New Discovery SVX to become the brand's ultimate off-roader
Discovery endowed with long history of adventure
The mud and muck left all over this new Land Rover Discovery SVX prototype when posing for its photo shoot says it all. This is no lily white (or Fuji/Yulong white) soft-roader, but a bold, brash 4x4 cut from the same gritty emery cloth as the legendary Defender.
Most of today’s sport utilities can’t say the same. Even after the most purposefully utile off-roaders like the Land Rover Series I staked their claim on the wild, when much more refined alternatives ushered in the SUV craze that replaced wagons and minivans as family favourites, with real truck-based 4x4 capability, few could really slog it out in the mud alongside anything from Land Rover. How much less so for today’s car-based SUVs, which are oftentimes little more than gussied up wagons.
The Discovery was introduced back in the late ‘80s when many of those famous nameplates were changing the face of the auto market. It quickly rose to prominence in the luxury sector, and has never looked back. For a bit of history, the Discovery Series I was replaced by the slightly roomier and more refined 1998-2005 Discovery II, while the much improved 2003-2009 Series III was renamed LR3 in North America when introduced for the 2005 model year, before the 2010-2016 LR4 brought the brand’s most family friendly model fully into the premium class both stylistically and luxuriantly.
New updates make the 2018 Discovery even better
The new 2017 Discovery, which remains mostly unchanged as it moves into the 2018 model year, other than some minor yet important updates including standard autonomous emergency braking, standard InControl Touch Pro Navigation now benefiting from a larger 10-inch touchscreen, the turbo-diesel powertrain now available throughout the entire model lineup, and a revised second-gen head-up display system that can now be had on HSE and HSE Luxury trims, is a completely reimagined sport utility that eschews nearly everything from its LR4, LR3 and Discovery past.
Most obviously its blocky corners have been wholly smoothed over, but more so that metalwork is now formed from aluminum instead of steel, while an even more significant change sees the old Integrated Body Frame (IBF) platform architecture left behind for a monocoque body shell. The suspension is aluminum as well, the result of these lightweight materials being a 480-kilogram reduction in curb weight from the outgoing model, for much improved driving dynamics and efficiency.
The stiffer, lighter structure aids the Discovery’s off-road capability, but just the same Land Rover wants to make certain that current LR4 owners and newcomers alike appreciate just how capable it is off the beaten path. What better way to prove this point than to showcase a special off-road optimized version of the new SUV, that every diehard Land Rover 4x4 fan will want to call their own.
Discovery SVX is the 4x4 that purists want
Meet the new Discovery SVX, just revealed at the Frankfurt motor show. It’s a “production preview” of what the British SUV brand is calling “the ultimate all-terrain Land Rover Discovery.” Just one look should have even the most jaded 4x4 purists wanting a turn at the wheel, plus news that behind its matte grey, black, silver and orange coloured front fascia is the brand's 518 horsepower supercharged 5.0-litre V8.
“The SVX product line gives us a fantastic opportunity to deliver the ultimate Land Rover all-terrain capability in a dynamic and distinctive manner, creating a rugged and versatile SUV that the whole family will love: effortless, unstoppable and connected, whatever the terrain,” said Mark Stanton, Jaguar Land Rover SVO Director. “Discovery SVX is designed to reward off-road driving enthusiasts with the next level of all-terrain capability, without compromising comfort and practicality.”
The list of kit that makes it worthy of the brand’s “most extreme Land Rover yet” claim is extensive, including a raised monocoque and four-corner air suspension with long-travel dampers and modified knuckles for better approach, departure, and breakover angles, as well as heightened ground clearance for overcoming obstacles, while all of the above gets assisted further via bigger 20-inch forged aluminum alloys wrapped in meatier 815-mm diameter 275/55 Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain rubber. Land Rover points out that the tires’ higher sidewalls “reduce contact pressure and improve performance on soft surfaces,” which when “combined with a more aggressive tread pattern… improves grip in muddy conditions.”
Hydraulic Active Roll Control improve on- and off-road prowess
Aiding both off-road performance and on-pavement stability is new Hydraulic Active Roll Control (H-ARC). This SVX-exclusive technology allows for increased wheel articulation when tackling aggressively uneven trail surfaces, plus reduced body-roll during fast-paced cornering.
An additional Land Rover first is the Discovery SVX’s specially tuned Terrain Response 2 four-wheel drive system, which, along with manually or automatically modulating throttle, brake, and torque distribution from a dial atop the centre console, includes active centre and electronic rear locking differentials for optimizing traction in all weather conditions and all types of surfaces.
Likewise, the model’s eight-speed automatic gearbox and twin-speed transfer case have been tweaked with “unique software calibrations,” says Land Rover, while variable ratio electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) joins the Discovery’s usual assortment of advanced driver assist systems, including Hill Descent Control, Electronic Traction Control (ETC), Adaptive Dynamics, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), and All-Terrain Progress Control (ATPC).
Providing “optimum control of gear selection in off-road manoeuvres,” the current production Discovery’s Drive Select rotating gear selector has been replaced by a leather-wrapped and metal adorned Pistol Shifter, featuring a tiny cross-stitched orange “X” applied to the front.
Ultimate off-roader is also ultimate style statement
As for outward styling, this SVX production preview certainly looks the part. The front and rear bumpers are unique, featuring protective skid plates and exposed Rush Orange-painted recovery eyes that Land Rover says can manage more than 6,000 tonnes. On that note, an electric winch is mounted within the rear bumper, its orange hook hanging from the left rear recovery eye in the photos.
Land Rover calls the matte-finish exterior paint Tectonic Grey, which is as much of a dark silver as a light grey. While attractive, this surface treatment also provides an anti-glare finish for the hood, helpful for reducing strain in the eyes when trying to keep a lookout for obstacles ahead. Additional unique details include a Narvik Black Dynamic grille, Narvik Black side vents with V8 badging, silver roof rails, and a roof-mounted light bar up front featuring two rows of LED driving lights for help in low-visibility situations.
Inside, the SVX gets a combination of Lunar and Light Oyster greys with more Rush Orange accents, the little “X” on the shift lever complemented by more X logos on the SVX-branded seats.
“SVO designers are embedded within the Land Rover team and have worked with our engineers to unleash their own passion for adventure to create another truly desirable and versatile vehicle in the Land Rover line-up,” said John Edwards, Special Vehicle Operations Managing Director.
Orange is part of the Land Rover DNA
Longtime Discovery fans will likely find the SVX’ orange highlights familiar, the colour previously used as the livery for G4 Challenge events, plus the race replica production models that soon followed. The Camel Trophy branded Discovery and Range Rover models wore more yellowish-orange paintwork, the two orange hues long part of the brand’s DNA.
“The combination of design excellence and engineering integrity inherent in every Land Rover is the foundation of everything we do,” said Gerry McGovern, Land Rover Chief Design Officer. “The Discovery SVX reinforces the Land Rover unrivalled reputation for building vehicles with true all-terrain capability for customers who desire the ultimate in off-road performance.”
If you’re wondering where the SVX nomenclature hails from, JLR’s aforementioned SVO (Special Vehicle Operations) division is fully responsible. It also produces the highly acclaimed Range Rover Sport SVR and new Range Rover SVAutobiography (SVA), the former representing the ultimate in SUV performance, the latter being the ultimate in SUV luxury. SVX, of course, is for those wanting the ultimate in off-road capability.
Discovery SVX to arrive next year
According to Land Rover, something very similar to this exciting new prototype SUV is on the way next year, with the British brand confirming the “Discovery SVX will be the first Land Rover assembled by hand at the SVO Technical Centre when production begins in 2018.”
If you like what you see, contact Land Rover Vancouver by phone at (604) 738-5577 or drop by the showroom at 1730 Burrard St, Vancouver.
Also, make sure to check out the two beautifully produced videos below, the shorter one dubbed “The Goat” just for fun, and the longer one named “The Journey” showing the new Discovery SVX in its element:
“The Goat” video:
“The Journey” video:
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press
Photo credits: Land Rover
Copyright: Canadian Auto Press Inc.
Date Posted: December 16, 2017