That Time Land Rover Made A 518bhp Supercharged V8 'Discovery SVX'
The current generation Land Rover Discovery is being touted by many motoring journalists like Auto Express, Autocar and Carwow as one of the best 7-seat large family SUVs you can buy, and for good reason - it offers acres of space for a big family, and both you and the kids will really like the luxurious feel of the interior and the nice, comfortable leather seats.
In fact, speaking of the Discovery, I remember when my dad used to have a 2005 Discovery 3 TDV6 HSE when I was 10 years old. Because my dad had the HSE specification it was pretty much loaded to the gills with all the bells and whistles, including but not limited to, tri-zone climate control, heated front & rear seats (which were upholstered in a really nice cream leather!), DVD player (which was actually a third-party Rosen unit), colour sat-nav, rear audio controls, you name it! Plus, its air suspension meant it was a very comfortable car to travel in…
But back to the main subject of this post. In 2017, Land Rover was planning a version of the Discovery that was to be more capable off-road than the already very off-road capable standard Disco, and much faster as well - called the Discovery SVX. It was revealed at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2017.
Special Vehicle Operations were already making faster versions of JLR’s cars, badged SVR, and making them more luxurious in the SVAutobiography, but the Discovery SVX was to be the first car to get the SVX treatment.
The improvements over the standard Disco were quite significant. The standard car’s air suspension had been fitted with longer travel dampers and revised knuckles, and there were also new forged wheels measuring 20 inches in diameter, shod in Goodyear Wrangler off-road tyres measuring 815mm in diameter.
And it didn’t stop there. In addition to these enhancements, others like an active centre differential, locking rear diff, and revisions to the software for Terrain Response 2 and the All-Terrain Progress control along with other various systems were fitted as well.
But the biggest change was to be found under the bonnet, where JLR’s familiar 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine resides. In the Disco SVX it produced 518 bhp and 625 Nm of torque, which in true Land Rover fashion, was sent to all four wheels through an 8-speed ZF automatic gearbox, albeit controlled through a conventional gear shifter instead of the standard car’s rotary controller. Inside, there were also bespoke seats with ‘X’ motifs in their stitching.
All this had hardcore Land Rover fans salivating with excitement, and it was due to go on sale by the end of 2018. But 2018 came and went, and the Discovery SVX was nowhere to be seen. Then, in February 2019, Land Rover announced the news that no hardcore Land Rover fan wanted to hear - the Discovery SVX had been cancelled. Boo hoo.
So why was it cancelled? Well, there are many reasons why. You see, at the time, Jaguar Land Rover were suffering from huge losses, with quarterly losses in February 2019 reported to be as high as £3.4 billion. Three. Point. Four. BILLION. POUNDS. And no, that was not a typo - I didn’t mean to say £3.4 million, I meant to say £3.4 billion. This was due to shrinking demand in China, and this, combined with other factors including but not limited to, Brexit uncertainty and shrinking demand for diesel-powered cars, ultimately forced the company to pull the plug on the Discovery SVX.
When I first heard about this, I was quite sad that it had been cancelled, and I even remember commenting on the Top Gear article for this, saying that “if I were a teacher at school and I had Land Rover as a student in my class, I’d send them straight to the principal’s office for cancelling the Disco SVX”. But having seen the replies I got on the comment, and an article from Autocar explaining their opinion on the cancellation of the Disco SVX, I now understand that the cancellation of the Discovery SVX - and the Range Rover SV Coupé that was cancelled a month prior - is the right move, as it means that Land Rover can now focus on models that will sell in big numbers, like the new Defender.
I think this will be very important to the survival of JLR, because to put the Range Rover SV Coupé and the Discovery SVX into production anyway despite the big losses the company was suffering would have been a mistake of epic proportions. And the new Defender should help bring in huge sales numbers for the company.
Plus, there is still hope that the SVX badge may live on - according to Top Gear, Land Rover also said that they were “investigating opportunities to bring Land Rover vehicles with enhanced all-terrain capability to market in the future,” so who knows what the future may hold for Land Rover…