The new Discovery will be underpinned by the same bonded and riveted aluminium monocoque structure used in the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models, alongside which the new Discovery will be built at Jaguar Land Rover’s Solihull plant.
This should contribute to a significant saving over the 2622kg kerb weight of the current car, which is underpinned by the strong but heavy T5 ladder chassis.
The core engine for the fifth-generation Discovery in the UK and Europe is set to be an updated version of the current 3.0-litre SDV6 diesel.
Despite Jaguar Land Rover recently revealing hybrid and electric research projects, this technology is not destined for production until the next decade.
Engines from the Ingenium family look likely to find their way into the car, either in current four-cylinder form with mild hybrid systems, or in V6 guise, if JLR further develops the new modular engine technology, as is widely expected.
Land Rover previewed the next-generation Discovery at the New York motor show in April 2014 with the Discovery Vision, a concept that McGovern said was “very important in terms of being a benchmark for new-generation Discovery models: the versatility of the car, the seats, the reconfigurability, how you use it inside”.
The overall intention is to create a car that’s sportier and more modern-looking than today’s car but no less practical or versatile.
The production model, prototype versions of which are now regularly spied around JLR’s Midlands base, stays true to the concept on the exterior at least, with only detail changes at the front and rear ends. The concept’s radical, pared back interior is unlikely to carry over as extensively as the exterior, however.
Despite the radical exterior styling departure, McGovern said there were still “certain guidelines” in designing any Discovery. He said there would always be a stepped roof to accommodate the “stadium seating” for seven people, a visible pillar in the side to break up the mass and optimum proportions to maximise the volume inside the car.
He said the Discovery was being made more premium and would be brought “deliberately closer to Range Rover”. He added: “There will be a premium execution in Discovery, more Range Rover-like. But we need to not confuse and get the balance right.”
Despite the new design language, McGovern said the new Discovery “wouldn’t be polarising”. He said that, as much as he loved the current car, it was always seen as specialised in its design and ethos, so the new model would be “more universally appealing, without compromises”. He added that he had “no desire to upset traditionalists; the trick is to bring them with you”.