SVX VERSION IN THE WORKS

LAND Rover is developing a more off-road-focused version of its just-revealed Discovery. Expected to pick up the SVX badge, it will be created by the Special Vehicle Operations that also creates the go-fast SVR models for Land Rover and Jaguar.

Speaking at the release of the new Discovery, chief engineer Alex Heslop told 4X4 Australia that the new car was being developed with 18in wheels; smaller than the wheels for mainstream Discoverys.

“Clearly something we want to do is get smaller wheels underneath it,” said Heslop, who all but confirmed an SVX was in the wings by saying “watch this space”.

Heslop said the 18in wheels shod in all-terrain rubber would require a smaller brake package, something made possible with the arrival of the four-cylinder diesel engine (marketed as Ingenium). It’s likely to be powered by the fourcylinder, 2.0-litre turbo-diesel.

A problem with the SVX is that an underslung spare wheel limits the size of the fuel tank.

Four-cylinder diesel models are fitted with 77-litre tanks, but an 89-litre tank is available with the supercharged V6 engine (not coming to Aus). That larger tank would increase range by about 2000km (assuming it consumed the claimed average of 6.0L/100km).

Other possible tweaks include a snorkel and roof basket. The SVX would also be a logical place to showcase the latest in autonomous offroad tech, something Heslop says will continue to roll out in future generations.

“With each model year we put a little bit more semiautonomous [tech]… and we’re going to just take a little bit more control into the car and away from the driver. At the moment it’s very much about enabling a novice to do stuff that they couldn’t possibly imagine previously.”

He highlighted the All- Terrain Coach function, an integrated program designed to educate drivers how to get out of difficult situations.

SVO chief John Edwards previously told 4X4 Australia the company was looking at two options for its more off-roadfocused models. “We sometimes take inspiration from Camel Trophy and think about really hardcore expedition vehicles,” said Edwards earlier this year.

However, he also hinted that SVO could blend performance with off-road capability.

“There’s another way of executing it which is to think about the kind of rally raid, if you like, where speed is more important. We’re exploring both of those dimensions.”