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Land Rover Discover Sport 5: engines and tech spec

Let’s deal with the nitty-gritty first. The new Discovery is 4970mm long, 2220mm wide (including the mirrors) and 1846mm tall – that’s 141mm longer, but marginally narrower and lower than the vehicle it replaces. The 2923mm wheelbase is 38mm longer than before, to the benefit of passenger room.

 

The 480kg weight saving comes from a new monocoque body construction that is 83% aluminium (some 43% of which comes from recycled sources). There’s high-strength aluminium for the crash structure, while the entire bodyside – like that of the Jaguar F-Type – is pressed from a single aluminium sheet. This is great for reduced construction complexity and increased structural strength, but may prove interesting from a crash-repair perspective…

 

Other contributors to the overall reduction include less complex exhaust and driveline systems, ‘more efficient’ seat design and, interestingly, revised wheel and tyre sizes (presumably made possible by everything else). Even so, the Disco 5 still weighs upwards of 2115kg.

 

Engine choices for the new Discovery are as follows:

 

  • 2.0-litre SD4 turbodiesel four-cylinder  237bhp, 369lb ft, 8.3sec 0-62mph, 43.5mpg, 171g/km: This is a new engine for the new model, and the most powerful Ingenium diesel to date
  • 3.0-litre Td6 turbodiesel V6  254bhp, 443lb ft, 8.1sec 0-62mph, 39.2mpg, 189g/km: while that’s only a 2bhp improvement over the old Disco Td6, 0-62mph is 1.3sec faster and CO2 emissions are down from 203g/km
  • 3.0-litre Si6 supercharged petrol V6  335bhp, 332lb ft, 7.1sec 0-62mph, 26.0mpg, 256g/km: not likely to be a massive UK seller, but JLR’s supercharged six has plenty of character

All three engines are paired with an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox with ratios so closely spaced the changes are said to be ‘imperceptible’. As with other JLR products, drive selection is via a rotary controller, with paddleshifters on the steering wheel; multiple downshifts are allowed for additional performance.

 

Will the new Disco still be comfortable – and will it still off-road?

The outgoing Discovery’s ride quality is legend, and Land Rover was keen to keep this asset while improving the driving behaviour. To do this it’s paired ‘wide-spaced’ double wishbone front suspension with an independent integral link rear set-up. We’ll obviously have to wait to judge the results.

The standard air suspension ought to help, providing the ability to reduce ride height by 60mm for easier loading – and raise it 75mm for greater ground clearance. Which brings us to the Disco 5’s off-road credentials.

Regular ground clearance is 283mm, the approach angle is 34 degrees, the departure angle is 30 degrees and break-over is 27.5 degrees. There’s 500mm of wheel articulation, and a 900mm wading depth – that’s 200mm deeper than before.

Boosting the full-time four-wheel-drive system, which has a nominal 50:50 split that varies depending on the conditions, there’s a two-speed transfer box with synchromesh, meaning you can shift between high and low ratios at up to 37mph without stopping the car.

The latest versions of Land Rover’s All Terrain Progress Control and Terrain Response electronics are available, alongside Hill Descent Control, Gradient Release Control (releases the brake slowly when you’re stopped on a hill), Roll Stability Control and Wade Sensing (a kind of automotive sonar, displayed via the infotainment screen).

How does the new Discovery 5 look?

Like a giant Discovery Sport. Mostly. The much-loved two-box design of previous generations has been replaced by a far more rounded appearance that pays only token tribute to the past with its minimally stepped roof and heavily canted rear side pillar.

The roof step still makes extra headroom for the rear-row passengers, however, and as before the Disco deploys ‘stadium’ seating where each row is slightly higher than the one in front.

The full seven-seater claim is backed by stats that suggest it will accommodate 95th percentile adults in even the rear-most row; there are five ISOFIX mounting points on SE trim and above, too, so if you’re expecting quintuplets this could be the premium lifestyle accessory for you.

What was that about smartphone-controlled seats?

Land Rover calls it Intelligent Seat Fold technology. In addition to being able to move the second and third rows around using a dedicated panel at the rear or via the central touchscreen in the front, you can also control them with your smartphone or tablet.

The idea is that you can activate the reconfiguration while you’re still in the shop paying for the bulky item you need to get home. Whether this turns out to be a pointless gimmick or life-changing essential, it’s certainly something for you to show off at the pub.

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