When you think Land Rover, you either have visions of Range Rover opulence or Defender intrepidness. But what if you want the best of both? Well, that’s where the Discovery comes in.
The Camel Trophy is perhaps the most well-known, and brutal, trans-continental off-road adventure competition in history. And it was ruled by one vehicle – the Land Rover Discovery.
The first time I sat in a production Discovery – in the late 90s – I could sense its Camel Trophy roots. I only got as far as the rear seat, but it was clear this vehicle was intended to cover harsh terrain – perhaps even at the expense of its passengers’ wellbeing. The bench was hard, you sat knees-up and the ride was horse-cart-like. Clearly, the emphasis was on ‘utility.’
Since then, the Discovery has come a long way. Luxury is not that far off the Range Rover gold standard, and utility in the form of pure off-road ability still very much exists. So, the Discovery makes quite a compelling case for itself if you think about it. What appeals to me is just that – the fact that you have to think about it! It’s a bit left field. It’s for those in the know.
And that brings me to the latest version of the Discovery – the Metropolitan Edition, perhaps the last of the current generation. Since all-new models of the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport have debuted recently, you would expect a new Discovery to follow in their footsteps in the not-too-distant future.
So, as a last hurrah perhaps, the Metropolitan Edition was launched a few months ago for the princely sum of `1.27 crore – I spent the day with one to find out if it’s worth this fairly sizable chunk of change. First things first, at that price you have a lot of options. So, again, the fact that the Discovery is not the obvious choice, but a slightly evolved one, is what most appeals to me. And with all the trimmings that this Metropolitan edition has received – inside and out – it looks really quite striking, especially in the R-Dynamic trim on our test car. In fact, with the black rims, black roof and matte grille, it is almost stealth-like – another very appealing feature if you ask me.
Speaking of rims, while they’re attractive, at 22-inches, it’s clear that this is a Discovery that’s very much intended for the tarmac – I suppose the word ‘Metropolitan’ in its name was a dead giveaway of that fact. Of course, it has all the off-road trickery that Land Rover is famous for, and it’ll still cross the Sahara – in addition to the high street – without batting an eyelid. You will end up with slightly scratched-up rims though.
The cabin is spacious, comfortable and classy. And I love the all-black trim of our test car. The only thing that the cabin is missing is the sizeable tablet-like screen that takes pride of place in the all-new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. Other than that, the Discovery is as tech-laden as anything else on the road.
The defining feature of this Discovery, though, is the sheer level of refinement. It’s impossible from the driver’s seat to decipher whether this is a petrol or diesel – the only giveaway that it’s an oil-burner is the tremendous wave of torque right off the bat. The 8-speed ZF automatic gearbox, meanwhile, is as sublime as ever, and while the ride is a bit firm – as you would expect with 22-inch rims – the body control and handling for such a big machine is nothing short of black magic.
So, if you consider yourself an all-wheel drive connoisseur, don’t discount the latest edition of the Discovery. Very expensive, of course, but equally fetching all the same.
- Land Rover Discovery Metropolitan Edition
Engine: 2,997cc / 6-Cylinder / Turbocharged
Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic / AWD
Power: 296bhp @ 4,000rpm
Torque: 650Nm @ 1,500 – 2,500rpm
Acceleration: 0 – 100km/h in 6.8 seconds
Price: ₹1.27 Crore (Ex-Showroom)