02The £60 million assigned to the programme is put into context when compared to the £1 billion invested in the L30 Range Rover project. This tight budget imposed considerable constraints on the team designing the new Discovery, which was now codenamed ‘Tempest’.
Key to the new model was the need to package three rows of forward-facing seats, a feature that demanded an extension to the wheelbase. This would have increased the programme budget by about 50 per cent, so was out of the question. It was substituted by a considerable rear overhang.
This gave designer Alan Mobberley a headache because the original rear door was to be retained along with the basic under-structure incorporating the windscreen angle – which dated back to the introduction of the original Range Rover.
But much of the outer skin, including its steel doors, was new. This allowed Mobberley to sculpt strong horizontal lines to hide Tempest’s extra length. The last-minute addition of wheelarch ‘eyebrows’ to meet tyre exposure legislation compromised its clean lines but the final result was a pleasing refresh of the original.
This late development D2 (foreground) was shown alongside the outgoing model in the Canley ‘Styling Garden’. The inherited features, especially the windscreen, were clear but the design team skilfully blended the increased length into the upgrade.
To try to address the sporty SUV sector identified by Heartland, a 3dr Tempest variant got as far as being modelled. Lacking the rear overhang, it was intended as a five-seater – but the tiny budget meant it never got any further.