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During the late 1990s, the Discovery was redesigned as ‘Project Tempest’. This new Discovery was launched in 1999 as the Discovery Series II, a name carefully chosen to invoke the history of the original Land Rover Series II vehicles. The Series II looked very similar in appearance to its predecessors, but also included a variety of new features – 720 differences, to be precise! The Freelander’s Hill Descent Control (HDC) was fitted as standard, and new options also included Active Cornering Enhancement and rear Self-Levelling Suspension. The rear body panel was extended for more boot space and forward-facing seats fitted in the boot.
The locking centre differential was still fitted until early 2001, although the linkage to operate it was not attached because Land Rover believed that the traction control and newly developed Hill Descent Control, would render it redundant. The actual locking mechanism was removed in early 2001, before being fully reinstated (with linkage) with the facelifted 2003 model. Whilst the traction control system worked very effectively, it did not offer the same level of control and smooth operation as the vehicles fitted with the differential lock. Customer demand saw the diff. lock controls fully reinstated as a cost option only.
The “facelift” models are easily identified by new “pocketed” headlamps (which matched the Range Rover and facelifted Freelander models) as well as redesigned turn and brake lamps on the rear of the vehicle. The turn signals were moved from the bumper to the high side fixtures. The earlier Series II models could in turn be easily distinguished from the original Discovery by those stop light fixtures above the window-line (earlier models had them below).
The All-New Discovery 3
New engines include a 2.7 litre TDV6 turbo-diesel for the European market. A different version of the base V6 has already been seen on the Jaguar S-Type, but the Land Rover variant is capable of 190bhp and 440Nm of torque. A compacted graphite iron block is used. A second engine option is a 4.0 litre 215bhp petrol V6 that puts out 360Nm of torque. 6 speed automatic and manual gearboxes are also provided.
The Discovery 3 also sees the advent of fully independent suspension in the Discovery range. Most Discovery 3s will be fitted with air springs similar to those used on the Range Rover, but coil springs will be available for entry level models. Body constructions was a monocoque on a ladder frame chassis. This made the vehicle heavier, but also much stronger.
2008 saw the Discovery awarded Best Tow Car Award.
The Discovery 4 came along in 2009. The biggest change was the arrival of a powerful and refined 3.0 litre diesel. This 245bhp twin-turbo 3.0 litre TDV6 eventually replaced the entry-level 2.7 litre diesel, which was available in the previous Discovery, and despite being larger, offers better fuel consumption and lower emissions. It also featured LED Signature headlights and won Best Used SUV Award in 2016.
Discovery 5 – The New Land Rover Discovery
Land Rover unveiled the Discovery 5 with the help of the world’s largest ever Lego model – a recreation of London’s Tower Bridge made from 5,805,846 individual bricks. Led by the UK’s only Lego Certified Professional, Duncan Titmarch, the structure took five months for expert UK Lego Master Builders to complete.
Olympian Sailor Ben Ainslie drove his team through almost a metre of water, while towing 186,500 Lego bricks made into a copy of the boat competing in the America Cup.
Royal rider Princess Zara Phillips then took to the stage showcasing equestrian ties, jumping over an obstacle between the two models. Bear Grylls was also at the launch, in his very own Adventure Zone – complete with boulders and fire to represent a mountain expedition. You can also see Bear skydiving from a plane in this promo video, reconfiguring the seating arrangement in the Discovery 5 below.
The launch saw JLR brake a Guinness World Record by an incredible 470,646 pieces of Lego with their Tower Bridge idea.
Chief Design Officer, Gerry McGovern, redefines the large SUV with the Discovery 5; he used Discovery DNA to create a highly desirable, versatile and extremely capable premium SUV.
Codename L550 – A new model in the Discovery line up. Launched September 2014 on a 250ft Wellington Boot Barge on the River Seine. British Supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley swapped catwalks for cars as she unveiled the new Land Rover Discovery Sport. The former Victoria’s Secret Angel bought chic, British style to launch as she stepped out of the Discovery Sport.
With a maximum safety rating, it achieved five-star Euro NCAP. It is also fitted with Land Rover’s Terrain Response system, providing optimum settings for all driving conditions.
It includes some of the world’s first safety features, such as Autonomous Emergency Breaking, pedestrian airbag and lane departure warning.
Winner of What Car 2015 Award, establishing the Discovery Sport’s entry into the compact SUV segment, with its ground-breaking packaging, advanced engineering and its ingenious 5+2 interior configuration within a compact vehicle footprint