Jaguar Land Rover has just revealed the 2019 Land Rover Discovery SVX at the Frankfurt motor show and yes, the production version will be coming to Australia.
The Discovery SVX has been developed by JLR’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) group, and the build is pleasingly off-road biased, if somewhat European in execution.
Diesel is a dirty word right now, and the SVO outfit has opted to run a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 that produces 386kW and 625Nm. That makes the SVX the only V8 petrol powered version of the Discovery. Expect excellent hill-climb performance, that will be countered by a significantly compromised range off road.
The V8 is hooked up to an eight-speed automatic and a good ol’ two-speed transfer case. Gear selection is made via a Pistol grip shifter that is said to offer the driver more control off road than the Discovery’s standard rotary dial.
The Discovery’s Terrain Response 2 system has been re-calibrated for the SVX and works in conjunction with an active centre differential that, like the rear differential, can be locked electronically.
Complementing these hardware upgrades are unique software calibrations for the eight-speed auto, and Discovery’s dynamics systems including Hill Descent Control, Electronic Traction Control (ETC), Adaptive Dynamics, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), All-Terrain Progress Control (ATPC) and variable ratio electric power-assisted steering (EPAS). Don’t fall asleep on us just yet…
The Discovery SVX sits higher than a standard Disco and that means that ground clearance, approach, departure and ramp-over angles have all been improved. Longer travel shocks and revised knuckles (not the kind you drag along the ground) have been fitted to work with the air-suspensions re-jigged ride height and importantly provide increased suspension travel.
The next hurdle for genuine off roaders, once you’ve come to terms with that thirsty V8, will be the wheels and tyres. The SVX Discovery is riding on 20-inch alloy wheels, presumably to clear some serious sized brakes and they’ve been fitted with some decent off road biased 275/55 rubber. But – and there is always a but – with a rolling diameter of 815mm (32 inches) they have 1.5 inches less sidewall height than a 32-inch tyre on a 17-inch rim and that’s not so good off road. The 20-inch rubber costs significantly more to buy, doesn’t perform as well off-road, is more prone to damage and punctures, and is difficult to find replacements for outside of major cities.
If JLR’s SVO outfit want to build a serious off-road version of the Disco, they need to listen to us. It needs to be Ingenium diesel powered and use a brake package that allows 17-inch alloy wheels to be run. Those wheels should be fitted with 32-inch Light Truck rated off-road biased tyres.
Big isn’t always better and Australians would queue to buy a well thought out – built for our conditions – Discovery.
Anyhoo, back to the Discovery SVX, which sports unique to the SVX front and rear bumpers, but oddly, it’s the rear bumper (not the front) into which they’ve integrated an electric winch; we can only guess that there isn’t enough room behind the front bumper. If you have to self-recover you’ll be retreating from tricky sections of track, rather than winching through them and that isn’t quite right, most notably, if you’re stuck heading up a steep section of track.
There’s also some underbody protection plates, and a brace of ‘Rush Orange’ recovery points, that are rated to 6,000kgs each. As we all know, genuine rated recovery points are hard to come by, so that right there is a big tick in the useful additions box.
The exterior matte paintwork is called Tectonic Grey and it’s guaranteed to have your sphincter puckering the entire length of every overgrown track you traverse in your SVX. The grey exterior is complimented by a Lunar and Light Oyster, with Rush Orange accents, interior colour palette.
JLR has confirmed that Australia will see the production version of the Discovery SVX in the second half of 2018, with pricing and specifications – that we hope will be changed to suit Australian conditions – to be announced later this year.
“The SVX product line gives us a fantastic opportunity to deliver the ultimate Land Rover all-terrain capability in a dynamic and distinctive manner, creating a rugged and versatile SUV that the whole family will love: effortless, unstoppable and connected, whatever the terrain,” said Mark Stanton, JLR director.
“Discovery SVX is designed to reward off-road driving enthusiasts with the next level of all-terrain capability, without compromising comfort and practicality.”