Paris. Fashion week is yet to finishing blowing through the capital, but it will take some show to upstage the kitsch, colourific display held by Land Rover on the banks of the Seine to officially unveil the new Discovery Sport.
Flying the car up the river (á la Jaguar XE) had been mooted, then spiked by the French authorities. So instead of swooping, we got chugging, the huge barge chartered for the task hitting its mark at a tardy crawl. Dressed in astroturf and littered with wellies the size of phone boxes, the set was empty for what seemed like an age before our star entered stage right (and left) to dawdle up ‘n’ down artificial dale for the cameras.
The message – a jumbled tribute to the previous Disco’s established identity – hardly seemed to matter. This was much more about Land Rover as it is now; a climactic, cash-rich candy box of ideas and enthusiasm. For all the bemusement in the assembled legion of journalists at the peculiarity of the slow-moving stunt, the real meaning registered loud and clear: currently only one manufacturer has the devil-may-care confidence and financial clout to pull this kind of thing off – and it pulled pillow-lipped Rosie Huntington-Whiteley from the hat at the death to prove it.
What current owners of the Disco – particularly those running MkIIs into the muddy ground – would have thought of the hoopla is anyone’s guess. And also another moot point; the Discovery Sport is laser-targeted at the upwardly mobile crowd currently outgrowing the Evoque. When the Freelander disappears early next year, Land Rover won’t have a sub £26k entry-level option – not until it gets all funky and feisty with the next-generation Defender, anyway.