Land Rover Previewed the Next-Generation 2017 Model at Paris Motor Show
With the 2017 Land Rover Discovery, of which we have a sneak preview here ahead of the Paris Auto Show where it will be fully revealed, the company has taken its most aggressive step to rationalize the lineup. The UK carmaker has upgraded the 2017 model as was spotted in the same state of minimal disguise as previous images, revealing much of the car’s styling and shape as well as another alloy wheel design.
There are now two distinct product families, Discovery line & Range Rover line. The new crossover-like Discovery will take the place of the LR4, a more traditional SUV. The seven-passenger Discovery joins the five-passenger Discovery Sport on aluminum architecture, allowing for a significant weight savings. On the other side is the Range Rover line, more luxurious and stylish, consisting of the Evoque, Sport, and the full-size Range Rover in standard and long-wheelbase flavours.
The Discovery seen before was spotted in Leamington Spa, close to Jaguar Land Rover’s Gaydon headquarters. Thou I don’t have much info beyond what we can infer from the Discovery Sport, which is powered by a 2.0-liter, turbocharged inline-four. While it’ll assuredly be heavier than the Discovery Sport, the Discovery looks a lot like its smaller sibling. It seems that Land Rover gave the front a nip and tuck that didn’t make it to the Sport for the 2017 model year. It’s a cleaner interpretation of the same theme
The new pictures confirm the Discovery will feature a lower, sleeker design, similar to 2014’s Discovery Vision concept. The offset registration plate also suggests it will have an asymmetrical tailgate – a nod to previous generations of the model. It will also have a plusher, more up-market cabin that will be no less practical or versatile than that of the current model.
The new model will also be significantly lighter than the current car and come packed with new technology when it goes on sale.It will be the largest in a family of three or more upcoming Discovery models. It is good to note that Land Rover has left the door open for another Discovery model below the smaller Discovery Sport as it looks to cash in on a growing global SUV market that will soon top 20 million sales worldwide.
Land Rover previewed the next-generation Discovery at the New York motor show in April 2014 with the Discovery Vision, a concept that McGovern said was “very important in terms of being a benchmark for new-generation Discovery models: the versatility of the car, the seats, the reconfigurability, how you use it inside”.
The production model, prototype versions of which are now regularly spied around JLR’s Midlands base, stays true to the concept on the exterior at least, with only detail changes at the front and rear ends. The concept’s radical, pared back interior is unlikely to carry over as extensively as the exterior, however.
Despite the radical exterior styling departure, McGovern said there were still “certain guidelines” in designing any Discovery. He said there would always be a stepped roof to accommodate the “stadium seating” for seven people, a visible pillar in the side to break up the mass and optimum proportions to maximise the volume inside the car.
He said the Discovery was being made more premium and would be brought “deliberately closer to Range Rover”. He added: “There will be a premium execution in Discovery, more Range Rover-like. But we need to not confuse and get the balance right.”
Despite the new design language, McGovern said the new Discovery “wouldn’t be polarising”. He said that, as much as he loved the current car, it was always seen as specialised in its design and ethos, so the new model would be “more universally appealing, without compromises”. He added that he had “no desire to upset traditionalists; the trick is to bring them with you”.
“We won’t back off from that capability, but it has to be appropriate and relevant,” he said. “We need to be about more than that. It’s a killer combination: core engineering technology and truly desirable and bespoke design with our own twist. Design is playing a more fundamental role with engineering. Not design to engineering’s detriment, but a collaboration.”
In addition to its class-leading off-road ability, the Discovery could also become home to new technology in development at JLR. This includes a laser scanning system that can automatically adjust the suspension and transmission based on the road ahead, a ‘transparent bonnet’ that projects an image of what’s underneath the car onto the bonnet and the ability to control the car remotely to park it in tight spaces.
This new Defender family will ensure that functional Land Rovers won’t disappear from a line-up swelling with plush, premium products. “When you have a family of Defenders, you get the stretch back, whose overall intention is to create a car that’s sportier and more modern-looking than today’s car but no less practical or versatile.