Discovering greatness

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Land Rover’s Discovery (LR4) came in for an update recently, and on the menu is a new engine. So does its new motivation enhance its character, or will its size be its downfall?

 

With a racing pedigree spanning more than six decades, Jaguar knows a thing or two about making a good motor. And with the launch of the stunning F-Type, it showed the world a cracking new engine – a 3.0-litre supercharged V6, mated to a brilliant eight-speed auto.


Rather than keep it cooped up in a coupe, sister company Land Rover has shoehorned the V6 into its biggest vehicle, the 2.7-tonne Discovery. Motivating a large car is usually the domain of oil-burners; indeed Land Rover already has a 600Nm V6 diesel in its arsenal. So, while the power from the supercharged six is fine, will only 450Nm be enough for the cut and thrust of daily traffic?


One thing’s for sure: the interior definitely will. With Range Rover-like presentation and room to spare, the Discovery effortlessly combines quality and practicality: no mean feat in this day and age.


It’s one of the few cars in which three baby seats can be placed in a single row. It’s also one of the few cars in which full-size adults can occupy the third row with no complaints.


In fact, you could ignore its supreme capability when tackling the rough and buy it for its space alone, which is what most people do. But that would be to miss out on what makes Land Rovers the machines they are – off-road specialists.


The Discovery uses Terrain Response, a series of programmes which alter suspension, gearbox, and traction settings to maximise grip in any situation. If the Disco can’t get through it, you’ve chosen the wrong path. But in the rough is where the Jag engine comes into its own. Being supercharged, throttle response is instant. There’s no lag when wheels are braked, meaning the engine can torque up against the traction control, reducing grip loss. On road, the story is just as good.


Making 340hp, it’ll run from 0 to 100kph in 8.1 seconds. With impetus behind it, the supercharged Discovery is ridiculously smooth, quiet, and responsive.


It’s big, brash, and doesn’t handle like an F1 car. But its perfect ride, acres of space, and supreme comfort make this the vehicle to go for when you’re transporting the troops across all terrain.

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