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LAND Roverís fifthgeneration Discovery is longer, wider, sleeker and the most advanced example of the breed in its 27-year history Ė plus it brings a new aluminiumintensive body, meaning itís almost half a tonne lighter than the car it replaces.
Sporting a sleeker skin in line with what previewed on the smaller Discovery Sport, the new Discovery Ė which drops the number, to be known (again) simply as Discovery Ė ditches its ladder-frame chassis for the Range Rover Sportís monocoque design.
The aluminium architecture and predominantly aluminium body Ė the doors are steel and the tailgate is a plastic composite Ė have reduced weight by 480kg, paving the way for Land Roverís in-housedesigned Ingenium fourcylinder engine family, which will complement the existing family of V6 diesels.
While the curvier body eschews some of the visual muscle of the squarer Discovery 4, the new Discovery is 141mm longer, at 4970mm.
At 2073mm wide it is also 20mm wider. However, the 1846mm height of the new Discovery means it is 41mm lower than the Discovery 4.
Sharing the Range Rover Sportís 2923mm wheelbase, the new Discovery is claimed to have more interior space Ė while still catering for up to seven adults in its three rows of seats.
Land Rover designers have also tried to extend the Discoveryís renowned storage binnacles, while maintaining the dual gloveboxes and numerous other hidey holes; the most innovative storage area is one hidden behind the controls for the sound system, which electronically flips down revealing a hidden cavity.
Land Rover will offer the Discovery with three engines (each with an eight-speed automatic transmission) and in three trim levels: SE, HSE and HSE Luxury (the base S model available overseas will not be offered here), for nine variants in total.
For the first time the Discovery wonít have a petrol engine option in Australia, with the local Land Rover arm deciding to focus on the diesel
engines, leaving the 250kW/450Nm 3.0-litre supercharged V6 for the likes of America and the Middle East.
For the first time in Australia the Discovery will be offered with a single-range 4WD system on the entry-level Td4 diesel, which gets a 132kW/430Nm 2.0-litre fourcylinder diesel. While it will get air suspension, its off-road smarts will come from the Terrain Response 2 traction control system that now has an ďautoĒ function designed to automatically detect what sort of terrain it is covering, in turn tailoring the electronics for added traction.
All other Discovery models will get a dual-range transfer case. The Sd4 picks up a 177kW/500Nm of the same Ingenium diesel engine; the flagship (for now) will be the TdV6, which gets a 190kW/600Nm version of the familiar 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 diesel.
Land Rover claims superior off-road credentials for the new Discovery. With the air suspension on its highest setting it has 283mm of clearance and it can wade through 900mm of water courtesy of an innovative air intake system that utilises space on top of the underbonnet as an intake.
However, the approach angle has dropped from the Disco 4ís excellent 36.2 degrees to a still-good 34 degrees.
The rampover angle is 27.5 degrees (versus the 4ís 27.3 degrees), while the departure angle is 30 degrees (versus the 4ís 29.6 degrees).
Tyre sizes for the new Discovery will range between 19 and 22 inches; the company is believed to be working on an 18-inch wheel-and-tyre package for a future model and will also offer a 20-inch all-terrain tyre.
The fuel tank on the four-cylinder models likely to account or most sales is a modest 77 litres, although engineers claim a range of more than 750km due to significant improvements to fuel economy.
As with the Range Rover Sport it shares so much with underneath, the Discovery has independent suspension, with wheel articulation claimed at up to 500mm, a slight improvement on the current car.
The Discovery continues with its class-leading 3500kg tow capacity and will introduce the soon-to-arrive Trailer Assist system that semi-autonomously reverses the car with perfect counter steering.
Pricing will start from $81,590 when the car goes on sale about July, 2017.