Land Rover has always held an emotional appeal for those who value its off-road heritage but want a modern, luxury-filled SUV. The brand’s current lineup offers a range of choices and two sub-brands including Range Rover and Discovery.
Least Expensive: The Land Rover Discovery Sport shares mechanicals with the stylish Range Rover Evoque, but with a starting price of under $40,000.
Sportiest: As Jaguar and Range Rover are owned by the same parent company, Tata Motors, Range Rover borrowed Jaguar’s 550-hp, supercharged V-8 and dropped it into the Range Rover Sport to create a wild SVR model.
Most Expensive: Customers who purchase the Range Rover SVAutobiography will be treated to one of the most luxurious interiors ever fitted to an automobile. With executive seating for four, a 29-speaker 1700-watt Meridian stereo, and capable off-road prowess in an available long-wheelbase form, the SUV can be optioned beyond $200,000.
Land Rover gets rough and ready in Frankfurt with Discovery SVX
Unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA), the Land Rover Discovery SVX is the first Land Rover that will be built at the Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division’s new Technical Centre. The vehicle is specially outfitted and engineered to be an extreme off-road-capable machine that lives up to Land Rover’s luxury status.
The production preview model on display at IAA features unique bumpers, skid plates and orange highlights, such as the Rush Orange-finished metal bezels around the tow pin access points. An anti-glare bonnet finish and integrated, rear-mounted winch are also added exterior touches, as are the exclusive Tectonic Grey paint and SVX logos. Narvik Black side vents with V8 badges, a Narvik Black grille to match, roof rails, and an integrated light pod across the top of the windscreen finish the exterior’s unique look.
Those looks, inspired by Land Rover’s legendary forays in the Camel Trophy and G4 Challenge, are made to give the Discovery SVX a unique identity. Yet they aren’t the only thing setting this new, hand-built version of the Land Rover apart from other Discovery models on the lot.
Land Rover’s engineers got pretty serious about this third in a trifecta of Land Rover machines to be produced in limited numbers at its Special Vehicle Operations center that opened last year. As the only Land Rover model in the trio – the other two being the Range Rover Sport SVR and the Range Rover SVAutobiography – the extreme off-road capability of the Discovery SVX had to be real.
The vehicle is based on the current-generation Discovery, which debuted in 2016 as the fifth-generation of the sport utility. The Discovery SVX uses Land Rover’s 5.0-liter supercharged V8 gasoline engine, which outputs 525 PS (518 horsepower, 386 kW) and 625 Nm (461 lb-ft) of torque. A specially-calibrated eight-speed automatic transmission with an integrated transfer box is also added, including a new pistol-grip-style shift stick in place of the usual rotary knob found in most Discovery models. Active center and rear electronic locking differentials are also incorporated into the Discovery SVX.
The huge engine and robust transmission ride inside the Discovery’s aluminum monocoque architecture that has been raised to improve departure and breakover angles. This raising of the frame and bodywork meant adding more robust long-travel dampers and revised steering knuckles, as well as a revised four-corner air suspension system. The raised structural height meant that more robust tires could be added as well, so the Discovery SVX rides on 275/55 R20 Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tires that clad forged aluminum alloy wheels. The taller tires offer more aggressive tread and better performance in extreme off-road conditions.
The hardware upgrades meant that software had to be upgraded as well. A new Hydraulic Active Roll Control (H-ARC) system has been added, which gives increased wheel articulation and improved body control off the road and reduced body roll when on it.
Calibrations for the shift patterns of the transmission, dynamic systems like hill descent and traction control, stability control, and the variable-ratio electric power-assist steering were all redone for the Discovery SVX and its equipment changes. These calibrations also changed how the Terrain Response 2 system in the SVX’s four-wheel drive controls are managed.
Land Rover is displaying the Discovery SVX at IAA this week and production is set to begin in 2018. Land Rover has not yet set pricing or expected availability for the new vehicle.
The video below provides a look at the vehicle being put through its paces.