A new member of the Land Rover lineup has passed by our headquarters. The 2012 Land Rover Discovery 4 Luxury Pack was part of our garage for the weekend, and we found out that it has more Range Rover than ever before. The extensive facelift and fourth iteration of the Discovery model series features many changes – more mechanical than cosmetic – with the new V6 diesel engine being the highlight of the special package available at our disposal.
The 3.0 V6 Diesel power plant produces up to 275bhp at 4,000rpm and a massive 600Nm of torque at 2,000rpm. Weighing 140kg less than Discovery 3 and with an additional amount of oomph over the previous engine, the Discovery 4 responds quite briskly and has enough forward push in the complete rev band. The throttle response is excellent with the engine delivering 500Nm in only 500 milliseconds from idle. This means you have instantaneous access to 83 percent of the maximum torque.
The eight-speed automatic transmission is another game changer in this package. It provides closer gear ratios with a higher overdrive ratio and allows for near seamless gear changes. Driver Type Detection monitors your inputs and the car’s systems to optimize the response of the gearbox to your style, while Curve Detection makes sure the gearbox avoids unwanted up shifts and holds on to the same gear when taking a sequence of bends.
In conjunction with the new transmission, the Discovery 4 is equipped with the ‘Drive Select’ rotary gear shift with park, drive, neutral, reverse and sport modes and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifts used on Range Rover and Jaguar models are fitted as well.
The All Terrain Response controls moved from a rotary dial to a series of switches to quickly select the correct mode for road, ice/snow, off road, sand and serious off road plus low ratio and hill descent control. Two additional functions have been added, hill start assist and gradient acceleration control. An electronic parking brake is also standard fit and our HSE version had adjustable ride height air suspension.
The upgraded 2012 MY Discovery model is still a hardcore off roader, even though it moved significantly upmarket getting closer to the position of the Range Rover Sport. The off-road capabilities of the 4×4 are stunning to say the least. Via the central display you have the option to open the Land Rover 4x4i application, which will show you where the front wheels are pointing, the vertical movement of each of the wheels and which differentials are locked. We didn’t test the outer limits of the new Discovery 4, but we did found out that they are well beyond the scope of the average family adventure.
On the road, the Land Rover has an intimidating on-road presence combining a pleasant boxy design, a Range Rover-like front fascia with a new more prominent grille and LED bulbs for the rear lamps and front sidelights. The surplus of power from the engine and the adjustable air suspension contribute to a powerful and soft, but never overly-floaty ride. As a result, it is a hugely refined highway tourer capable of taking the dirt road whenever necessary. The steering feels too direct at first, but after a while sufficiently weighty at normal highway speeds.
On the level of refinement, our tester was packed with every option you can think of. Out of the three new option packs two were fitted to our SUV. The HSE Luxury Pack includes xenon adaptive front headlamps including cornering lamps, Harman Kardon 17-speaker 825W audio system, premium leather pack, full-length roof rails in satin black, electric steering column adjustment for height and reach and an electric tilt/slide sunroof and the front center console holds even a cooler box. The Technology Pack offered us a navigation system via the five inch central display incorporating 4x4i off-road navigation, as well as ‘Say What You See’ voice activation and parking aids for the front and rear with rear view cameras.
The updated interior of the Discovery 4 provides a pleasant place to stay. The seats are excellent, the build quality more than sufficient. The range topping HSV trim offered us Range Rover levels of luxury thanks to a leather trimmed dash. The level of quality and refinement inside the Discovery 4 is every bit as good as its highfaluting cousin. The Land Rover Discovery 4 can take up to seven occupants via two additional seats on the third row. The second and third row of multi-configurable seats can be folded away offering a near-flat floor and 1,950 liters of van-like space. With only the third row stashed away you have 1,124 liters!
The Discovery’s balance between on-road and off-road ability is – without a doubt – class leading. Land Rover is stepped up the game with the Discovery addressing those areas where improvement was necessary. Owners will be touching the levels of refinement found in a Range Rover. The gap between the two is hardly visible if you do not look at the batches on both.
The Discovery 4 excels in versatility combining seven seats or loads of luggage space with interior refinement and an excellent diesel engine with a highly useable everyday performance. As a heavyweight go anywhere 4×4 there is simply no better in its playing field. All the number improvements keep it ahead of its competitors.