Set to replace the LR4 in North America, the all-new, fifth-generation Land Rover Discovery was unveiled last night on the eve of the 2016 Paris Auto Show. And quite spectacularly so: It made its entrance both on and under a world record-setting LEGO bridge just as survivalist extraordinaire Bear Grylls dropped onto the scene from a helicopter!
Styling is based on the forward-thinking Discovery Vision Concept, introduced at the 2014 New York Auto Show, yet incorporates trademark features including the stepped roofline that accommodates the Discovery’s stadium seating configuration improving headroom for third-row passengers.
Despite measuring less than five metres in length, the new Land Rover Discovery is able to sit seven full-size adults comfortably. It also offers world-first Intelligent Seat Fold technology, allowing customers to reconfigure the second- and third-row seats with minimal effort using controls at the rear, the central touchscreen, and even remotely via a smartphone app. Folding all the rear seats results in a 2,500L cargo capacity.
The interior design continues the revolution started by the smaller Discovery Sport, where customers can specify a range of premium materials including luxurious Windsor leather upholstery and natural oak veneer.
As for performance, ground clearance is rated at 283 mm (up 43 mm), while a maximum wading depth of 900 mm (an increase of 200 mm) puts the new Discovery in a class of its own. Land Rover’s multi-mode Terrain Response 2 system makes off-road driving easier, too. Towing capacity amounts to 3,720 kg, while a smooth and responsive 8-speed ZF automatic gearbox teams up with a selection of efficient 4- and 6-cylinder engines.
“New Discovery redefines the large SUV,” said Gerry McGovern, Chief Design Officer at Land Rover. “Land Rover’s design and engineering teams have revolutionized the Discovery DNA to create a highly desirable, extremely versatile, and hugely capable premium SUV. We truly believe the result is a radical departure in design that will introduce the Discovery Family to a new, wider customer base.”
The new Land Rover Discovery will go on sale next spring. A limited-run First Edition model (2,400 examples globally) will be sold with exclusive features including unique etched map detailing on the aluminium trim for the doors and facia, unique badges, bold colour choices, and a comprehensive list of standard equipment.