The next-generation Land Rover Discovery will be given a makeover by the firm’s Special Vehicle Operations in order to showcase the ultimate off-road potential of such a model.
The all-new Discovery 5 is expected next year, with SVO’s extreme off-road SVX version going on sale 12-18 months later.
To date, SVO projects have focused on limited-run cars such as the Jaguar F-Type Project 7 and E-Type recreations, one-off designs such as the Paul Smith Land Rover Defender and the performance-orientated Range Rover Sport SVR. However, SVO also has a brief to develop the ultimate expressions of luxury and capability within Jaguar Land Rover, and it is believed that the next Discovery will be used to showcase hitherto unseen extremes of off-road prowess.
SVO boss John Edwards declined to comment on specific models but admitted there was an attractive customer base for hardcore 4x4s.
“There is a market for more off-road capability, so of course we’re looking at it,” he said. “In the US there’s a wide snowbelt, in the Middle East there’s extreme sand and in regions such as Australia and South Africa there is a need to cover very rugged terrain.
“There’s a very interesting market for cars with usable capability,” he said. “The established German luxury competitors are there, but we think there’s an opportunity to offer something different and something more. We’re well planned to develop and exploit opportunities in that market.”
In particular, sources suggest 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.
While such innovations may not make production immediately, it is believed to highlight the level of technology at which SVO is aiming.
“There’s clearly an opportunity to apply technology focused on an all-terrain use,” said Edwards. “We have opportunities to develop everything from ride heights and wheel and tyre combinations to cutting-edge technology solutions.”