Discovery Sport was subject to a punishing test schedule to guarantee the class-leading all-terrain capability essential to Land Rover DNA. Approach, departure, and breakover angles have been optimised, the suspension has been designed to be as compliant as possible, and the electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) has been tuned to minimise kickback off-road and reduce driver workload. Land Rover engineers even focused on increasing refinement on the ABS modulator, reducing noise levels when Hill Descent Control® (HDC) is active.
Thousands of hours have been invested in tackling the challenging Big Red sand dunes in Dubai, driving through deep snow and over icy lakes in Sweden, and the deep mud and clay and steep inclines of Land Rover’s Eastnor Castle off-road facility in the UK. The result is the most capable vehicle in its class.
Discovery Sport has also been optimised to provide excellent refinement, comfort and handling on the road, with exhaustive tests on everything from British B-roads to the Nürburgring Nordschleife. The new multi-link rear axle, for instance, ensures exceptional refinement and agility, while the suspension compliance that’s key to the Discovery Sport’s off-road composure also makes for unruffled but rewarding progress on the road.
“The Land Rover Discovery’s versatility is all-pervasive,” says Nick Veale, Chief Engineer, D8 Vehicle Engineering. “Not only does it offer 5+2 seating, it’s also astonishingly capable off-road, can tow up to 2.5 tonnes and handles with an agility to entertain even the most demanding drivers. There’s no other compact premium SUV like it.”
Optimised ground clearance, and approach, departure and breakover angles
Discovery Sport’s body has been specially optimised to cope with challenging off-road terrain, with 212mm of ground clearance and class-leading approach, departure and breakover angles of 25, 31 and 21 degrees respectively. This means the front, middle or rear of the vehicle can climb up, over and down extreme obstacles at low speed. Four-wheel-drive variants can also scale incredibly steep gradients of 45 degrees, as much as 14 degrees more than other competitor SUVs. In extreme situations, lower trim on the front bumper can be removed to increase the approach angle still further.
Combined with excellent axle articulation, long-travel suspension, outstanding all-wheel-drive traction and all-terrain tyres, Discovery Sport provides peerless off-road performance.
Advanced Efficient Driveline four-wheel-drive system
All Discovery Sport derivatives are available with Land Rover’s Efficient Driveline four-wheel-drive system. This intelligent full-time four-wheel-drive system delivers outstanding performance and traction on all surfaces, and continuously varies the torque split front-to-rear. The latest Haldex centre coupling is now 4kg lighter, and is electronically controlled, allowing it to respond to wheel slip and driver demands far faster than a purely mechanical coupling. This provides excellent off-road capability together with enhanced agility on the road.
Active Driveline four-wheel drive for outstanding on- and off-road capability
Active Driveline is available on Discovery Sport SD4 and TD4 5-seat cars. A revolutionary on-demand driveline technology, Active Driveline can intelligently switch between two- and four-wheel drive as conditions dictate, combining both the fuel-saving benefits of two-wheel-drive with the all-terrain capability of four-wheel drive. On-road agility also increases with Active Driveline.
Four-wheel-drive is continuously engaged to provide large reserves of traction from a standstill, but a clutch completely disconnects the four-wheel-drive hardware – the propshaft, rear driveshafts, and rear differential and clutches – during normal steady-state driving at speeds above 22mph. This greatly reduces friction losses and hence fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Should the system detect wheel slip or a more dynamic driving style, four-wheel drive is re-engaged within 350 milliseconds.
Two electronically controlled clutches located either side of the rear differential distribute torque to the wheel with most grip as and when required. This improves on-road agility, while the rear axle can be entirely “locked” for maximum traction in very slippery conditions.
Active Driveline’s transition from two- to four-wheel drive is seamless, but drivers can monitor its operation via a dedicated 4x4i screen on the 8-inch touchscreen display.
Terrain Response® for effortless all-terrain capability
Terrain Response® maximises Discovery Sport’s performance and safety no matter how challenging the conditions. Easily controlled via an intuitive interface on the centre console, Terrain Response® allows Discovery Sport’s steering, throttle response, gearbox, centre-coupling and braking/stability systems to be precisely tailored to the demands of the terrain. Terrain Response® features four settings: General; Grass/Gravel/Snow (for slippery conditions on- and off-road); Mud and Ruts; and Sand.
Optimised for enthusiastic on-road driving, Dynamic mode is optionally available when Adaptive Dynamics MagneRide™ dampers are specified.
Wade Sensing™ removes the uncertainty from crossing deeper water
Discovery Sport can wade through water to a depth of 600mm, an invaluable benefit in off-road situations and when roads are flooded. Relaying information from sensors in the door mirrors, the Wade Sensing™ feature informs the driver of the water depth with a visual display on the vehicle’s 8-inch touchscreen and an audible tone that increases as the depth rises. The driver can see both the current depth of the water along with how much deeper the car can safely wade; this proves particularly invaluable during poor visibility or when driving at night.
The air intake is positioned high above the wheel arch to ensure no water enters the engine, while a rigorous testing procedure ensures all door seals are watertight. A particularly demanding part of the testing process called for the Discovery Sport to be parked in deep water, the doors opened and the interior flooded; after 30 minutes, Land Rover engineers were able to drive away.
A comprehensive suite of off-road technologies
Alongside Terrain Response® and Wade Sensing™, Discovery Sport also features additional off-road technologies. These include:
• Hill Descent Control® (HDC) maintains a set speed while negotiating steep inclines off-road
• Gradient Release Control® (GRC) progressively releases the brakes when moving away on an incline for maximum control
• Roll Stability Control (RSC) detects the onset of a rollover and applies the brakes to the outer wheels to bring the vehicle under control
• Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) corrects oversteer and understeer by reducing engine torque and/or applying brakes to individual wheels
• Electronic Traction Control (ETC) reduces torque and/or applies a braking force to individual wheels to prevent wheelspin
• Engine Drag torque Control (EDC) helps to prevent lock-up under heavy engine braking in slippery conditions by increasing engine torque to the affected wheels
Agile and rewarding handling on the road
Discovery Sport’s state-of-the-art chassis, with lightweight suspension architecture and advanced chassis technologies, has been optimised for dynamic handling and exceptional composure on-road. It is both fun to drive and incredibly comfortable for all occupants. A lightweight bodyshell with excellent torsional rigidity, long wheelbase, and a squat, muscular stance, provides the perfect base; steering response, ride comfort and agility all benefit.
Supple, long-travel suspension is attached to extremely stiff isolated subframes, with large-diameter gas damper struts at the front and all-new advanced multi-link suspension at the rear for a combination of agility, refinement and composure. Body roll is well contained, and body control remains exceptional over even the harshest surface. A high level of suspension compliance ensures the tyres’ contact patches remain in touch with even very rough road surfaces, increasing driver confidence and safety.
“The characteristics that make Discovery Sport so versatile off-road also make it a genuinely accomplished vehicle on-road,” said Mike Cross, Land Rover Chief Engineer, Vehicle Integrity. “The new multi-link rear axle provides incredible agility, while the vehicle’s composure not only helps on rough terrain, it also results in a controlled fluidity over British B-roads. It gives a keen driver more confidence, and all occupants a high level of comfort.”
Adaptive Dynamics with MagneRide™ dampers can also be specified, bringing even higher levels of occupant comfort and driver engagement. MagneRide™ dampers offer a wide range of adjustment, and adapt to road conditions and driver inputs near instantaneously thanks to a special damping fluid containing magnetic particles. When the particles are subjected to a magnetic field, the viscosity of the damper fluid is either increased or decreased, making the suspension stiffer or softer.
MagneRide™ dampers offer everything from an even more connected driving experience with minimised body roll and heightened agility, to increased compliance and therefore control in off-road environments.
Adaptive Dynamics introduces a driver-selectable Dynamic mode on the Terrain Response® system, increasing throttle, gearbox and differential response, along with suspension and steering firmness for additional driver reward.
Torque Vectoring by Braking (TVB) monitors dynamic behaviour and operates on all four wheels. Should understeer be detected, TVB applies a small braking force to the outside front wheels, subtly tightening the car’s line for additional agility and safety.
The electric power-assisted steering system (EPAS) has been tuned for excellent driver feedback on the road, while the steering rack is solidly mounted to the front subframe to further enhance precision.
Variable-ratio steering features on Discovery Sport, with a slower ratio around the centre position for excellent stability at speed, but a faster ratio when additional steering lock is applied to increase agility on twisty roads. The transition from a slower to faster ratio is entirely linear; the driver is simply aware of an extremely responsive steering system.
The steering is light and responsive with additional power assistance at lower speeds for enhanced manoeuvrability, but firmer for a more assured response at speed.
EPAS also removes the need for engine-driven hydraulic steering assistance, reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions through parasitic losses. A further benefit is Park Assist, which helps to identify suitable parallel and perpendicular parking spaces, before automatically steering the vehicle into place.
Discovery Sport is equipped with vented 325mm front and 300mm rear disc brakes, providing reassuring stopping power in all conditions, including when towing up to 2.5 tonnes. The front brakes are of a new design, with a stiffer caliper and new-generation pads to enhance retardation. They also offer improved refinement and reduced brake dust.
Further enhancing safety, Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) automatically increases the amount of brake pressure when the system senses an emergency situation; Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) helps to ensure the perfect braking balance between the front and rear wheels in more extreme situations; and Corner Brake Control (CBC) reduces the likelihood of the driver losing control during heavy braking in a corner.