The all-new 2017 Land Rover Discovery has been unveiled in Paris, bringing with it new aluminium-intensive architecture, new engines, and a raft of new technology.
With an emphasis on modern families, the Discovery retains its stadium-style three-row seating with room for seven adults. The Discovery design DNA has been drastically rethought, though details like the stepped roof and asymmetrical tailgate (now a one-piece unit) remain.
Australian buyers will be able to purchase the new Discovery from July 2017, with the range opening from $81,590 - with seven seats standard.
The use of an aluminium monocoque chassis beneath the Discovery has resulted in the new model being some 480kg lighter than the outgoing version, allowing a the introduction of a four-cylinder engine for the first time since the first generation car.
That engine, a 2.0 litre turbo diesel from Jaguar Land Rover’s (JLR) Ingenium family produces 132kW and 430Nm of torque, with fuel consumption as low as 6.3 l/100km and capable of accelerating the Discovery Td4 from 0-100 km/h in 10.5 seconds.
A more powerful twin-turbo Sd4 variant, featuring JLR’s first use of sequential turbocharging, ups outputs to 177kW and 500Nm with fuel consumption of 6.5 l/100km and a 0-100 km/h sprint of 8.3 seconds - comparable to the previous model SDV6.
The most powerful Discovery engine for the Australian market will be the 3.0 litre Td6 V6 turbo diesel, rated at 190kW with a single turbocharger. Fuel consumption for the Td6 is rated at 7.2 l/100km and acceleration at 8.1 seconds from 0-100 km/h
Overseas buyers will also be offered a supercharged V6 petrol variant, which won’t be available in Australia.
Included in the technology suite for the new Discovery is seven USB charging points (or up to nine on vehicles with rear seat entertainment). While the Activity Key - a wearable entry device that you can take swimming while leaving the actual car key, deactivated, inside the vehicle - has been borrowed from the Jaguar F-Pace.
To enhance interior flexibility, Land Rover is introducing Intelligent Seat Fold - a system that allows the second and third row seats to be folded from buttons in the cargo area and on the C-pillars, via the infotainment touchscreen or via a smartphone app - allowing the interior to be configured remotely in preparation for the loading of large or bulky items.
Intelligent Seat Fold also monitors the load balance using a range of embedded weight sensors and obstruction sensors toensure nothing in the car can get crushed, or tipped off - and the system will even move a front seat out of the way and put it back again once a seat behind it is folded.
For the first time, heated seats are available in all three rows, a segment first, as well as heated and cooled first and second row seats, a massaging function for front row occupants, and second row seats that can slide up to 160mm.
Land Rover’s InControl Touch Pro infotainment system features a 10-inch touchscreen, with smartphone compatibility for Apple and Android devices, allows control of the Intelligent Seat Fold functions, connected services, off-roading apps and music playback thanks to a 14-speaker Meridian audio system.
The system also controls the semi-automated Advanced Tow Assist system, which first debuted on the 2017 Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, and can help guide a reversing trailer using the 360 degree camera system and Terrain Response controller.
Off road devotees will still be able to get away from it all, with 283mm of ground clearance and 500mm of wheel articulation, thanks to adjustable air-suspension which can ease loading access by lowering up to 60mm, or can be raised by 75mm for off-road excursions.
Two all-wheel-drive systems will be offered, either a full-time four-wheel-drive system utilising a Torsen centre differential and single-speed transfer box with a 42/58 static torque split, variable between 62/38 and 22/78 as conditions require.
For more rugged conditions, a two-speed transfer case is available, with a standing 50/50 torque split, and able to be shifted between low and high ranges on the move at speeds of up to 60 km/h.
The Discovery also boasts a segment-leading 900mm wading depth, an approach angle of up to 34 degrees, a breakover angle of 27.5 degrees and departure angle of 30 degrees, with the air suspension set to its highest Off Road mode.
Styling has been revolutionised, with the previous Discovery’s boxy form replaced by a more rounded shape which allows for aerodynamic improvements including a drag coefficient of 0.33.
Land Rover has also replaced the previous split tailgate with an electrically operated one-piece tailgate, paired with a fold-down panel at the leading edge of the boot floor, which can left upright as a load barrier or lowered for use as bench seat and is able to hold up to 300kg.
Though Land Rover has announced that the new range will start from $81,590 when it arrives in July next year, full details of Australian pricing and specifications will be announced closer to launch.
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