THE ARRIVAL of the uber off-road version of the new Discovery – Discovery SVX – that was first announced in 2017, is now not happening, with Land Rover terminating the model before a chunky wheel has been turned in anger off-road.
This announcement follows other sad news for cashed-up Landy-philes: the recent deletion of what was to be a limited-run Range Rover SV Coupe two-door. Neither announcement is unexpected in light of the recent the recent news of record losses – a hefty $550 million – in quarter four of 2018 for Jaguar Land Rover.
These losses have been attributed to the growing anti-diesel sentiment and tighter emission restrictions from government bodies. Add in a significant drop in sales in China, the continued political mess of Brexit in the UK, and having to make 10 per cent of its workforce redundant as a result of aforementioned factors, and it’s been a tough year for the Brit off-road icon.
Dubbed “the ultimate all-terrain Land Rover Discovery” by Land Rover, the SVX was to be the first Landy to be fitted with a monster 386kW/625Nm supercharged 5.0-litre V8 petrol donk. On top of this powerplant, the SVX featured raised body height (over the standard Disco), significant suspension mods, beefy 275/55 R20 Goodyear Wrangler rubber wrapped around forged-alloy wheels, integrated rear-mount electric winch, and front recovery points.
The SVX also included Hydraulic Active Roll Control (H-ARC) for improved wheel articulation off-road (when combined with the SVX’s unique revised knuckles and long-travel shocks), and a tighter rein on bodyroll on-road.
Land Rover sources are saying this is not the end of its Special Vehicles Operations section of the brand, with numerous SVO-tweaked vehicles still in the works or, in the case of the recent Rangie Velar SVR, very close to release. Whether there will be a re-born or revised Discovery SVX, though, remains to be seen, with Land Rover only hinting at future developments by saying that the SVX is no longer going ahead in “its current form”.
With that supercharged V8 now deemed not applicable for the current Discovery, there would seem to be a dearth of powerplant options for any future souped-up Disco. The recently announced supercharged/turbocharged 294kW/550Nm 3.0-litre Ingenium straight-six petrol is the obvious replacement, with this new donk able to be suitably boosted (excuse the pun) to produce even more grunt in line with SVO expectations.
Plus, as part of a modular-style engine family (the new six joins a four-cylinder and upcoming 1.5-litre three-cylinder Ingenium engines) it makes for cheaper overall production costs for JLR, and it could also be slotted into the upcoming all-new Defender as a hero model for that line-up.
With the increasing swing against diesel-powered vehicles, and the impressive improvement in fuel efficiency and low-rpm torque delivery found in LR’s Ingenium turbo-petrol donks (not to mention its hybrid powerplants), this may be the time for Land Rover to return to its petrol-powered origins.