Sporting a sleek appearance reminiscent of recent Land Rover concepts, the 2018 Discovery broke cover Wednesday on the eve of the Paris Motor Show. In 27 years, the Discovery has been the all-terrain champion of the British SUV maker, but this vehicle looks as if it will be more at home on Fifth Avenue than the Rubicon Trail. Design chief Gerry McGovern says Land Rover is going through a transformation, as people won't accept big panel gaps anymore.
Under the skin, the Mark V Discovery adopts the aluminum-intensive D7 architecture of the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport with wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension and air springs. This makes for a largely aluminum body shell, but unlike the Range Rovers, the Discovery uses steel subframes for added strength and to keep the cabin floor low enough to allow headroom for the third row of seats. US models will be offered with a choice of five or seven seats. The engine lineup features JLR's 340-hp, 3.0-liter supercharged V6, available on all trims. The transmission is the ZF eight-speed automatic, with a choice of single or two-speed Torsen-based torque biasing center gearing. Towing capacity is 8,201 pounds. A 3.0-liter turbodiesel making 254 hp will also be available.
These days Land Rover is less controversial and less comprehensible. McGovern says that versatility, re-configurability, storage, and 'lifestyle-enabling' are the key features of the new vehicle. Discovery has been a phenomenal success for Land Rover, selling over 1.2 million in 27 years and introducing the brand to many loyal customers. First look at the new model is that the appliance of refinement has somehow made it less authentic and the new one looks less like what it can do than any of its predecessors. We'll have to see what the market makes of this move. It goes on sale in the middle of 2017, starting at $50,985.