the rough stuff. Instead, you can bet on the latest Terrain Response system, which now uses lasers to scan the road ahead and set-up the Land Rover accordingly.
When can we see it?
The first version of the new Discovery will be on sale this summer – and it will be the five-seat version that replaces the Freelander. The Discovery Vision Concept will be on show at both the New York and Beijing motor show this week.
>> Is the Discovery Vision Concept worthy of the Land Rover badge, or is it too much of a Range Rover? Sound off in the comments section below.