According to the brand the Land Rover Discovery “is now on a journey of transformation” and will be a “radical departure from Discovery as we know it, symbolising the essence of the premium, lifestyle-oriented SUV” – a distinct shift from the outgoing, offroad-focused generation. The concept shows styling clearly referencing past models while overwhelmingly referencing current Range Rover design cues.
It trades the model’s iconic box shape and geometrical lines for softer surfacing and sleeker detailing, though the trademark stepped roofline remains, albeit in subtle form. Slimline headlights and grille now wrap around the body as they do in a Range Rover Evoque and Sport, complementing the curvature body detailing around the much higher beltline.
Laser headlights are used on the concept car, with LED running lights, although this feature is unlikely to make series production before it does on the Range Rover Vogue.
Although wrap-around tail-lights at the rear are also new, other deliberate styling cues that link to older Discovery models include the “asymmetrical graphic element” on the rear number plate surround and the body-coloured C-pillar.
Doors on the Vision Concept are operated by gesture control, side steps deploy electrically, while the split tail-gate of previous Discoverys is replaced by a single-piece tailgate, but with an “event platform” that electrically slides out from the rear bumper to create a “social seat system” in the luggage area. It is unclear which of these items will make production.
Inside, another classic Land Rover Discovery feature – theatre-style tiered seating – is retained for the ‘2+3+2’ layout, while a dashboard with an expansive horizontal trim strip divided by two vertical console lines borrows heavily again from Range Rover.
The second and third rows can slide backwards and forwardly, both independently or as a complete row, with ‘theatre row’ or ‘table row’ folding flexibility creating multiple seating modes.
In four seat mode the two middle chairs ‘theatre fold’ flush into the floor to create expansive legroom for the two third row passengers. In five seat mode the middle second row seat can then be raised, while the outboard middle seats can either be folded completely or fold onto themselves and used as tables. In six seat mode the two outboard chairs can be raised and that middle pew can also ‘table fold’ onto itself.
Concept-car features inside include gesture hand control for the rear entertainment screens, steering wheel-mounted small touchscreens to operate the infotainment system, and a premium leather used that “is specially treated to make it completely washable”.
Smart glass is also used on all windows, allowing on the concept the creation of an “augmented reality” that in concert with head-up displays, eye-tracking sensors and the vehicle’s internet-linked sat-nav shows information on the glass relevant to the vehicle surroundings.
The smart glass also works with a Transparent Bonnet function (above) utilises cameras in the front grille that then connects the view below the windscreen with what the driver can see through the windscreen to create a ‘see through’ bonnet effect, handy particularly when offroading.
Laser terrain scanning technology can also scan then draw bumpy terrain on the Discovery Vision Concept’s centre screen, while laser referencing tech can physically draw objects on the road ahead such as warning triangles where required.
The Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept includes a similar version of the outgoing model’s Terrain Response four-wheel-drive system – with hill descent control, wet grass traction control, high and low range, and wade aid – but on the concept autonomous offroading is also available using the multitude of systems and sensors available.
While the production Land Rover Discovery will go on-sale next year, the British brand has also confirmed that from 2015 onwards the Discovery will encompass a whole breed of vehicles set to be “the best designed and most premium, practical versatile vehicles in their class,” all but confirming rumours the next generation Freelander will be known as Discovery Sport.
Click the Photos tab above for more images of the Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept.