Range Rover Sport
WE SAY: WITH THE NEW DISCO, JLR STRENGTHENS ITS GRIP ON THE SUV MARKET
Ihesitate to confess, but I didn’t realise at frst that two cylinders were absent. I was being driven by a friend in the four-cylinder version of the new Discovery, and we were making good and peaceful progress. Then I had a go myself, and deliberately tried to take it to places where it would likely show indecorum – holding it in low gears and using big revs – and still I was impressed.
This is by far the best Ingenium engine yet, thanks to longitudinal mounting and double blowers. It has 93 per cent of the V6’s power and 83 per cent of its torque, and because it’s lighter the 0–62mph fgure trails by just 0.3sec. Let’s not get carried away: you still want the V6, because it feels more efortless and costs and drinks little extra. But neither engine can really overcome the Discovery’s farm-shed air resistance, so A-road overtaking needs lots of space.
The new Discovery’s on-road manners are imperious, thanks to a nice soft ride and surprisingly precise steering. It’s never car-like, though, and doesn’t want you to go berserk through a series of bends. But compared with the old one you don’t have to count so many elephants between braking, steering and accelerating.
Of the road it’s astounding, even on standard tyres. All versions get low ’box, raisable air suspension, and secondgeneration Terrain Response. It’ll wade to the tops of its tyres, ease through foot-deep muddy ruts and for all I know ascend the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Top-end Land Rovers manage a spellbinding contrast between the hostile environment outside the windows and the warm luxury within. The Discovery’s cabin is a gorgeous mix of clean design with plush materials.
But it’s the cabin practicalities that keep people coming back for more. The cabin is versatile and magnifcently thought-out for any combination of seats from two to seven. All the chairs hold grown-ups and provide storage and charging for the provisions and devices mandatory to long-distance travel. For the driver, long journeys are eased, at last, by the assistance and connected navigation that its rivals have done so well for so much longer.
Limo, minibus and quad bike all in one? Unlikely but it works deliciously