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by Tim Beissmann

Land Rover is considering a more performance-oriented version of the new Discovery Sport to rival the likes of the Audi SQ5.

Land Rover director of programs Murray Dietsch admitted that the mid-sized Discovery Sport (pictured) was not an “outwardly sporty vehicle”, but responded “I’d like to one” when asked about the possibility of a more powerful variant.

“We’ll see how it goes with the market,” Dietsch told Australian journalists in Paris.

The Australian-born engineer said that a sporty Discovery Sport, while entirely hypothetical at the moment, would not necessarily use a high-power turbo petrol engine, but could feature a torquey diesel similar to the Audi SQ5.

“We’ve got sporty derivatives of other vehicles in Europe that have got higher output engines that are diesel, so it would be horses for courses I think,” he said.

“If you did a 300hp [224kW] petrol or something like that then there’s probably not going to be a huge amount of call for it in Europe, but if you did a 250hp [186kW] diesel then there might be.”

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Land Rover design director Gerry McGovern said the company was working on flagship variants for every model across its three pillars – Discovery, Range Rover and Defender – employing a structure similar to that of Mercedes-Benz’s AMG, with special variants sitting atop regular model lines.

He insisted, however, that halo models needed to be consistent with the philosophy of the pillar they belong to.

“We just have to be careful that these special editions, personalisations…” McGovern started. “It needs to be congruent with what that particular family is about.

“So if you’re doing special editions for Discoverys it should talk to some degree the versatility of that family, if it’s Defender it’s the durability and dual-purposeness of those vehicles, if it’s Range Rover it’s the sophistication and execution.”

The design added that “across all of that, I think there’s sporty versions of all these families as well”.

“What we’re trying to do is give the consumer more choice ultimately, but to do it in a way that maintains the integrity of the brand.”

The first of these special variants to launch will be the Range Rover Sport SVR, which goes on sale in Australia in May 2015, around the same time as the Discovery Sport.




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