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Land Rover upgrades Discovery, Range Rover Sport

Diesel do: Land Rover Australia settles for older drivelines in its MY2012 Discovery and Range Rover Sport as Europe gets more efficiency tech and eight-speed transmissions.

More kit for Discovery, Range Rover Sport but Oz to miss out on efficiency upgrades

7 Jul 2011

LAND Rover’s Discovery 4 and Range Rover Sport will each gain extra equipment, mild exterior tweaks and new option packs from November as part of a 2012 model-year update.

However Australia misses out on the tweaked, more efficient 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel engine and ZF eight-speed automatic transmission that is now being rolled out on European-delivered models.

The Discovery remains powered by 2.7-litre and 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesels plus a naturally-aspirated 5.0-litre V8, while the Range Rover Sport gets the latter two engines plus a supercharged V8. All models retain the six-speed automatic transmission.

A combination of engine and aerodynamic tweaks plus the addition of an eight-speed transmission enable European Discos and Sports to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by about 5.5 per cent to 8.8 litres per 100km and 230 grams per kilometre.

Meanwhile, peak power increases four per cent to 188kW, helping the Discovery lop the 0-100km/h time by three-tenths to 9.3 seconds (8.9s on Range Rover Sport).

It is the latest example of technology enabling a win-win situation, unlike the fuel crisis of the 1970s in which many engines were crudely strangulated in desperate attempts to reduce consumption.

24 center imageLeft: Side view of the facelifted Discovery. Below: Refreshed Range Rover Sport.

Land Rover Australia brand manager Tim Krieger told GoAuto that Australia would eventually receive the new driveline package, but could not divulge when.

In the meantime, Aussie customers will have to make do with the improved equipment, extra colour schemes and new option packs on the MY2012 Discovery and Range Rover Sport – for which pricing is yet to be announced.

Both models move a step up in terms of infotainment tech, starting with an improved eight-speaker standard sound system now with Bluetooth, USB and iPod connectivity.

Audiophiles can upgrade through a 380W, 11-speaker Harman Kardon system to a full-blown 825W, 17-speaker ‘LOGIC 7’ setup. Both systems can be voice-controlled and represent significant upgrades from the previously-available 240W/nine-speaker or 480W/14-speaker configurations.

The base sound system in the Discovery is now controlled via a colour screen, while the Range Rover Sport gets an optional Dual View touch-screen that enables driver and front passenger to see different content, for example navigation for the driver and DVD for the passenger.

Rear seat entertainment is also upgraded with the inclusion of ‘WhiteFire’ cordless headphones and disc input switching from a boot-mounted DVD changer to the more conveniently-located dashboard-mounted head unitThe system is also compatible with games consoles and can play downloaded MP4 videos stored on USB devices.

The Discovery gets two new option packs, with the Technology pack adding a premium navigation system that contains off-road maps, voice recognition and ‘parking aids’ for the front- and rear-view cameras.

The Vision Assist pack comprises automatic, adaptive Xenon front headlights with cornering function and high beam assist, plus a surround camera system including approach lamps, tow assist and tow hitch assist.

MY2012 Discos also feature interior design touches including revised wiper and indicator stalks and chrome instrument bezels with clearer symbols.

Externally, the alloy wheel design previously exclusive to high-spec MY11 HSE variants is now standard lower in the range, while a new 19-inch alloy design takes its place on the HSE. Split-five-spoke 20-inch rims in gloss black become optional across the range, as do extended satin black roof rails.

The Range Rover Sport gains a redesigned one-piece automatic tailgate fashioned from aluminium to offset the extra weight of the electric motors. Autobiography Sport and Limited Edition variants get refreshed interior colour schemes.

Gloss black headlight inners and grille surround, body-coloured door handles and subtle colour changes to the grille, side vent, bonnet badges and tow-eye round off the external changes, while supercharged variants get the option of new 20-inch ‘Sparkle Silver’ high-gloss alloy wheels.

Last month the Discovery was third most popular luxury SUV in Australia, having sold 261 units to take a 9.4 per cent segment share, although sales were down four per cent compared with June 2010. Year-to-date, Discovery sales are up 4.1 per cent.

172 Range Rover Sports were sold last month, an increase of 52.2 per cent on last June. The model is up 24.5 per cent YTD, contributing to Land Rover’s overall 18.7 rise in sales so far this year. June sales were also up 11.1 per cent.

The British off-road brand’s rise will no doubt continue apace with the arrival of the highly-anticipated, game-changing Range Rover Evoque in November.

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