The next-generation Land Rover Discovery is likely to be given extreme off-road capabilities by JLR’s Special Vehicle Operations arm next year, in order for it to act as a halo product for the all-terrain capability of the company’s product range.
The all-new Discovery 5 is expected to be revealed later this year, with SVO’s so-called Land Rover Discovery SVX version going on sale 12-18 months later.
SVO has a three-pronged brief to deliver cars that showcase the best of Jaguar Land Rover’s capabilities in the ‘luxury’, ‘performance’ and ‘capability’ markets.
While it is believed that an even more luxurious version of the Range Rover is under development without the Sport SVR’s focus on performance upgrades, the next launch is reported to be the Discovery SVX, so that the SVO division — which has yet to even formally open its headquarters — can showcase its capabilities across the full range of its brief.
Every model considered for SVO treatment
SVO boss John Edwards declined to comment on specific models but said: “Every nameplate we produce will be considered for an SVO derivative — we will look at each one and see if we can push the boundaries in any direction.
“Land Rover is all about bandwidth. What we have done over 65 years is broaden the breadth of capability of our vehicles. We have taken the opportunity with the Sport SVR to go right, and SVX gives us a chance to go left. It’s clear that a result of that will be that the Land Rover proposition will benefit overall — we will be amplifying the core brand values.”
Sources have previously suggested that Land Rover is eager to use SVO tuning of the Discovery to showcase its technical as well as mechanical ability.
Modifications are likely to focus on technological solutions to dealing with extreme off-road conditions.
Last year’s Land Rover Discovery Vision concept included a ‘virtual’ windscreen and bonnet that used cameras to show an unimpeded view of the road ahead of and even beneath the car.
"It is pressing that we do an SVX"
While such innovations may not make production immediately, it is believed to highlight the level of technology at which SVO is aiming.
Edwards conceded that the business case for SVX models was not as clear as for luxury and performance models, but added: “The opportunity might be different from a market perspective, but it is obvious from a Land Rover perspective. From an emotional perspective it is pressing that we do an SVX.”
The Discovery SVX’s core markets are expected to be in the Middle East and in the snowbelt of the US, plus in countries with more extreme terrains, such as Australia and South Africa.
Although Edwards would not talk about specific models, his comments make it almost certain that a next-generation Defender SVX will be built, pushing beyond even the off-road boundaries of the Discovery SVX.
Such a car would also present Land Rover with an opportunity to develop the next Defender in a variety of different ways, because it would root the car in its traditional go-anywhere marketplace, allowing developments in other directions, including more mainstream or even luxury and performance models.