The adoption of the Range Rover Sport’s all-aluminium monocoque is actually a reversal of the previous model’s relationship with its sibling.

Previously, it was the Sport that followed the Discovery, employing the same two-chassis system (dubbed the Integrated Body Frame by Land Rover), despite its on-road bent.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Chief tester
A full-sized spare wheel is housed on the underside of the car and is essential if you plan on doing any serious off-roading

The amalgamation of a unitary body (incorporating the engine bay and passenger cell) with a ladder frame was ideal for the peculiar combination of durability and imperiousness that made the Discovery famous.

Yet it was heavy and technically complicated to manufacture, making its replacement with current shared architecture as inevitable as the styling rethink.

Make what you will of the vehicle’s appearance – Land Rover is adamant that the softening of the previous model’s idiosyncratic lines was essential to broadening its appeal – but the new architecture brings more interior space as a result of a longer wheelbase and the better all-round performance that comes with a weight loss of up to 480kg, depending on model.

The drastic reduction in mass has permitted Gaydon to overhaul the engine line-up. In early iterations the Discovery was offered with four-cylinder engines, but as it moved through life cycles it ended up as a six-cylinder-only option.

Now a four is back in the form of the latest and most powerful variant of the Ingenium family, alongside a revamped 254bhp 3.0-litre diesel V6 and a 335bhp supercharged 3.0-litre petrol V6.

Sequential twin turbochargers coax 237bhp from the direct-injected 2.0-litre diesel, although it will be the range-best 171g/km of CO2 and 43.5mpg combined economy that distinguish the engine for most buyers.

Every engine is mated to a ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard, and you can add a two-speed transfer box for low-range gearing, which chiefly differentiates the Discovery from the single-speed Range Rover Sport. Otherwise the permanent, adaptive four-wheel drive system is identical. 

Compared with the Discovery 4, Land Rover has decreased ground clearance by 27mm, but wading depth has increased by 200mm.

Four-corner adjustable air suspension features, in conjunction with front double wishbones and a rear multi-link layout that retains Gaydon’s characteristic integral link.

Both are mounted on steel subframes designed to withstand knocks and bangs should you finally overcome half a metre of wheel articulation.

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