05 Feb Land Rover Discovery ALL NEW
It wasn’t all smoke and mirrors, either. Yes, the Disco Vision trails what LR calls a ‘future Discovery family’ – including an all-new smaller Discovery Sport to replace the Freelander – but the other big news in this mission statement is that JLR as a whole wants the world to know what a humungous technology player it now is. JLR is UK PLC’s biggest R&D investor – £3.5bn this year alone – which is partly why it’s also a good fit as the first partner for Sir Dickie Branson’s long-gestating commercial space-liner odyssey. We’ll get back to you with more details on that…
Anyway, back to the car. The Vision concept might feature seven full-size seats and a remarkably versatile cabin, but that’s just the start. Among the innovations showcased include an autonomous drive feature, gesture control, smart glass, new age Terrain Response with laser scanning capability, and a head-up display that extends as far as a transparent bonnet.
The Vision concept also sees the first outing for the company’s latest HMI – Human Machine Interface – thinking, which sets new standards for connectivity while aiming to minimise driver distraction. ‘We believe the next 25 years will be the most exciting and dynamic the car industry has ever experienced. The [Discovery Vision Concept] scopes out the technologies we’ll see emerging in that time,’ JLR’s research and technology director Dr Wolfgang Epple says.
We welcome your comments about the Vision’s looks. The current Disco is arguably the world’s most capable all-rounder, but its chunky design was more of a hit in the design community than it was with punters. The stepped roof, clamshell bonnet, alpine lights and command driving position are all intact, but design boss Gerry McGovern and his team clearly couldn’t resist importing some Range Rover cues. Jewel-like headlights use LEDs and lasers, and there are bespoke Pirellis wrapped around enormous 23in alloy wheels. The concept has rear-hinged ‘coach doors’, opening onto a vast and vastly impressive interior. Gesture control has done away with conventional handles.
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