(Image Credits: Land Rover)

Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations has turned out some pretty slick shit in its relatively short life so far; the Range Rover Sport SVR and Jaguar F-Type SVR are both filthy tarmac-torturers. But given Land Rover’s adventure pedigree we’ve been waiting for an off-road equivalent, and it looks like the Discovery SVX is landing soon to make that dream materialize.

It’s no new Defender, but it actually does look pretty badass for a sleek unibody seven-passenger civilized SUV.

Advertisement

The official press release out of the Frankfurt Motor Show bills the 2018 Land Discovery SVX as “the most extreme Land Rover yet” which is a pretty bold claim to make considering this same company has turned out off-road benchmarks like the Defender, Series trucks and, yeah, the early Discovery and Range Rover were pretty stout too if you could catch them on a day they were running properly.

Unfortunately we can’t get too far analyzing the Discovery SVX’s true potential because Land Rover is thus far remaining nebulous on the vehicles’s actual capabilities. The approach, breakover and departure angles are simply described as “improved” over a standard Discovery.

What we’re looking at in these images is what Land Rover calls a “production preview.” Meaning that, while it is promising the 2018 Discovery SVX will be a real thing, the vehicle here is more indicative of “the idea” of it than the actual execution. Read: those front-and-rear winches and probably the light bar will not make the options list.

Advertisement

For your reference, a regular Discovery has an approach angle of 23.6º, a ramp breakover of 20.1º and a departure angle of 25º. Ground clearance at its lowest point is 8.6 inches and the water-wading depth rating is a ridiculously deep 33.4 inches according to Land Rover. So the SVX should smash all those numbers and, frankly, be a damn-decent off-roader.

The closest we’re getting to Disco SVX specs, officially, at this point are:

  • “Raised” unibody
  • Four-corner air suspension with “long-travel dampers and revised knuckles”
  • 31-inch Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tires
  • Active centre and electronic rear locking differentials
  • Terrain Response 2 selectable traction control software
  • Pistol-grip automatic transmission shifter (replacing the rotary dial)
  • An SVX-unique calibration of the eight-speed automatic transmission and “twin-speed transfer box” plus all of Land Rover’s regular off-road driving assistance toys.
  • Plus, of course, red recovery hooks. Oh, wait! Sorry! Make that orange hooks. (God forbid somebody confuses this with a peasant-spec Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk or anything.)
  • Hydraulic Active Roll Control (H-ARC)

H-ARC is supposed to provide “increased wheel articulation and improved body control, enhancing extreme off-road traction while also reducing body roll for smooth and sure-footed on-road driving” and is on the Discovery for the first time in the SVX.

The engine will be a a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 rated at 518 horsepower (525 metric horsepower, as Land Rover advertises it) and 561 lb-ft of torque.

The vehicle looks handsome, if you want my opinion. And I’m sure you do, since you clicked on my blog. Aggressive tires and a few choice trim pieces go a long way to making the slightly-too-smooth Discovery look mean enough to be worthy of its green oval badge.

Yes, we see the cable dangling this poor thing down a cliff.

And the idea of capability is what makes Land Rovers so popular for suburban use anyway.

Advertisement

Part of me feels like we shouldn’t get too attached to this orange-trimmed try-hard, like it’s the dorky step dad fixing to get his ass kicked once the big daddy Defender gets out of jail and comes home. Like that terrible Will Ferrel movie.

But as Jeep has proven, there’s plenty of room for an agricultural off-road vehicle and a luxury-spec SUV redressed for off-road use in the same lineup. With that in mind, the Discovery SVX could be a pretty sweet looking holdover for people with old Land Rover wants but new Land Rover needs. (I expect non-Land Rover fans will just save $30,000 and get a Jeep, like always.)

As for pricing, nothing’s been confirmed yet. But a Range Rover Sport starts at about $65,000 and once SVO has breathed on it, that number jumps to about $120,000. A Discovery lists at about $50,000, and I wouldn’t expect the Discovery SVX will ring up much below $75,000.

Advertisement

As a former Land Rover Discovery owner myself and a confessed LR fanboy, I’m pretty excited. This is exactly the kind of vehicle I’d like to drive out of my glass office and onto the Tanzanian wilderness in my rich-guy-with-new-car fantasies.