Land Rover’s all-new Discovery has finally broken cover, with a celebrity-studded and record-breaking reveal event.
After drip-feeding teaser images the 4x4 manufacturer finally revealed the fifth generation of its family-orientated large SUV with a spectacular show centred on the world’s largest Lego structure.
The 13-metre tall model of London Bridge formed the centrepiece of an event that saw adventurer Bear Grylls abseil down the structure to a waiting Discovery and sailing superstar Sir Ben Ainslie drive the new model through 900mm-deep water under the bridge while towing a Lego model of his Land Rover BAR America’s Cup boat.
The fifth generation Discovery is an all-new vehicle which shares its aluminium monocoque with the current Range Rover. The lighter weight construction technique means the new model weighs 480kg less than the outgoing model with its steel ladder chassis.
It also shares looks with the rest of the Land Rover/Range Rover family, dropping the old big and boxy looks in favour of the more sculpted looks of the Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque.
It does, however, retain the characteristic stepped roofline at the back, allowing for better space for the other carry-over from previous generations - the third row of full-size seats.
Land Rover is keen to point out that not only is the Discovery a seven-seater but that every seat is capable of accommodating a fully grown adult in comfort.
It’s also keen to highlight one of the Discovery’s new party tricks – the ability to reconfigure the seating layout via controls in the boot, the car’s front touchscreen or even a mobile phone app.
Technology features heavily in the new Discovery with the InControl Touch Pro offering a wifi hotspot, Android and iOS connectivity and TV options alongside the usual DAB, Bluetooth and navigation offerings. There are also rear seat entertainment packs along with a host of driver assistance technologies such as lane keeping, park assist, adaptive cruise control and autonomous emergency braking.
Owners can also have an Activity Key – a waterproof wristband allowing them to lock the ordinary key in the vehicle while engaging in sporting pursuit.
Of course, being a Land Rover, the Discovery has been designed to offer proper off-road capabilities. Wading depth and ground clearance are up on the previous generation and the new model benefits from Land Rover’s Terrain Response 2 system. Mated to the Discovery’s permanent four-wheel drive this constantly monitors the terrain and automatically selects the most appropriate drive setting.
The Discovery also features air suspension, all- terrain progress control, high and low-speed transmission, wade sensing, hill descent, gradient release, traction and roll stability control to ensure it meets Land Rover’s exacting capability standards.
The new model is being offered with a choice of three powertrains.
The entry-level 2.0-litre diesel is an uprated version of Jaguar Land Rover’s Ingenium unit, producing 238bhp and 369lb/ft. Land Rover say that despite offering similar performance to the old 3.0-litre unit (0-60mph in 8.3 seconds) it will return 43.5mpg.
Above that sits a revised version of the 3.0-litre V6 diesel which puts out 254bhp and 443lb/ft and offers improved economy and emissions – 39.2mph and 189g/km – over the old version.
A 335bhp V6 petrol is the final option. The supercharged 3.0-litre unit shifting the car to 60mph in 7.1 seconds while returning 26mpg and emissions of 254g/km.
Each engine comes matched to an eight-speed automatic gearbox with manual override.
Four trim levels will be available when the car goes on sale early next year. Basic S will start at £43,495 and come with cruise control, air suspension, powered tailgate, autonomous braking and the basic InControl Touch system.
Moving up through SE, HSE and HSE Luxury piles on the luxuries such as leather upholstery, enhanced infotainment, LED headlights, larger wheels, opening panoramic sunroof, four-zone climate control and hands-free tailgate operation. The range tops out at £65,695, although a limited-run First Edition model offers even more kit for £68,295.
Revealing the car, Jaguar Land Rover UK managing director, Jeremy Hicks said: “The new vehicle takes absolutely everything that is great about Discovery from its design, its versatility, its go anywhere, do anything credentials and builds on them to make it better in every way.”