HomeInternationalMotoring: Discovery 4: A sight to behold

Motoring: Discovery 4: A sight to behold

Its spruced up exterior has allayed fears that the D4 would look dated, particularly in comparison with its more stylish little brother, the Evoque. This is clearly in keeping with the carmaker’s inclination, in recent years, towards the luxury car market after the success of its Range Rover and Evoque brands. This was confirmed by Jaguar/Land Rover operations director in charge of sub-Saharan Africa, Nigel Clarke, in South Africa recently:

 

“While we will maintain the ruggedness of our Discovery brand, we were also keen to make it contemporarily relevant,” he said.

Clarke was speaking during a product presentation of the D4 to motoring journalists prior to unveiling. Journalists also got a chance to take the D4 through its paces, testing its off-road pedigree at the Land Rover Experience Kyalami, near Johannesburg, which presented some formidable road conditions such as steep and slippery inclines and declines.

In such rugged terrain all it took to get around was to switch on the D4’s acclaimed Terrain Response system which then adjusts the car’s gearbox settings, suspension height, and differential lock settings to suit the conditions it finds itself in. Another application, Hill Start Assist, prevents the car from rolling backwards while Gradient Acceleration Control restricts speed on severe gradients.

The Discovery has retained its 5,0 LR-V8 engine for the premium model and a 3,0 SDV6 for the entry model. According to Land Rover, the V8 engine’s performance is also boosted by the centrally-mounted, multi-hole, spray-guided fuel injection system which delivers fuel directly to each cylinder.

The 5,0 LR-V8 goes from 0-100km/h in 7,9 seconds with a top speed of 195km/h, while it would take 9,6 seconds for the 3,0 SDV6 with a top speed of 180km/h.

“The LR-V8 engine continues to justify its position as one of the finest engines in its class having set new standards for efficiency, power and torque that remain hard to beat. The combination of advanced technology and light weight make it the ideal power unit, complementing the Discovery 4’s off-road and on-road capability,” the carmaker’s brochure reads.

The D4’s launch also coincided with the British car manufacturer’s milestone; the one-millionth Land Rover Discovery built in the UK. The one-millionth D4 is set for a five-day, 13 000 km expedition from Birmingham in the UK in a bid to raise a million pounds for charity. It is expected to arrive in China just in time for the Beijing Auto Show on April 23.

Exterior-wise, the D4 boasts of new alloy wheel designs, adaptive front lighting that incorporates cornering lamps, as well as daytime running lights, among other stand-out features. Another cool aspect is the variable ride height function whereby the D4’s clearance can be raised or lowered, depending on the terrain it’s traversing as well as electronic cross-linking which ensures a constant level ride- height irrespective of load distribution.

Inside the car, the audio system is one of the main highlights. Even at entry level, Bluetooth and USB/iPod connectivity come as standard features complemented by 11 speakers for the S version and up to a 17-speaker 825W audio system for the HSE. On the premium HSE model, the “Say what you see” voice command allows the driver to “talk” to the car so as to run some of its functions.

The D4 has become more Range Roveresque particularly with the addition of a front centre console that holds a cooler box and a surround camera system that includes approach lamps, towing assist, and tow hitch assist. Pitched as a family car, it comes as no surprise that the D4 has seven leather seats across all specifications. What is, however, surprising, is that there is a selection of 102-seat configurations that can be made between the middle and last rows.

As would be expected, the finishing in the car’s interior speaks of unmitigated luxury yet, ironically, the type of leather in the SE model –– to the eye –– looks more durable than in the HSE variant.

Unfortunately the Discovery 4 will not be equipped with rear seat entertainment for the Sub-Saharan market with the exception of Kenya and Nigeria.

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