Published on October 14th, 2014 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Land Rover Discovery Sport Outstanding Capability
At the core of the new Land Rover Discovery Sport is the outstanding capability that’s been the hallmark of the company’s vehicles for nearly half a century. As it has done with all its models, Land Rover instilled the Discovery Sport with a compelling combination of off-road capability and on-road dynamics. Interior packaging and safety innovations make the new model an ideal family vehicle, while extensive use of intelligent lightweight materials and an efficient powertrain reduce fuel costs and environmental impact.
Lightweight Unibody with Multi-link Rear Suspension
The Land Rover Discovery Sport body shell uses a combination of high-strength steel, ultra high-strength boron steel and lightweight aluminum. Hot-stamped boron steel is used in key parts of the crash safety cell, including the A- and B-pillars, enabling them to have a slim design for excellent visibility.
The hood, front fenders, roof and tailgate are aluminum. Using the lightweight material at the vehicle’s extremes, far from the center of gravity, contributes to enhanced agility.
The new platform shares some front end architecture and components with the award-winning Range Rover Evoque, including a magnesium crossbeam for high torsional rigidity and reduced weight.
Front suspension uses steel lower control arms and aluminum suspension knuckles. Hydraulic rebound stops in the suspension struts significantly reduce noise entering the cabin when the suspension rebounds after encountering a pothole or obstacle.
The compact multi-link rear suspension, which uses some aluminum components for reduced weight, offers numerous benefits, including on-road agility, quiet ride, long wheel travel and maximized cabin room. At 13.4 -inches (340mm), wheel articulation is excellent. Because the suspension mounting points make only a minimal intrusion into the luggage area, second-row seating can slide and recline past the mounting points for maximum legroom.
The lower control arm and rear suspension knuckle are produced from thin-walled hollow aluminum castings, an innovative lightweight solution that also increases strength. The rear suspension is mounted on a light and stiff steel subframe, which promotes excellent steering response and interior quietness.
Turbocharged Power and Efficiency
The new Land Rover Discovery gets its efficient power from the same turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine as the Range Rover Evoque. A nine-speed automatic transmission and Haldex All-Wheel Drive are both standard, for confident on-road handling and all-terrain capability.
The 2.0-liter gasoline engine features an advanced low-inertia turbocharger, high-pressure direct fuel injection and variable valve timing to deliver exceptional driveability throughout the rev range. Twin balancer shafts ensure high levels of refinement. Smart regenerative charging prioritizes charging the battery while the vehicle is decelerating, reducing the electrical system’s demands on the engine.
Producing 240hp at 5,500rpm and 250 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,750 RPM, the all-alloy engine offers excellent performance and flexibility from a light, compact package. Specially treated piston rings and tappets minimize friction for optimal efficiency, and a sheet-metal exhaust manifold helps to warm up the engine quickly to reduce emissions during short drives.
Nine-speed Automatic Transmission
The ZF 9HP48 nine-speed automatic transmission, also featured in the Range Rover Evoque, uses closely spaced gear ratios to provide seamless response and allow for a very low first gear and powerful mid-range acceleration. Second gear, which is approximately equivalent to first gear in transmissions with fewer ratios, is used to start off from a standstill to maximize efficiency and refinement. Drivers can, however, manually select first gear when maximum acceleration is required or for a low ratio in challenging off-road situations. A rotary gearshift controller rises silently from the center console when the engine is started. Steering wheel paddle shifters offer complete driver control for dynamic driving, precision off-road maneuvers and manual gear selection while towing.
The transmission’s quick gear changes are smooth, in keeping with the brand’s penchant for refinement. A skip-shift function allows the transmission to downshift directly between non-consecutive gears rather than sequentially cycling through gears in between. Should the driver demand too low a gear, the transmission will remember the request and select the gear once engine speed slows to an appropriate level.
An adaptive-shifting system matches the transmission’s responses to the driver’s inputs. For example, it selects higher gears more quickly and holds them for longer periods during relaxed driving, and it responds to a more dynamic driving style by holding lower ratios for longer and downshifting more quickly
Dual Personality: Equally Capable On- and Off-Road
The new Discovery Sport delivers on the promise of outstanding on-road refinement, comfort and handling in concert with all-terrain capability that’s essential to the brand’s DNA. Exhaustive tests on everything from British country roads to the Nürburgring Nordschleife ensured the on-road refinement Land Rover customers expect, while a punishing off-road test regimen prepared the Discovery Sport for off-pavement travel.
With all-wheel-drive traction and long-travel suspension for excellent articulation, the Discovery Sport provides impressive all-terrain performance. The body has been designed to cope with challenging off-road terrain, with 8.3-inches (212mm) of ground clearance and approach, departure and breakover angles of 25, 31 and 21 degrees, respectively. The Discovery Sport can scale gradients of up to 45 degrees. In extreme situations, lower trim on the front bumper can be removed to increase the approach angle.
Off-road driving, or driving in inclement weather, can often involve water along the way. That is why Land Rover positioned the vehicle’s air intake high above the wheel arch to prevent water entry into the engine. A rigorous testing procedure ensured watertight sealing for all doors.
Another particularly demanding part of the testing process examined the ability of the vehicle to drive away from a waterlogged condition. During this extreme torture test, the Discovery Sport is parked in standing water, the watertight doors are opened, and the interior is intentionally flooded. After 30 minutes in the water, Land Rover tests the ability for the vehicle to restart and drive.