Land Rover has finally got its hands on the new Ingenium engine. Has it been worth waiting for?

What is it?

Up to this point, our enjoyment of the otherwise impressive Discovery Sport has been spoiled a little by the sole occupant of its engine bay. With Jaguar calling dibs on the first Ingenium motors off the production line, Land Rover’s compact seven-seater was stuck with a venerable 2.2-litre oil burner, a relic of the not so distant past when Ford signed the cheques at Gaydon. 

For as long as that engine remained, we urged caution, suggesting patience would be rewarded by the virtues of the all-new, incoming 2.0-litre unit. Well, that time has come: the Sport is the first Land Rover to receive the EU6-compliant Ingenium (it migrates to the Evoque next) and almost all the important figures shrink or swell accordingly. 

There are two versions to choose from: a 148bhp example dubbed ‘E-capability’ that comes with admirably low 129g/km CO2 emissions - and doubtless a very small customer base because it can’t be had with seven seats or the nine-speed automatic gearbox - and a 178bhp variant tested here which will have both these things, and be bought by almost everyone despite its necessarily higher 139g/km. 

For the record, that’s a 27g/km reduction compared with the outgoing motor, and less than Audi or BMW quote for a Audi Q5 or an BMW X3. It’s a similar story regarding fuel economy where the Sport’s wishful, official 53.3mpg marginally outstrips the figures claimed by the same rivals. 

What's it like?

In the real world, favourable first impressions of the Ingenium are enhanced by recalling the particulate waft and gnawing vibrations its predecessor produced on start-up. The new engine isn’t whisper quiet (we’ll come back to that) but the fact that you can’t feel it through the control surfaces - or, indeed, smell it - is a significant advance. 

With the start-up shudder gone and at low speeds, the all-aluminum unit spends its time convincing you of its better manners. It doesn't take long to be persuaded, given that one of the old engine’s worst vices was its inability to get underway without suffering chronic hesitation. Despite still defaulting into second gear (first being saved for towing or the muddy stuff), step-off is now seamless. 

The nine-speed transmission is a big improvement on the old system. Inevitably, it favours a prompt downshift or two but, this time, the endless foraging for the torque band seems cleverly prearranged, rather than irritatingly ad-hoc. 

This is important because, knowing that many of its buyers would never dream of troubling the rev limiter, Land Rover has spent its time extracting as much low-end tractability as possible. Consequently, at middling to high speeds, and with only shallow throttle input, the Discovery feels urgent with a pleasingly immediate, crest-of-a-wave kind of momentum. 

True, the 2.2-litre motor was not short on twist either but this is a much sleeker brand of impetus delivered without any nasty swell, or surge or splutter. This progressiveness feels well connected to your right foot, too; an important quality given how the rest of the vehicle does such a sterling job of making you feel well connected to the road. 

The Ingenium’s biddable urgency matches perfectly the car’s fabulous primary ride, effortlessly extending its handling advantage over the opposition, despite the secondary control's remaining bittiness. If that’s the chassis’s one deficiency, the engine’s is its irrepressible volume.

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The toneless, bustling churn of the four-pot identified elsewhere hasn’t been eradicated by the Discovery’s thicker skin. While you’re not going to notice at the kind of low revs the nine-speed 'box quickly tidies you into, you will when you’re accelerating. Being noisier in this phase than the modest, much older 1.6-litre TDI VW Golf that I drove to Eastnor probably isn’t where a £40,000 SUV of the Discovery's calibre ought to be.

Should I buy one?

Don’t expect its aural quality - or a lack of urgency beyond its torquey comfort zone - dampen down enthusiasm for the Ingenium, though. The suspicion that it is a good, rather than an exceptional, diesel engine is, really, a broader debate relating to the industry's pecking order.

Truth be told, so convincing are the Discovery Sport’s merits elsewhere - practically, dynamically, aesthetically - that we’d have settled for less (not unlike the first adopters of the earlier example). As it is, the car’s new-found efficiency, refinement and responsiveness easily eclipse its older sibling - and just about everything else for that matter. 

Land Rover Discovery Sport TD4 180

Location Eastnor, UK; On sale Now; Price From £43,000; Engine 4 cyls, 1999cc, turbocharged, diesel; Power 178bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 317lb ft at 1750-2500rpm; Kerbweight 1884kg; Gearbox 9-spd automatic; 0-60mph 8.4sec; Top speed 117mph; Economy 53.3mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 139g/km / 22%

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eseaton 9 August 2015

There is no such thing as a nice 4 cylinder diesel.

Just spent a week in an A3 TDi DSG convertible. Utterly tedious, agricultural engine, mated to a shocking awful jerking, lurching gearbox. Amazingly, the ride was the stand out feature.
Sundym 7 August 2015

Who makes a 'great' 4 cylinder diesel ?

I really would want to know the pecking order of 4 cylinder diesels. According to autocar-BMW's is noisy, Mercedes rough, Volvo a bit gutless, Ford/PSA old uneconomical and noisy, so does that make VW the best ? Totally baffled!
Adrian987 7 August 2015

VW does quite well

Don't know about the others, but I can vouch for current VW Golf 2.0 TDi being a really nice motor - responsive, and discretely meaty sounding. I do believe the 2.0's get slightly higher up the pecking order than the VW Group 1.6's, from what I have read in the press and of course previous forum comments on the 1.6 about them being very variable engine to engine.
Ski Kid 9 August 2015

VW not very economical

my wife has a 1.6 diesel golf cabriolet and the economy is quite shocking late 30,s in the winter to 45mpg in the summer, way off the official 67mpg therabouts, if we thrashed it i think it would struggle to achieve 30 to 35 mpg these ere not short journeys either with little town traffic.Also the engineering and design is quite poor in various places ,whilst most people just look in awe and copy like a parrot what everyone else has said years ago, like the quality of dashboard and quality of everything else ,With two years ownership I can tell you of quite a few recurrent design flaws and poor quality.Vw, you could do with my assistance ,make me an offer.
ftm594 7 August 2015

An improvement...But not as much as it should be?

Having had 6 years utterly reliable service from my 2009 Freelander Automatic I can identify that it is a good strong engine but it is affected by terrible turbo at from idle and is far from being refined when cold. If has vibrated happily from he's BUT then it all smooths out when warm.

Now my intention is to buy a new Evoque because I just think the Discovery Sport is just too dull and boring inside and out...I am sorry but I do not see this stylish wonder that others seem to..it just looks...DULL but it happens that today I was at my Dealership watching a delivery of current Discovey's and Discovery Sports. Yes the new engine is quieter but..well....it is not a thing of joy either..it sounds dull and just good enough. The old 3.0Sdi engine in the Discovery's was in comparison...wonderful!

So I just wish LR would make a 3.0Sdi Evoque..PLEASE...at a current £52000 on the the road surely you could afford it and what an advance it would be!!!

ftm594 7 August 2015


Note my iPad word mangler altered several things above.".
..read "turbo lag" and "....it has vibrated happily fom new..." Also...I would say the new engine from listening on the pavement sounds better than the Audi/BMW/Mercedes competition but it is still not far fom listening to a Ford Transit..no hushed idle from this four cylinder....no only a six cylinder diesel is capable of aural pleasure. So yes LR..get that engine fitted please so premium personal buyers can have a nice car and leave the four pots to the Fleet buyers!