Performance means different things to different people. When it comes to vehicles, the concept commonly refers to superior driving dynamics on a paved road or track. This makes it easy to forget that trucks and SUVs that can scramble across unimproved terrain equally deserve inclusion in the pantheon of performance vehicles.
Keeping this in mind, take a look at the new 2019 Land Rover Discovery SVX, which debuted at the 2017 International Auto Show in Frankfurt, Germany. Tuned for maximum off-roading capability by Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) team, it boldly goes where few factory-spec Discoveries have gone before.
Land Rover isn’t shy about making it clear that the Discovery SVX is special. Styling cues are derived from Camel Trophy and G4 Challenge Discovery models, as reflected in Rush Orange highlights for the recovery hooks, wheel inserts, fender vents, and more.
Painted Tectonic Gray with a glare-reducing hood finish, the Discovery SVX features aluminum skid plate and side sill protection trim and Narvik Black accents all around. Land Rover also includes functional off-roading elements such as roof lighting and a rear-mounted electronic winch system.
Inside, a Lunar and Light Oyster color combination receives more Rush Orange detailing. The leather seats have unique X-logo perforations, and “SVX” is embossed on the front seatbacks. Owners can use the Activity Key, a wristband that locks and unlocks the doors, while participating in active lifestyle adventures.
Though developed for superior off-roading capability, the Discovery SVX is undeniably quick, thanks to a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 engine developing 510 horsepower and approximately 460 lb.-ft. of torque. This is a substantial upgrade from current gasoline and diesel 6-cylinder engines, and accelerates the SVX to 60 mph in a claimed 5.3 seconds.
A recalibrated 8-speed sport automatic transmission is included with the SVX, and it ditches the rotary shift dial in standard Discoveries for a new Pistol Shifter design.
The Discovery SVX also gets a specially tuned version of Land Rover’s Terrain Response System 2 technology, All-Terrain Progress Control, Adaptive Dynamics, and active center and electronic rear locking differentials. Collectively, these features allow the driver to tailor the SUV’s powertrain dynamics to specific driving situations.
To improve off-roading capability, Land Rover lifts the Discovery SVX’s 4-corner air suspension and the SUV’s body in order to maximum ground clearance as well as angles of approach, breakover, and departure. This version of the Discovery also employs Hydraulic-Active Roll Control (H-ARC) for increased wheel articulation along with superior body control.
Variable ratio, electric steering guides the Discovery SVX’s larger 275/55 Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tires, which are mounted to 20-inch forged aluminum wheels. Land Rover says this choice provides greater grip in muddy conditions and on soft surfaces.
Pairing a powerful engine and sophisticated drivetrain and suspension technologies within one of the world’s most off-road-capable SUVs might represent a different twist on the concept of performance, but the new 2019 Discovery SVX will be able to go where few sport-utilities have gone before, and quickly.
Land Rover will build each Discovery SVX by hand at the company’s SVO Technical Centre in the United Kingdom, and production starts in 2018.