THE ARRIVAL of the uber off-road version of the new Discovery – the Discovery SVX – that was first announced in 2017 is not happening, with Land Rover terminating the model before a chunky wheel has been turned off-road in anger.
This announcement follows other sad news for cashed-up Landy-philes: the recent deletion of what was to be a limited-run Range Rover SC Coupe two-door. Neither announcement is unexpected in light of recent record losses – $550 million – in quarter four of 2018 for JLR. These losses have been attributed to the growing anti-diesel sentiment, a significant drop in sales in China, the political mess of Brexit in the UK, and having to make 10 per cent of its workforce redundant as a result of aforementioned factors. Yep, it’s been a tough year for the Brit off-road icon.
Dubbed “the ultimate all-terrain Land Rover Discovery” by Land Rover, the SVX was to be the first Disco to be fitted with a monster 386kW/625Nm supercharged 5.0-litre V8 petrol donk. On top of this power plant, the SVX featured raised body height (over the standard Disco), significant suspension mods, beefy 275/55 R20 Goodyear Wrangler rubber wrapped around forged-alloy wheels, integrated rear-mount electric winch, and front recovery points.
The SVX also included Hydraulic Active Roll Control (H-ARC) for improved wheel articulation off-road (when combined with the SVX’s unique revised knuckles and long-travel shocks) and a tighter rein on bodyroll on-road.
Land Rover sources say this isn’t the end of its Special Vehicles Operations (SVO) arm, with numerous SVO-tweaked vehicles still in the works or, in the case of the Velar SVR, very close to release. Whether there’ll be a reborn SVX remains to be seen, with Land Rover only hinting at future developments by saying the SVX is no longer going ahead in “its current form”.
With that supercharged V8 now deemed not applicable for the current Discovery, there would seem to be a dearth of powerplant options for any future souped-up Disco. The recently announced supercharged/turbocharged 294kW/550Nm 3.0-litre Ingenium straight-six petrol is the obvious replacement, with this new donk able to be boosted to produce even more grunt in line with SVO expectations. Plus, as part of a modular-style engine family (the new six joins the four-cylinder and upcoming three-cylinder Ingenium engines) it makes for cheaper production costs for JLR. It could also be slotted into the upcoming Defender.
With the increasing swing against diesel power, and the improvement in fuel efficiency and low-rpm torque delivery found in LR’s Ingenium turbopetrol donks (not to mention its hybrid power plants), this may be the time for LR to return to its petrol-powered origins.