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The Discovery SVX is Land Rover’s ultimate off-roader
Want to go further and faster in your Disco? Of course you do. Meet the 518bhp SVX
If you own a new Discovery, lack of off-road ability probably isn’t top of your list of complaints, but JLR’s special vehicle operations (SVO) department doesn’t care – it’s built the ultimate off-road Disco anyway. Officially still a concept, although you’ll be able to buy one in 2018, it’s the first model to wear the SVX badge – denoting its superior bog-wading capabilities. That makes it SVO’s third sub-brand following silly-fast SVRs, and ultra-luxe SVAutobiographies.
Although these pictures suggest SVO have restrained from giving it the full Tomb Raider treatment, it’s done a typically thorough job. Not least in the engine bay, where the only choice is a 518bhp 5.0-litre supercharged V8 – thirsty, yes, but also torquey and unreasonably fast. We approve. It also debuts a hydraulic active roll control system, which simultaneously increases wheel articulation and reduces body roll – so it should handle its mass in corners slightly better than the standard car.
Then again the tyres might have something to say about that – larger (815mm diameter) Goodyear Wranglers are designed for mud not motorways with their taller side walls and aggressive tread pattern. The centre of gravity is higher, too, thanks to raised air suspension with long-travel dampers and revised knuckles.
With such wholesale changes to the chassis, the software has been reprogrammed to keep up. So there are tweaks to the eight-speed auto, Terrain Response 2 system and electronic power steering. Inside, you’ll find a “pistol shifter” gear lever instead of the usual rotary dial to make gear selection in extreme off-road conditions that little bit easier, says Land rover.
Visual changes are designed to reference heroic G4 Challenge and Camel Trophy competitors of the past. Unique front and rear bumpers are fitted with skid plates and orange recovery eyes (rated to recover vehicles up to six tonnes), while there’s an electric winch at the rear. If you’re planning to find yourself belly-up in a ditch then, best to take a Discovery SVX with you.
Light pods on the roof, Tectonic grey paint with Rush Orange accents inside and out, plus a smattering of badges finish off the burly makeover. So what do we think, is a V8-powered off-road-focused special edition of the world’s most capable off-roader a brand stretch too far? Or have JLR’s skunkworks hit the Jackpot? Thoughts below…