A SLEEKER new front-end, all-new interior, thoroughly upgraded chassis, new features and two ripping new petrol and diesel engines are enough to back up Land Rover’s description of the 10MY Discovery as a fourth-generation model.
Available in four specification levels in Australia from early October, the all-automatic Discovery 4 wagon arrives within weeks of its European release, priced from $68,490 for the 2.7 TDV6.
Powered by a carryover 2.7-litre single-turbo diesel V6 that delivers the same 140kW of power and 440Nm of torque – and the same average fuel consumption of 10.2L/100km – the entry-level Disco 4 costs just $900 more than the model it replaces and $2000 more than the discontinued six-cylinder petrol-powered 4.0 V6 SE range-opener.
The 2.7 TDV6 comes standard with five manually-adjusted cloth seats, but can be specified with a leather-trimmed seven-seat pack that includes a third row of seats with head curtain airbags, map lights and accessory power outlet, plus a 35/30/35-split second row, for just $2500.
Next up is the 3.0 TDV6 SE, which at $81,990 is priced between the superseded 2.7 TDV6 SE and HSE. It comes standard with seven leather seats and also adds to the entry-level 2.7 TDV6’s equipment list: powerfold mirrors, bi-Xenon headlights with cornering lamps and 19-inch seven-spoke alloy wheels, in lieu of the 2.7’s 18-inch five-spoke wheels.
Compared with the 2.7 TDV6 engine, which will be available in Ford Australia’s Territory from 2011, the 3.0 TDV6’s new 3.0-litre twin-turbo six-cylinder diesel engine delivers 29 per cent more peak power (180kW at the same 4000rpm) and some 36 per cent more torque, with a class-leading 600Nm on tap from 2000rpm – just 100rpm higher than in the 2.7.
What’s more, with help from a third-generation common-rail fuel system and its parallel sequential turbos, fuel consumption is reduced by nine per cent on the combined EU cycle, to 9.3L/100km, with average CO2 emissions also falling almost 10 per cent to 244g/km.
Completing the win-win picture, the 3.0 TDV6, which is said to offer 500Nm of torque from idle in 500 milliseconds, accelerates 24 per cent quicker with a claimed 0-100km/h sprint time of 9.6 seconds – down from 12.7.
While the 3.0 TDV6 is expected to be the top-seller of the Australian 10MY Discovery range, the 3.0 TDV6 HSE is priced $13,000 higher at $94,990 and adds a rear-view camera (which costs $1050 extra on lesser models), front parking sensors ($900), rear air-conditioning ($1590) and a premium hard-disc navigation system with voice control and off-road mapping ($4430).
Other additional TDV6 HSE features not available on the base V6s include new 19-inch seven split-spoke wheels, a USB touch-screen sound system, woodgrain trim options, driver’s seat and mirror memory, interior mood lighting, a rear luggage net, illuminated front vanity mirrors and an HSE leather pack comprising front armrest, leather gearshifter, passenger and (powered) driver’s lumbar adjustment and eight-way front seat power adjustment.
Behind the wheel, both 3.0 TDV6 variants deliver iron-fisted acceleration with velvet-gloved refinement. Much smoother at all revs than the single-turbo 2.7 TDV6, the bigger engine presents less diesel clatter during cold start-up and a healthier dose of off-idle and midrange acceleration, making better use of the slick six-speed ZF auto.
The claimed fuel consumption improvements are not in doubt either, with the mix of undulating Scottish backroads used for the combined global and Australian launch easily allowing us to return less than 10L/100km, undercutting the average of the 2.7 it replaces in other countries despite liberal use of the right clog.
In another league again, however, is the range-topping Discovery 4’s all-new V8 flagship, however, which is priced to match at a hefty $126,460.
That’s a whopping $33,470 more than the 4.4 V8 HSE it replaces, but Land Rover says the new Disco kingpin compares well with the Lexus LX570 (priced from $145,000) with a new direct-injection 5.0-litre petrol V8 featuring centrally-mounted multi-hole spray-guided fuel-injection system.
First seen in Jaguar’s XF, it delivers 25 per cent more power than the 4.4 (276kW at 6500rpm – up from 220kW) and 16 per cent more torque (510Nm at 3500rpm – up from 427Nm).
Despite 0-100km/h acceleration in 7.9 seconds, the 2548kg (35kg less than the 3.0 TDV6) petrol V8’s average fuel consumption falls at the same by seven per cent, to 13.9L/100km, while average CO2 emissions drop by eight per cent to 328g/km. Top speed is 195km/h, compared with 180km/h for both V6s, while the unbraked/braked towing capacity for all three engine variants is 750/3500kg.
On the road, of course the new V8 Disco feels quicker than the 4.4 it replaces (it is by almost a second), but the most lasting impression is the crisper bottom-end response and effortless acceleration right across the rev range, making the new top-shelf Discovery less SUV-like and, dare we say it, more luxury wagon-like.
But the 10MY Discovery is far more than an engine story, with a host of technical upgrades lurking within the more rounded, upmarket body that features colour-coded wheel-arches and a less bluff front-end with more horizontal bumper (with larger intake) and upmarket headlights with LED elements.
The revised Disco chassis features new suspension knuckles and larger, stiffer anti-roll bars that combine to noticeably reduce bodyroll, while ride quality remains top-notch courtesy of revised bushes and dampers. There’s also a fettled variable-ratio steering rack that Land Rover says reduces on-centre twitchiness which improving feel at higher steering locks.
New-engine variants benefit from larger Range Rover Sport-sourced 360mm front brake discs with a new twin-piston cast-iron sliding calliper. Rear brakes comprise 350mm rotors with single-piston callipers, while a new automatic understeer control improves safety and the hill descent control system is upgraded to reduce initial acceleration.
Rounding out the tech upgrades is an improved Terrain Response system featuring a new sand launch control system to reduce wheelspin and an enhanced rock crawl mode in which brakes are automatically applied in forward or reverse below 5km/h to reduce lurching at low speed.
Topping off the 10MY Disco is an all-new, more upmarket dashboard and centre console with fewer controls, relocated Terrain Response controller and driver-focussed cockpit, plus new seats with height-adjustable head restraints (no more headrest-mounted grabrails) and a new multifunction leather steering wheel.
A classy and user-friendly new five-inch thin film transistor (TFT) key information display is situated between the redesigned instrument cluster, plus two new interior contrast colours – Nutmeg and the darker Arabica.
New technologies include an automatic High Beam Assist feature, Portable Audio Interface, Tow Assist, keyless entry, push-button start and a five-camera surround system to aid parking, towing and off-road manoeuvring (up to 18km/h).
Three new paint colours are also available - Nara Bronze, Bali Blue and Ipanema Sand.
All 10MY Discoveries come standard with cruise control, Terrain Response, an electric parking brake, permanent four-wheel drive, a centre electronic differential with low range transfer box, electronic cross-linked air suspension with automatic load-levelling and multiple modes, and power-assisted speed-dependent steering.
Also standard across the range are rain-sensing headlights and wipers, automatic headlights with washers, power-adjustable one-touch windows and (heated) mirrors, door puddle lamps and footwell lamps, front foglights, rear parking sensors, a tow pack, full-size alloy spare wheel, an automatic dimming interior mirror, dual climate-control system, a nine-speaker 240-Watt Harman/Kardon CD sound system, Bluetooth connectivity, automatic central locking and an alarm.
Standard control systems include electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), an all-terrain anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic traction control (ETC), dynamic stability control (DSC), electronic differential control (EDC), emergency brake assist (EBA), enhanced understeer control (EUC), roll stability control (RSC), trailer stability assist (TSA) and hill descent control (HDC) with gradient release control (GRC), plus twin front, front-side and two-row side curtain airbags.